Dar es Salaam. Five people appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court yesterday charged with insulting President John Magufuli on social media.
Mr Dennis Temu, Mr Suleiman Nassoro, Ms Shakira Makame, Mr Juma Mtatuu and Mr Dennis Mtegwa appeared before different magistrates. They denied the charges and were released on bail.
They were separately charged with five offences of sharing offensive content targeting the President and the Police Force between August 24 and 30, this year, contrary to Section 118(a) of the Electronic and Postal Communications Act No. 3 of 2010.
State Attorney Salum Mohamed told the court that Mr Mtegwa posted an abusive and offensive comment on a WhatsApp group called DSM 114U Movement. He was arraigned before Resident Magistrate Yohana Yongolo.
The post was written in Kiswahili and can be loosely translated as, “I don’t know what is going on in JPM’s head… He doesn’t even know how to say sorry. We are at this stage because of one person who believes that what he thinks is always right…he needs to understand that politics isn’t about resentment and the Opposition isn’t an enemy…he should learn to compete with the Opposition on the basis of debate, not force.”
The prosecution also alleged that Mr Temu, Mr Nassoro, Ms Shakira and Mr Mtatuu shared a post through Facebook and WhatsApp that was intended to turn the public against the Police Force.
“While they are preparing to fight the Opposition, criminals are preparing to commit crime,” reads part of the shared message.
After reading the charges, Mr Mohamed asked the court to remand the accused because investigations were still going.
However, defence lawyer Tundu Lissu objected to the request, saying the offences the accused had been charged with were bailable.
The court concurred with Mr Lissu and ordered the accused to secure two reliable sureties who would each sign a Sh500,000 bond.
The cases were adjourned to September 27 when they will come up for another mention.