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East Africa Politics News

Kenya Frees Fleeing Tanzanian MP After Arrest

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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.

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

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.”

East Africa Politics News

Tigray Crisis: Top Official Linked To TPLF Surrenders – Ethiopian Govt

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The Ethiopian government said on Tuesday that the former speaker of the House of Federation, Keria Ibrahim, who was one of the top officials of Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) has surrendered.

Ibrahim is one of nine executive committee members of TPLF, whose forces have been fighting government troops for the past month.

She served as speaker of the House of Federation, Ethiopia’s upper parliamentary chamber, before resigning in June after the planned August election was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the time, Ms Ibrahim accused Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of running a “dictatorial regime” and violating the constitution.

In September TPLF went on and held its local elections, a move that angered the Federal Government.

Mr Ahmed launched a military offensive in Tigray on 4th November, accusing TPLF leaders of treason after its fighters attacked a government military base.

The month-long conflict has killed hundreds and displaced thousands of people.

Despite the PM announcing over the weekend that the military campaign was over and successful, fighting is reportedly still ongoing in parts of Tigray region.

It has been difficult to verify claims from the Federal and Tigray regional governments because communication is heavily hampered.

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East Africa Politics News

Ethiopian Forces Capture Tigray’s Capital In Final Offensive

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Ethiopian forces have captured Mekelle, the Tigrayan capital.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced this in tweets on Saturday, as he said the “Tigrayan criminals” will now be hunted by the Federal Police.

Ahmed on Friday met African envoys in Addis Ababa and reiterated that civilians in the region will not be harmed in the final offensive.

“I am pleased to share that we have completed and ceased the military operations in the #Tigray region.

“Our focus now will be on rebuilding the region and providing humanitarian assistance while Federal Police apprehend the TPLF clique.”

He said the town is now under the control of National Defence Forces, as humanitarian assistance will be provided to inhabitants of the region.

Recall that Ethiopia earlier announced that a Tigrayan town, Wikro, 50km north of Mekelle has been captured.

Tigray officials are yet to react to the Prime Minister’s claims as the region has been cut off from internet and phone access.

Both forces have been at daggers drawn since the 4th of November when Ethiopia accused Tigrayan forces of attacking state properties.

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East Africa Politics News

Police Probe Killing of Over 45 Ugandans in Kampala Protests

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The Police in Uganda have kicked off an investigation into the crackdown on protesters last week, that led to the death of over 45 people.

Supporters of the National Unity Platform presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, had protested his arrest and detention by authorities for breaching COVID-19 protocols at his campaign rallies. Local and international media reports say

the demonstrations were met with a violent crackdown by the police.

Bobi Wine has since been released and is now back on the campaign trail.

Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, however, said that investigation into the deaths will “identify mistakes” that led to the “collateral damage”.

Meanwhile, the European Union has already called for a “full and independent” investigation into the role of the police in the death of the protesters.

The EU – in a joint statement with the diplomatic missions to Uganda from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden as well as Iceland and Norway – added that the perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions.

The statement read; “… the deaths of dozens of people amidst widespread violence marred the electoral campaign on 18th and 19th of November. We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims, reportedly including innocent bystanders.”

Last week, Uganda witnessed rioting, chaos as well as disproportionate use of force by security services. The Government of Uganda and its institutions have the responsibility to ensure the safety, security and dignified treatment of all citizens, including electoral candidates and their supporters, in line with national laws and Uganda’s international human rights commitments.

The statement went on to urge all political parties and electoral candidates to call upon their supporters to refrain from violence and inflammatory language, and to take firm action to end any provocation or incitement to violence or any unlawful action. All political parties, candidates and their supporters should ensure the full implementation of the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures and the relevant regulations designed to curb the spread of the virus.

The launch of a full and independent investigation into the events of 18th and 19th of November has been proposed, to ensure justice for victims and to avoid impunity for the perpetrators who must be held accountable for their actions.”

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