Tanzanian Man Jailed for 5 years for Defaming President Suluhu on WhatsApp
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The Resident Magistrate’s Court of Simiyu Region has sentenced Levinus Kidanabi, popularly known as ‘Chief Son’s’ to seven years in prison and a fine of Sh10 million for defaming the President of the Republic of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan.
He was sentenced to another two years and a Sh5 million fine for impersonification.
According to the Mwananchi newspaper, the judgment was issued on October 19, 2022 by the Magistrate of the Court, Matha Mahumbuga, who explained that the accused gave false information against the Cyber Crimes Act of 2015.
In a statement issued by State Attorney Daniel Masambu, the suspect was accused of publishing false information in the ‘Simiyu Breaking News’ WhatsApp group.
The judge has explained that for the first and second charges he committed on December 03 and 04, 2021, the suspect wrote on the platform words defaming President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
“In all these crimes, the accused has been sentenced to three years in prison and a fine of Sh5 million for the first offense, two years in prison and a fine of Sh5 million for the second offense and two years in prison and a fine of Sh5 million for the third offense,” Masambu said.
The publication of false information section of the 2015 Cybercrime act stipulates, “Any person who publishes information or data presented in a picture, text, symbol or any other form in a computer system knowing that such information or data is false, deceptive, misleading or inaccurate and with intent to defame threaten, abuse, insult or otherwise deceive or mislead the public or counselling commission of an offence commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine of not less than five million shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not less than three years or to both.”
In 2018, a Tanzanian opposition MP was handed a five-month prison sentence after being found guilty of defaming the late President John Pombe Magufuli.
Joseph Mbilinyi – popularly known as Sugu – from the opposition Chadema party, was convicted by a magistrate’s court and his co-accused, Emmanuel Masonga, was handed a similar prison sentence.