Presidential insult leads to cybercrime charge

The first uses of the controversial cybercrime may infringe on human rights. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

An Arusha man has been charged under the controversial cybercrimes act for insulting the president on Facebook. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Insulting the president on Facebook has landed an Arusha man in hot water.

It’s alleged that on March 17, Isaac Habakuk Emily posted a rant on Facebook in which he called president John Magufuli an idiot.

Emily “knowingly published false information in a computer system namely Facebook with intent to defame, insult or abuse his Excellency, the President John Pombe Magufuli,” says the statement of offense entered on April 12.

The statement of offense says Emily is being charged for making the following statement: “theatrics in politics, how can you compare this idiot to Nyerere.”

He has been charged under section 16 the controversial cybercrimes act, which makes the online publication of ‘false information’ illegal.

Emily remains in custody and a bail hearing is scheduled for April 18.

The heavy-handed implementation of the cybercrimes act was one of the reasons that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) pulled $472 million USD in funding to Tanzania.

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About the Author

Daniel Hayduk
Daniel is Dar Post's news director. When not in the newsroom, he spends his days helping NGOs across the continent find their creative side.