Man fined Tsh7m or three years in jail for insulting Magufuli on Facebook

Tanzania's President John Magufuli speaks at his swearing in ceremony in Dar es Salaam on November 5, 2015. He made his first mini-cabinet reshuffle on Sunday. AFP PHOTO


A 40-year-old Tanzanian man has been sentenced to three years in jail or pay a fine of TSh7 million (Sh322,000) after he was found guilty of insulting President John Magufuli on his Facebook page.

The Arusha Resident Magistrate’s Court convicted Issac Abakuki on Wednesday after he admitted committing the offence.

Reading the judgment, Principal Resident Magistrate Augustino Rwezile said the accused was to pay TSh5 million and serve three years at the same time.

However, the court reduced the punishment after a plea by a lawyer for Abakuki, who will now be required to pay a penalty of Sh7 million only in two installments.

The court ordered him to pay the first instalment of TSh3 million by July 8 and the balance by August 8 this year.

“If he fails to fulfill these requirements, he shall serve the jail term,” said Rwezile.

Abakuki first appeared in the court last April for publishing abusive language against the president on his Facebook page.

He is one of the few people who have fallen into the trap of the widely condemned cybercrime law introduced last year.