Tanzania: MP arrested for ‘insulting’ President Magufuli

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A female MP in Tanzania has been arrested for allegedly insulting President John Magufuli.

Lawmaker Halima Mdee was arrested on Tuesday, a day after she criticised Magufuli over his recent comments about teenage mothers. Mdee questioned the president’s competency during a press conference and now she’s being held on the grounds of “insulting” Magufuli.

 

Lawmaker ‘insulted’ president

Halima Mdee, 39, who is a member of the main opposition Chadema party, held a conference on Monday, where she slammed recent comments made by President Magufuli. During a rally held late last month, the president warned school girls: After getting pregnant, you are done.”

Tanzania passed a law in 2002 that allows the expulsion of pregnant schoolgirls. The law states that schools are free to expel pregnant pupils for “offences against morality” and “wedlock”.

Rights groups recently urged the government to change the law, but Magufuli appeared to question the commitment of young mothers after giving birth.

“After calculating some few mathematics, she’d be asking the teacher in the classroom: ‘Let me go out and breastfeed my crying baby,'” he said at the public rally in Dar es Salaam.

He also said that men who impregnate schoolgirls should be imprisoned for 30 years, suggesting they “put the energy they used to impregnate the girl into farming while in jail.”

 

President criticised

Among the voice to criticise Magufuli over his comments is opposition member Halima Mdee.

“We should denounce this tendency of President John Pombe Magufuli who thinks his declarations are law. If we continue to do nothing, one day he will order Tanzanians to walk barefoot or topless, because he knows he has the support of police,” she said.

“We must absolutely put the breaks on this president,” she added, describing the president as “problematic”.

Fellow lawmaker Said Kubenea spoke out against Mdee’s arrest.

“She is accused of insulting President Magufuli,” he said. “This is all part of a campaign to crush any criticism.”

 

Featured image: YouTube

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.