Tanzanian lawmaker jailed for insulting President Magufuli at rally

February 26, 2018 at 10:56 am | News

Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei | Contributor

February 26, 2018 at 10:56 am | News

Tanzanian MP Joseph Mbilinyi

Tanzanian lawmaker Joseph Mbilinyi and a local opposition leader Emmanuel Masonga have been sentenced to five months in prison for insulting President John Magufuli at a rally in December last year.

The court pronounced its judgement against the two main opposition CHADEMA party members on Monday using the new Tanzanian penal code that has been described as draconian.

According to Reuters, the lawmaker was accused of associating Magufuli with an alleged assassination attempt on vocal opposition MP Tundu Lissu who was shot several times by unknown gunmen in the administrative capital Dodoma last year.

The CHADEMA party vowed to appeal both sentences, which according to its deputy secretary general John Mnyika, undermined democracy and stifled free speech.
There have been several arrests and attacks on opposition members in Tanzania for being vocal against the government. They also suffered a long ban on rallies and meetings.

The media in Tanzania are also facing censorship with the regular shutdown of newspapers. About a dozen people have also been charged for insulting the president on social media under the cyber crimes law which was passed in 2015.

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