Amnesty International is calling on the Kenyan government not to expel a Tanzanian opposition leader who has fled his country for fear of persecution.

Godbless Lema, a former lawmaker in Tanzania’s Chadema party, left for Kenya after being briefly detained following his defeat in controversial elections in October.

It’s been less than a week since Tanzanian President John Magufuli was sworn in for a second term in office, and opposition politicians are fleeing the country in terror.

Human rights group Amnesty International is calling on the Kenyan government not to deport a Tanzanian opposition politician who fled his country for fear of persecution.
Godbless Lema, a former lawmaker in Tanzania’s  Chadema party, left for Kenya after being briefly detained following his loss in controversial  October elections.

It has been less than a week since Tanzanian President John Magufuli was sworn in for a second term in office, and opposition politicians are leaving the country in fear.
On Sunday, Kenyan authorities arrested Tanzanian opposition lawmaker and former member of parliament Godbless Lema as he crossed into Kenya with his wife and three children.
Demas Kiprono, a program manager with Amnesty International Kenya, says Nairobi should grant asylum to the politician.

“We spoke to his lawyer; his lawyer confirmed that he is trying to seek asylum because he doesn’t feel safe back in Tanzania. This is coupled with the fact that he was arrested and released soon after the election last week. … We must process him through the normal channels, getting in touch with the refugee bureau, so that they can assess his refugee status,” he said.

A call for Lema to be granted asylum also came from Salum Mwalimu. He ran on the opposition ticket with Tundu Lissu, the man who unsuccessfully challenged Magufuli for the presidency.
“I think it’s good to provide any support just to protect his life rather than taking it as normal diplomacy or normal situation and deport him to Tanzania, because it will be very unfair if Lema gets back to Tanzania, and he finds his life in danger, or anything bad happens to him,” he said.
Lissu, who alleged fraud in the reelection of Magufuli, has sought asylum in the German Embassy in Tanzania.

Demas Kiprono, program manager with Amnesty International Kenya, says Nairobi should offer asylum to the lawmaker.

“We talked to his lawyer; his lawyer confirmed that he was trying to seek asylum because he didn’t feel safe back in Tanzania. This is coupled with the fact that he was arrested and released shortly after last week’s election. … We need to process him through usual channels, to get in contact with the resettlement office so that they can determine his refugee status, “he said.

Salum Mwalimu also called for Lema to be given asylum. He ran on the opposition ticket with Tundu Lissu, the man who unsuccessfully challenged Magufuli as president.

“I think it’s good to give any support just to protect his life, not to take it as a normal diplomacy or a normal situation, and to deport him to Tanzania, because it’s going to be very unfair if Lema returns to Tanzania and finds his life in danger, or anything bad happens to him,” he said.

Lissu, who claimed bribery in Magufuli’s re-election, requested asylum at the German Embassy in Tanzania.

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Amnesty accused the Tanzanian government of systematic violations during the war. The Rights Group alleges that the vote was rigged in favor of the CCM party, which governed almost 60 years ago after independence.

Electoral officials say that Magufuli won 84% of the vote. He called for national unity, a commitment to work for all Tanzanians.

Observers from the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa said they saw discrimination, and the opposition was targeted in a way that questions the fairness of the vote.

In the meantime, Mwalimu says that it is not in Lema’s character to leave the country unless the threats he has received are extreme.

“I don’t think Lema has just agreed to take that decision. He’s a senior politician, he’s well known, and he’s been through difficult times. So, until he has made that decision, there must be something really serious that he knows by himself. If that’s the case, something could happen to him, “he said.

The Tanzanian media announced that another opposition MP and former presidential candidate, Lazaro Nyalundu, had been barred from leaving the country for failing to produce travel documents.