Tanzania: Police Continue Crackdown On Those Spreading Fake News About President Magufuli's Health

(file photo).

Dar es Salaam — A few days after Tanzania's Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa responded to speculations about the health of President John Magufuli, the Police Force across the country has continued with the crackdowns on those spreading false information, especially on social media platforms.

According to latest reports, the Kilimanjaro Regional Police Force is said to be holding two people on suspicion of spreading false information on social media concerning senior government officials' health, contrary to the law.

This brings the number of suspects arrested in connection with spreading online fabricated information related to the health of President John Magufuli to four after two such cases were reported on Sunday and Saturday.

A statement issued by the Acting Kilimanjaro Regional Police Commander, Ronald Makona today March 15, 2021, states that the accused were arrested on different occasions, following a similar offence.

He identified the perpetrators as Peter Pius Silayo, 30, a resident of Tegeta in Dar es Salaam, who was arrested in Kibaoni, Tarakea in Rombo District, and Melchiory Prosper Shayo, 36, a resident of Keni also in Rombo District.

"The Kilimanjaro Regional Police Force has arrested Peter Pius Silayo and Melchiory Prosper Shayo for distributing fabricated information on social media that senior government officials are ill, thereby violating the Cybercrimes Act," he said.

The commander said the suspects would be arraigned in court after finalization of investigation.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, March 14, 2021, the Iringa Regional Police Force reportedly arrested Tito Augustino Kiliwa, a resident of Mufindi, for posting on Facebook false information that President Magufuli was ill.

Acting Regional Police Commander Rienada Millanzi said that on March 11, 2021, via a Facebook post, the suspect wrote that the President was ill, a message that caused evoked emotions and caused a stir in the community.

"When you talk about the Head of State being ill yet you are not the authorized official, it is a mistake that we must take action against... ," said the acting RPC Iringa, as quoted by various media outlets.

Similarly, on Saturday, March 13, 2021, the Kinondoni Regional Police Force arrested another suspect on similar charges.

The Region's Police Commander Ramadhani Kingai said the police held Charles Majura, 35, a telephone technician, on suspicion of spreading false information that President John Pombe Magufuli was ill.

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