People arrested for insulting Tanzania's president


Arrests relating to insulting the Tanzanian president on social media are continuing. In September, a lecturer at Mkwawa University College of Education was arrested for insulting President John Magufuli on mobile messaging service WhatsApp. Police could however not reveal the nature of the alleged insults. In a related development, opposition MP Godbless Lema appeared before the courts in November to answer charges that he used WhatsApp to spread messages relating calling for citizens to protest against the government. State prosecutors termed his actions 'inciting people to riot against authority' and five police officers, including one in charge of cybercrime, were due to testify against the MP.


The government's continuing crackdown on LGBTI people and organisations has been extended to groups tackling HIV and AIDS amongst the LGBTI community. Reports indicated that authorities had moved to end HIV programs serving gay people, claiming that foreign NGOs were 'encouraging' same-gender relationships through safe sex programs. The country’s Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu was quoted as saying that the NGOs programming around HIV and AIDS with the LGBTI community had the effect of 'normalising' same sex relationships.

Civil society is worries that these latest moves by the Government of Tanzania risk undermining years of work in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Tanzania. LGBTI advocacy group said:

'Without such programs, a higher rate of HIV infection is likely among men who have sex with men, which includes many who also have sex with women, to whom they will continue to spread HIV.'