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Two Arrested for Publishing ‘False’ Information About Govt Officials on Social Media

Police say the arrest is part of an ongoing operation to arrest people who publish “false” information online and bring them to book.

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Dar es Salaam. Police said Thursday that they were holding two people accused of publishing and circulating “false” information on social media about senior government officials, which the law enforcement agency said was against the laws of the land.

 Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander Jumanne Muliro told journalists that thirty-five-year-old Obadia Kwitega from Kigamboni and twenty-eight-year-old Issa Mwamba from Tabata Segerea run a YouTube account, Jamii Digital, which publishes “false” information.

Muliro said on February 6, 2024, Jamii Digital published a story titled ‘January Makamba’s clandestine strategy to remove President Samia [from power] in 2025,’ which he said was “false.” Muliro said that Kwitega and Mwamba also owned an X account, @sukununu01, which also publishes “false” information.

“The two used the two platforms to publish and circulate false and seditious information, including those concerning senior government officials,” Mr Muliro told journalists. 

Thursday’s reports by the police have come almost a week since rumours circulated online, particularly on social media platform X, that a person running the @sukununu01 account on the platform has been arrested, but nobody can confirm them.

READ MORE: Journalist Arrested in Mwanza for Publishing ‘False’ News About UDOM

The account is full of critical posts about the behaviour of government officials, including President Samia Suluhu Hassan, whom the account criticised for frequent flying outside the country.

Muliro said the two men’s arrest is part of an ongoing operation led by the police’s Cybercrime Unit. The operation aims to arrest people publishing and circulating “false” information on social media and bring them to justice.

Thursday’s announcement of the police came two days after law enforcers in Dar es Salaam temporarily detained activist and member of opposition party CHADEMA, Deusdedith Soka, for allegedly publishing “false” information on X.

Soka, who’s not foreign to police arrest and detention, was allegedly arrested by plain cloth officers on March 12, 2024, and sent to Bandarini Police Post, where he was detained for hours before he was released on bail.

According to Section 16 of Tanzania’s Cybercrimes Act, publishing “false” information is a criminal act. Upon conviction, the publisher of the said information is liable to a fine of not less than Sh5 million or imprisonment for a term of not less than three years or both.

READ MORE: Tanzania Charges Musicians Who Sang About Police Brutality

Defenders of freedom of expression have condemned this law as draconian, arguing that it creates fear and intimidation, which makes people fearful of expressing themselves. 

They have been campaigning for its review, which would align it with international best practices on freedom of expression.

Lukelo Francis is The Chanzo’s journalist from Dar es Salaam. He is available at

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