Slander Opposition MP sentenced for insulting president

Joseph Mbilinyi, from the opposition Chadema party, was convicted by a magistrate's court in the southwestern town of Mbeya.

  • Published:
Joseph Mbilinyi play

Joseph Mbilinyi

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A Tanzanian opposition MP has been handed a five-month prison sentence after being found guilty of insulting President John Magufuli.

Joseph Mbilinyi, popularly known as Sugu – from the opposition Chadema party, was convicted by a magistrate's court in the southwestern town of Mbeya.

His co-accused, Emmanuel Masonga, was handed a similar prison sentence.

play Joseph Mbilinyi

 

READ MORE: Tanzania president begs men to marry multiple wives to reduce prostitution

The two were accused of committing "hate speech" against President Magufuli at Mwenge Primary School in Mbeya on 30 December last year.

Mbilinyi earlier urged his supporters to remain calm and accept any form of court judgment.

Observers say the ruling will deepen concerns that Magufuli's intolerance of dissent is eroding Tanzanian democracy.

In July 2017, Tanzanian authorities ordered the arrest and detention of the opposition lawmaker for insulting the president Magufuli days after he ordered officials to take action against ‘incitement’.

President John Pombe Magufuli play

President John Pombe Magufuli

 

READ ALSO: Once a darling of foreign investors John Magufuli is proving a headache for business

The opposition has accused Magufuli, nicknamed "the Bulldozer" for his blunt leadership style, of presiding over an increasingly authoritarian government.

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