A lawmaker from the main opposition CHADEMA party has been jailed in Tanzania for insulting President John Magufuli. The parliamentarian, Joseph Mbilinyi, has been convicted together with local leader for the party Emmanuel Masonga.
According to a Reuters report, the two politicians have been sentenced to five months in prison for using abusive language against president Magufuli at a public rally in December.
“Mbilinyi … used insulting language against President John Magufuli … likely to cause breach of peace,” claimed part of the charge sheet.
According to Tanzania’s penal code, “any person who uses obscene, abusive or insulting language to any other person in such a manner as is likely to cause a breach of the peace” faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail.
CHADEMA’s deputy secretary general John Mnyika told reporters on Monday that the party will appeal.
Meanwhile, European Union and several Western embassies in Tanzania last week voiced concern over politically-related violence and allegations of human rights abuses.
“We note with concern recent developments which threaten democratic values and the rights of Tanzanians in a country which is widely respected in the world for its stability, peacefulness and freedoms,” the European Delegation to Tanzania said in a statement on Friday.
Reuters has also warned that the decision imprison the two politicians is likely to fuel criticism that Magufuli is undermining democracy and stifling free speech in Tanzania.