Popular Tanzanian comedian and Ex Big Brother Africa Winner, Sultan Idris, was apprehended by police for sarcastically laughing at a throwback photo of the president on social media, his lawyers confirmed to the BBC.
A recent a video clip that surfaced online showed the comedian laughing at a throwback photograph of the Tanzanian President, Magufuli, wearing an over-sized suit. The photo has circulated on Tanzania’s social media space in the past weeks.
According to his lawyer Bennedict Ishabakaki, Sultan Idris was jailed on Tuesday (May 19) and as at Thursday had still been denied bail. He was officially interrogated on Thursday for allegedly violating the country’s Cybercrimes Act, the lawyer added.
“They are questioning him for allegedly contravening section 23 of the act. In a nutshell, they [the police] are accusing him of bullying the president through that video clip. “But I strongly believe, as a comedian, my client is only doing satire, and satire can be political as well,” Mr Ishabakaki told the BBC.
The contravened section of the law states that a person shall not: “initiate or send any electronic communication using a computer system to another person with intent to coerce, intimidate, harass or cause emotional distress.”
He faces up to three years imprisonment or a fine of up to 5 million Tanzanian shillings (about $2,200) – or both, if convicted. Only seven months ago he was arrested under the same law for ‘swapping seats’ with the President on Twitter during Magufuli’s birthday. Reports say he was later released without charge.
🔬🎼Microfone test, one, two, one two.. pic.twitter.com/sPJKfSRVbU
— Ġoodluck🔥 (@RealHauleGluck) May 14, 2020
From these recent occurrences, it could be said that African countries apply stricter laws towards any form of derogatory remarks directed at its governments.