By Josephine Christopher

Dar es Salaam. Chadema confirmed yesterday that former Arusha Urban MP Godbless Lema has been granted political asylum in Canada.

Earlier, Kenyan media reported that Mr Lema flew out of Nairobi on Wednesday evening.

The former MP had been staying in Nairobi with his wife and three children since he fled Tanzania in November after claiming that his life was in danger.

Yesterday, Chadema Northern Zone secretary Amani Golugwa confirmed that Mr Lema left Nairobi at around 11pm on Wednesday on board a KLM flight.

“He had for the past two weeks been working on his application at the Canadian High Commission, and he eventually succeeded,” he said.

Mr Lema’s lawyer, Prof George Luchiri Wajackoyah, was quoted by the Daily Nation as saying that several organisations were involved in his asylum application.

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This includes intervention of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Amnesty International and the Kenyan human rights groups.

“I want to thank President and the Kenyan government for being an observer of human rights,” Prof Wajackoyah said.

On November 2, Tanzanian police arrested Mr Lema, Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe, former Dar es Salaam mayor Isaya Mwita and former Ubungo mayor Boniface Jacob.

They were arrested after calling for protests against the October 28 General Election results that saw President reelected with 84 percent of the vote.

The officials were released on bail, but were required to report to Central Police Station in Dar es Salaam on November 5.

On the weekend of that week, Mr Lema, who served for two terms as Arusha Urban MP, crossed into Kenya through the Namanga border post with his wife and three children.

While his wife and children were handed over to the UNHCR in Nairobi, the former lawmaker was briefly held at Ilbissil in Kajiado County. He was later released after his lawyer, Prof George Wajackoyah, protested his detention.

Mr Lema failed to retain his parliamentary seat in this year’s elections after losing to CCM’s Mrisho Gambo, who garnered 82,480 votes against the Chadema candidate’s 46, 489 votes.

Chadema’s presidential candidate in the elections, Mr Tundu Lissu, also sought political asylum in Belgium over fears for his life.

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