The elders, grouped together as council of traditional elders, accused the MP of uttering sacrilegious words in respect of the vacant Arumeru East seat. The elders circulated a letter in which they alleged that “They don’t want people of Mr Lema’s calibre who trade insults to address the well-bred members of the Meru society.”
The elders say they were compelled to ban Mr Lema from involving in the campaigns based on what the Arusha Urban MP allegedly said during the burial of the former area MP Mr Jeremiah Sumari at Akheri village last month.
Mr Lema is accused of taking the advantage of mourners during the eulogy mass in announcing to people that "Now that Sumari is dead, the constituency must be taken by CHADEMA". The late Sumari was the Member of Parliament for Arumeru-East on the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) ticket.
In reaction to the letter, the Arusha-Urban MP, Mr Lema stood his ground, saying he would campaign in Meru, insisting that it was his constitutional right. The outspoken CHADEMA legislator suggested that the letter had a politically driven motive of weakening his party in the forthcoming by-election.
Mr Lema promised to organize a rally at the National Milling Grounds to address the issue. But in their letter, the Meru elders pointed out that other CHADEMA leaders, such as the party’s Chairman, Mr Freeman Mbowe, the Secretary General, Dr Wilbroad Slaa and other officials were welcome to address rallies in the area.