Kenya Frees Fleeing Tanzanian MP After Arrest

A former Tanzanian MP, Godbless Lema, who was arrested by Kenya authorities at the weekend has been released.

Lema, an opposition Member of Parliament who has been critical of President John Magufuli’s administration, had fled his home country to neighbouring Kenya to seek political asylum.

He was however arrested by police in Kajiado after crossing the border alongside his wife and three children.

The politician cited threats to his family following Tanzania’s election that saw incumbent President Magufuli win a second term in a landslide victory.

Local reports said he was being driven by his lawyer to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

Kenya’s media outlets report that the former MP had been released and was on his way to Nairobi.

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Amnesty International Kenya had on Monday urged the Kenyan government to grant him asylum and not deport back to his home country. The group’s Executive Director, Houghton Irungu, said the alleged planned deportation would violate the principle of non-refoulment, an international principle subscribed to by Kenya.

The principle prohibits a country from turning away people at the border or returning them to a country where they would be at risk of persecution or danger.

Lema had lost his Member of Parliament seat for Arusha Urban Constituency in October’s election. He was among opposition leaders who were released last week after being arrested for calling for demonstrations to demand fresh elections

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In a Twitter message, Amnesty Kenya has thanked everyone who called for his release.

The group wrote, “Never let anyone tell you your voice is not enough. We are glad to hear that Hon. Godbless Lema and his family have been released.

“Thank you for using your voices, platforms and time to ensure that Godbless Lema and family were released! A Luta Continua Comrades.”

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