Three Kampala University (KIU) students were on Thursday arraigned at the Ilala District Court for circulating — on WhatsApp — pictures of Tanzania’s President John Magufuli wearing a hijab.
A hijab is a veil worn by some Muslim women in the presence of any male outside of their immediate family, which usually covers the head and chest.
The suspects Amenitha Konga, 19, Mariam Tweve, 20, and Agnes Gabriel, 21, were arrested on June 13, 2016 at KIU campus in Dar es Salaam for allegedly sending photos of the hijab-clad Magufuli to a Human Resources Management class WhatsApp group on June 9, 2016.
A detective from Tanzania’s cybercrimes prevention unit, Anakreti Telesphory, told the court that the trio admitted to disseminating the then-frowned-upon picture, contrary to Section 7, part 65 of the country’s Cybercrime Act of 2015.
One of the suspects, Agnes Gabriel, said she received the photo-shopped Magufuli picture from a WhatsApp group called St. Mary’s Ulete.
The students were represented by their lawyer Alphonce Nachipyangu.
The case continues on July 22 and July 23, 2019.
Section 7 of Tanzania’s Cybercrime Act 2015 prohibits internet users from “causing damage, altering or deteriorating computer-generated data”.
Should one breach the law, he or she would likely face a fine of Tsh2 million (Ksh90, 000) or an imprisonment for a term of not less than three years or both.