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Tanzania ex-MP narrates reason for seeking refuge in Kenya after election

By Amina Wako November 9th, 2020 2 min read

A Tanzanian former MP who escaped to Kenya following alleged threats to his life says he opted to escape the country headed by John Pombe Magufuli after he realised threats to his life were serious.

Godbless Lema, the former MP for Arusha Urban Constituency, fled to Kenya through Namanga accompanied by his wife and three children.

Speaking exclusively to the Nation team from Kajiado Police station, Mr Lema said he took the threats seriously after previous incidents involving his friends.

“I decided not to ignore the threats like my friends did. I have lost friends who ignored assassinations threats and ended up dead,” he said.

He said he noticed he was being followed by unknown people while he was in Dar-es-Salaam.

 “I knew it was serious when I noticed I was being followed from Dar-es-salaam all the way to Arusha where I live. I decided to leave and come to Kenya and I came with my wife and my three children who are already in Nairobi,” he narrated.

He was received at the Namanga border by his lawyer, George Luchiri Wajackoyah.

“I have handed him over to the Kenyan police for processing. He is ready to die in a Kenyan jail than by the Tanzanian police who are still pursuing him as we speak,” said Prof Wajackoyah in an interview with the Nation, even as he expressed fears of a possible deportation of the politician.

Mr Lema was among several politicians who were arrested by Tanzanian authorities in the aftermath of the October 28 elections, but was later released on a police bond without a charge.

Others include opposition leader Tundu Lissu, who was arrested but later freed after interrogation by the police. Mr Lissu is currently holed up in the Dar es Salaam German embassy.

Freeman Mbowe, chairman of Tanzania’s biggest opposition party, Chadema and the former mayor of Ubungo Municipality, Boniface Jacob were also apprehended by police.