Dar es Salaam. A Dar es Salaam Resident, Mr Leonard Mulokozi, was yesterday charged with publishing on WhatsApp messages that were abusive to President John Magufuli. Mr Mulokozi denied the charge at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court and was released on bail. The case will come up for mention on July 18 this year.
State attorney Wankyo Simon alleged that Mulokozi wrote on his WhatsApp slot, “Hivi huyu Pombe nd’o kwamba hana washauri? Hashauriki? Au ni zuzu? Bwege sana huyu jamaa; he doesn’t consider the law in the place before opening his mouth au na yeye anaumwa ugonjwa wa Mnyika?”
The text, literally translates thus: “Does it mean this Pombe Magufuli doesn’t have advisers? Is he unadvisable? Or is he just a fool? He’s real foolish, this fellow: he doesn’t consider the applicable laws before opening his mouth; or does he also suffer from an illness like that of Mnyika?”
The accused is alleged to have committed the offence on June 2, this year, at Tanzanite Tower along Sam Nujoma Road in Dar es Salaam. According to Mr Simon, the accused didn’t end in just writing the defamatory words; he went further to circulate the information with the intention of spreading the insults targeting the Head of State.
According to the prosecution, investigation on the case is still incomplete.
Magistrate Margaret Bankika adjourned the case and ordered the accused to secure one reliable surety who would sign a bond of Sh5 million.
The arraignment of Mr Mulokozi comes less than two weeks after an Arusha resident was sentenced to three years in jail, with an option to pay a fine of Sh7 million, after the court found him guilty of insulting President Magufuli on his Facebook page. The Arusha Resident Magistrate’s court convicted Mr Issac Abakuki, 40, after the accused pleaded guilty of the charges.
Principal Resident Magistrate Augustino Rwezile first ordered the accused to pay a Sh5 million fine plus serving a jail term of three years.
However, he reduced the punishment after a plea by Mr Abakuki’s lawyer, and ordered the man to pay a Sh7 million fine in two instalments.
The court ordered him to pay the first instalment of Sh3 million by July 8 and the balance by August 8 this year.
Mr Abakuki first appeared in court in April, accused of publishing a text in language that was abusive to the President on his Facebook page.
Mr Mulokozi and Mr Abakuki are among a few Tanzanians who have fallen into the trap of the Cybercrime Law enacted last year.
At the same court, an editor of a weekly newspaper, ‘Dira Mtanzania’, Mr Musa Mkama, and his reporter, Mr Prince Newton, were yesterday charged with publishing false information.
The two appeared before Resident Magistrate Respicius Mwijage where they denied the charge and released on bail.
Senior State Attorney Timoth Vitalis alleged that the accused committed the offence on June 20 this year at Biafra, within Kinondoni District.
According to Mr Vitalis, the accused published false information in their newspaper through an article titled, ‘Kifaru cha Kivita cha Jeshi la Wananchi (JWTZ) kimeibwa’, meaning a military tank belonging to the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) has been stolen.
According to the prosecution, the publication caused fear to the public.
Both of the accused denied the charge and were released after complying with bail terms.
Magistrate Mwijage ordered the accused to each secure one reliable surety who would sign a bond of Sh5 million.