Freedom of expression is under siege in Tanzania and the state is trying to impose a totalitarian ideology upon its citizens.
In the latest of a series of legal threats targeting people who cross certain “red lines ” investigative journalist Eric Kabandera was recently arrested in late July and charged with spreading fake news as Magufuli’s government tries to crack down on the press.
One comedian and former Big Brother Hotshots 2014 winner Idris Sultan learned this lesson the hard way after he was directed by the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda to present himself to the nearest police station.
This is after he photoshopped President Magufuli. Through his Instagram account, the Regional Commissioner said that the comedian went beyond boundaries as an entertainer and asked him to present himself at the police station for his message.
“Naona mipaka ya kazi yako huijuwi. Nenda sasa hivi kituo chochote Cha polisi uwambie Makonda kaniambie nije utakuta ujumbe wako,” read the order.
Following President Magufuli’s birthday that was celebrated on October 29, the comedian hinted to switch jobs with President Magufuli hence allowing him to celebrate his birthday in style without the pressure of running the county.
Idris’ case is another typical example of how dire the situation is for other people willing to speak up and poking fun.
It’s now a given that mocking Tanzania’s government or head of state is a risky exercise, and it’s getting riskier. Observers say Tanzania’s lurch towards authoritarianism could be solidified if Magufuli wins 2020 general elections.
Kwa siku moja tukabadilishana kazi ili a-enjoy birthday yake kwa amani 😂🙌🏽 pic.twitter.com/Ch10m4GW7i
— Idris Sultan (@IdrisSultan) October 30, 2019