Tanzanian lecturer charged with insulting President Magufuli on WhatsApp under tough cybercrime law
A Tanzanian lecturer has been charged with insulting President John Magufuli in a WhatsApp message, a senior police official said yesterday, 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 offense 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, and I think he was later released on bail,” Julius Mjengi, police chief of the southwest Tanzanian town of Iringa told Reuters on the phone. Police said the lecturer was charged with offences under Tanzania’s strict cybercrimes law. The lecturer denies the charges.