Tanzanian fined Tsh7m or face 3-year jail term for insulting president

Thursday June 09 2016

A Tanzanian court has slapped a man with a Tsh7 million ($3,194) fine or a three-year jail term for insulting President John Magufuli on social media.

The Arusha Resident Magistrate’s Court convicted Issac Abakuki, 40, on Wednesday after he admitted committing the offence on his Facebook page.

Principal resident magistrate Augustino Rwezile ruled that the accused pays Tsh5 million ($2,280) and serve three years.

However, after a plea by Mr Abakuki's lawyer, the court reduced the judgement with the accused required to pay a penalty of Tsh7 million ($3,194) in two installments of Tsh3 million ($1,369) by July 8 and the rest by August 8.

“If he fails to fulfill these requirements, he shall serve the jail term,” said judge Rwezile.

Mr Abakuki first appeared before the court last April for publishing abusive language against the president on his Facebook page. 


He was charged under a controversial cybercrime law passed in April 2015 that the government said would help tackle crimes including child pornography but which has been criticised as curbing freedom of speech.