Tanzania charges lecturer for WhatsApp insult

Dar es Salaam – A Tanzanian lecturer has been charged with insulting President John Magufuli in a WhatsApp message, a senior police official said on Friday, bringing the number of people charged under a tough new cybercrimes law to 10.

Magufuli, nicknamed “the bulldozer” for pushing through his policies, has won some praise from Western donors for anti-corruption drives and cutting wasteful government spending since coming to power in November.

But opponents accuse him of becoming increasingly authoritarian, undermining democracy by curbing political activity and restricting live television coverage of parliamentary sessions.

Insulting the president was made a criminal offence in Tanzania under a cybercrimes law passed last year, punishable by up to three years in jail, a fine of around $3,000, or both.

 “The senior university lecturer was arraigned in court yesterday (Thursday), and I think he was later released on bail,” Julius Mjengi, police chief of the south-west Tanzanian town of Iringa told Reuters by telephone.
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