Tanzanian man ordered to pay fine or face jail for insulting President on Facebook.
A Tanzanian man has been ordered by the court to pay a fine of 7 million Tanzanian shillings (approximately 3500 USD) or face three months in jail after he was found guilty of insulting Tanzanian President John Magufuli on his Facebook page according to local media reports.
Issac Abakuki had pleaded guilty for the charges in Arusha Resident Magistrate’s court before principal resident magistrate Augustino Rwezile who convicted him of the charges and ordered him to pay a Sh5 million fine and serve three years. However, the 40 year old’s lawyer plea to reduce the punishment reduced the punishment to the 7 million fine or 3 months in prison instead of doing both according to the Citizen.
Abakuki was directed to make two payment instalments with the first expected by July 8th and the other on August 8th. Failure to make the payments will result to his imprisonment.
Principal Resident Magistrate Augustino Rwezile said during the ruling, “If he fails to fulfill these requirements, he shall serve the jail term.”
Abakuki is among the very few who have been nabbed under the widely condemned cybercrime law that was introduced in the East African country last year.
The accused’s facebook insult contravened Section 16 of Tanzania’s Cybercrime Act No. 14 of 2015 which states
-Any person who publishes information, data or facts presented in a picture, text, symbol or any other form in a computer system where such information, data or fact is false, desceptive, misleading or inaccurate commits an offence, and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not less than three million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not less than six months or to both –
According to Citi fm Abakuki’s comment was in reference to President Magufuli’s surprise live call to Clouds TV‘s current affairs program, 360, during which the president thanked the presenters and expressed his admiration for the show.
Neither Emily’s personal Facebook page, nor the discussion page on which he is reported to have posted the comment, have come up in searches, but his Facebook comment allegedly read:
“Theatrics in politics [referring to the live call], how come you compare this imbecile [Magufuli] to Nyerere [Mwalimu Nyerere, Tanzania’s beloved first president]?”