Tanzania: Two artists arrested for allegedly insulting president in latest song

5 October 2016

Tanzanian musician Mwana Cotide (real name: Fulgency Mapunda) and music producer Mussa Sikabwe were arrested for allegedly producing, singing and distributing a song called ‘Dikteta Uchwara’ (Petty Dictator) that contained “seditious and offensive” content against Tanzanian President John Magufuli, reported the Swahili Times on 29 September 2016.

The two artists were charged at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court in capital city Dar es Salaam on 28 September 2016 for uploading a video of the song on YouTube in August 2016, as well as “distributing the song with intent to offend” the president, which is against the country’s 2015 Cybercrimes Act.

The two denied the charges and have been released on bail until the next hearing set to take place 12 October 2016. Cotide is known for his mobilization songs supporting the main opposition party in Tanzania, Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA).

Since President Mugufuli took office in October 2015 and the Cybercrimes Act was enacted in May 2015, fourteen people have been arrested and charged for insulting the president on social media. So far only one person has been convicted of those charges, reported Global Voices on 30 September 2016.

‘Dikteta Uchwara’ lyrics (partial translation from Kiswahili):

Peace-loving citizens, now we have exhausted our patience,
We have seen the dictator; he/she has entered our grandfather’s house,
he/she is sleeping on democracy.
We, the peace-loving citizens, now we have exhausted our patience
We have seen him/her, we have seen him/her,
The petty dictator.
We have seen him/her,
he/she is a little darker.
We have seen him/her,
he/she is a little shorter.
We have seen him/her,
he/she doesn’t want people to talk about him/her.
We have seen him/her.

Article and photo of Mwana Cotide by Adam Gwankaja


» Global Voices – 30 September 2016:
In Tanzania, expressing political opinions on social media is becoming increasingly dangerous

» The Citizen – 29 September 2016:
Bongo Flava musician charged for posting provocative song

» Swahili Times – 29 September 2016:
Bongo Flava Artist Charged for seditious song 

» Jamii Forums – 28 September 2016:
Two nabbed/implicated for “Dikteta Uchwara” song

More from Freemuse

» 10 August 2016: Tanzania: Rapper banned from music industry indefinitely

» 19 May 2016: Tanzania: Artist banned from performing due to “immoral video”

» 29 October 2013: Tanzania: Musician received death threats for political song

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