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Tanzanian Politician Godbless Lema Granted Asylum In Canada

Former Tanzania MP Godbless Lema [Photo/Courtesy]

Tanzanian opposition politician Godbless Lema has been granted asylum in Canada, his lawyer George Luchiri Wajackoyah confirmed on Thursday.

Lema, who fled to Kenya early last month, flew out of the country with his family last night to their newly found safe haven.

The immediate former Member of Parliament for Arusha Urban Constituency had fled his motherland citing a crackdown on opposition leaders.

He was arrested on November 8 by Kenyan authorities in Kajiado while seeking political asylum and released a day later after concerns from human rights groups including Amnesty International Kenya, who urged the government not to deport him.

Read: President Magufuli Blocks Another Critic from Leaving Tanzania

Speaking to members of the press then, the Chadema party official said that he had no intentions of going back home over fears of persecution by President John Pombe Magufuli-led administration.

He claimed that his travel to Kenya was occasioned by death threats and being trailed by unmarked cars in Arusha.

“I was being trailed by unmarked cars back in Arusha. I and family also received a death threat. I decided not to ignore and left with my family. Tanzania remains a persecution ground for opposition leaders,” said Lema who was being held in a separate room away from the main cell at the Kajiado Police Station.

Read Also: Opposition Leader Tundu Lissu Flees Tanzania For Europe [Video]

He maintained that he was not running away from justice but rather from an imminent assassination due to his political stance.

Amnesty International Kenya had urged Kenya to grant the politician asylum noting that his going back to Tanzania could lead to “political persecution and imprisonment”.

“Kenya must not violate the internationally recognised principle of non-refoulment. The international principle is upheld by our own laws. It prohibits Kenya from turning away people at the border or returning them to their country where they would be at risk of danger,” Amnesty Kenya said.

Read Also: Ex-Tanzanian MP Godbless Lema Arrested In Kajiado Fleeing To Kenya As Crackdown On Opposition Intensifies

Opposition leaders in Tanzania continue to protest against what they term as electoral injustice in the country following the declaration of President John Pombe Magufuli as the winner of the October 28 presidential election.

The leaders claim the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) rigged the poll that saw over 90 per cent of government critics including Chadema presidential candidate Tundu Lissu lose.

Lissu also fled Tanzania for Belgium citing similar threats to his life.

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege

Passionate digital Journalist with a bias for political and current affairs stories.

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