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I won't return to ‘persecution paradise’, says fleeing Ex-Tanzanian MP Lema
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|I won't return to ‘persecution paradise’, says fleeing Ex-Tanzanian MP Lema by Kenyans247(1): Mon 09, November, 2020 02:40pm|
Fleeing former MP for Tanzania’s Arusha Urban Constituency Godbless Lema says he does not want to go back to his motherland, terming the country a "persecution paradise".
The MP spent Sunday night at Kajiado Police Station in Kajiado County after he was intercepted by Kenyan authorities in Ilbisil along Namanga road in the afternoon.
The former MP had managed to sneak his wife Neema, two sons (Allbless and Terrence) and daughter Brilliance through the porous Namanga entry point.
Mr Lema had left his home incognito in a taxi and alighted at the Namanga border.
Speaking to the Nation from his confinement in a small room away from the common cell at the Kajiado Police Station, the politician said he came to Kenya to seek political asylum.
Dressed in a pink coat, white shirt, dark trousers, pink hat and a black pair of shoes, Mr Lema looked forlorn and in deep thought. His teary eyes told of a person who was fighting invisible enemies.
He was not handcuffed.
Life in danger
Sitting restlessly on a wooden chair, he said his life is in danger back home in Tanzania.
The opposition politician said he had already reached out to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) seeking asylum.
"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 Mr Lema.
He insisted he is not a criminal running away from justice but a leader staring at a possible assassination due to his political stance.
His lawyer, George Luchiri Wajackoyah, said deporting the former MP back to Tanzania would amount to violation of human rights.
The lawyer, who had kept Mr Lema company the whole night, said security agencies were trailing the politician with the help of their Kenyan counterparts seeking to deport him back to Tanzania.
"We are aware that some powerful individuals in Tanzania are pushing for the deportation of my client. I have already handed over his family to UNHCR. Deporting a leader seeking political asylum is a violation of human rights," said Mr Wanjackoya.
Not recorded statement
He said his client had not recorded a police statement at Kajiado Police Station and insisted that he should be handed over to UNHCR.
"Kenya authorities must not return my client to Tanzania where opposition MPs are being persecuted. A person fleeing from persecution, according to Article 2 of the UNHCR Statute of 1951, does not need to present documents to any authority," he added.
However, reliable sources within police circles indicated that plans are under way to send the former MP back to Tanzania.
Senior police officers in Kajiado remained tight-lipped on the matter, avoiding all contacts with journalists.
Mr Lema's woes come amid a crackdown on Tanzanian’s opposition, barely a week after President John Pombe Magufuli was sworn in for a second five-year term after he won elections whose results were rejected by the opposition.
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