A popular Tanzanian rapper said Sunday that he had been arrested over a song allegedly insulting President John Magufuli, seen as increasingly authoritarian and unwilling to brook any dissent.
“It is true I am under arrest. Right now I am being taken to the police station,” the artist Emmanuel Elibariki, known by his stage name Nay wa Mitego, wrote on his Instagram account.
The rapper, known for his political lyrics, and whose videos garner hundreds of thousands of YouTube views, was arrested at a hotel in Morogoro, some 190km from Dar Es Salaam.
Morogoro police commander Ulrich Matei told local media that Elibariki was being held for “releasing a song with words that malign the government”.
In a song released last week, Elibariki raps in Swahili: “Who are you now? Don’t you want to listen to advice? Don’t you want criticism?”
He is addressing someone he calls “a doctor specialising in lancing boils”.
This phrase “lancing boils” has been used repeatedly by Magufuli as he threatens to fire anyone who does not adhere to his policies or orders.
Magufuli, whose nickname “Tingatinga” means “bulldozer” in Swahili, swept to power as a no-nonsense, corruption-busting man of the people.
But critics see a wide authoritarian streak at the core of his populism, saying he acts on impulse regardless of due process or political niceties, while being intolerant to dissent.
Last week he fired his information minister who had criticised Dar es Salaam’s regional commissioner Paul Makonda, who stormed into the offices of a local broadcaster with six armed men to demand the airing of a video.
Makonda was appointed by Magufuli, who stood up for him over the incident despite a popular outcry.
Another line in Elibariki’s song, released this month, goes: “I see you handed a club to a madman”, widely seen as a reference to Makonda.
Since his October election Magufuli has shut down newspapers, banned opposition rallies, switched off live broadcasts of parliamentary sessions and used a draconian “cybercrimes” law to jail critics.
On Friday he issued a sharp warning to media critics over their coverage of the Makonda issue.
“I want to tell media owners to be careful and watch it. If you think you have freedom… not to that extent,” Magufuli said.
Nigeria: Boko Haram leader exposes rest Chibok girls whereabouts
One of the arrested Boko Haram leaders and kidnappers of the Chibok schoolgirls, Mallam Mayinta Modu, alias Abor has revealed that each of them received N60,000 as ransom before they freed one batch of the abducted girls.
Modu, who hails from Bama Local Government Area, Borno State had confessed to being one of the Boko Haram Commanders that coordinated and led the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls in 2014, including several attacks on Bama, Gwoza and Mubi towns in Borno and Adamawa states.
This was following the arrest of 22 suspected Boko Haram members who participated in the kidnapping of the girls.
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They were paraded at the Borno Police Command, Wednesday, by Deputy Commissioner-led Intelligence Response Team, IRT, of the IGP, Ibrahim Idris.Modu revealed that one Mallam Chingori, is in custody of the remaining Chibok girls at Gulumba village of Bama Council Area following the recent bombardment of the forest by troops.
Upon interrogation, he said: “I cannot ascertain the number of people I slaughtered or killed before my arrest. All I can say is that as a member of the sect and with the roles I played in the course of our fighting against infidels, government and security agencies, I was promoted as one of the sub-commanders.
“I actively participated and coordinated the kidnapping of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls in April, 2014.
“After we abducted the girls, we separated them and put them in different locations in Sambisa Forest under the care of our top commanders.
“The name of my top Commander is Mallam Chingori. He kept some of the girls in his custody in Sambisa hideout before relocating to Gulumba village of Bama Council Area following the recent bombardment of the forest by troops.
“At a point, when we released some of the girls, we were given N60,000 each for escorting the girls to one undisclosed location, before we went back to base, Sambisa.
“I may not know whether our Commander who gave us the ransom money also took his share of the money; all I can say is that we were many that collected such amount.
“As it is, the remaining girls are in the custody of our top Commander (Chingori) who later relocated from Sambisa to Gulumba village of Bama town.”
Modu could, however, not state who paid the ransom, but admitted that some of the girls were still in the custody of the sect in different locations in the forest.
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Egypt: Human rights activists criticises new social media law
Human rights activists have criticised the adoption of a new law that gives the state powers to block social media accounts and penalise journalists held to be publishing fake news.
Under the law passed on Monday, social media accounts and blogs with more than 5,000 followers on sites such as Twitter and Facebook will be treated as media outlets, which makes them subject to prosecution for publishing false news or incitement to break the law.
The Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, headed by an official appointed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, will supervise the law and take action against violations.
The bill prohibits the establishment of websites without obtaining a license from the Supreme Council and allows it to suspend or block existing websites, or impose fines on editors.
The law, which takes effect after it is ratified by Sisi, also states that journalists can only film in places that are not prohibited, but does not explain further.
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