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March 29 2017

Tanzania | Mwana Cotide and Mussa Sekabwe Trial Adjourned Five Times

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Mwana Cotide and Mussa Sekabwe were arrested in September 2016 following the release of the song Dikteta Uchwara (translation: Petty Dictator). The pair have been accused of libel against Tanzanian President, John Magufuli and are still awaiting the start of their trial.

The trial was scheduled to begin on the 12th of October 2016, but this date was pushed back to the 9th of November 2016 due to a lack of further investigations. Since then, the trial has been adjourned five more times: on 22 December 2016, on 26 January 2017, on 22 February 2017, on 9 March 2021 and finally on 29 March 2017. Sekabwe’s music studio equipment has also been confiscated by the authorities pending the end of the trial.

For those who are not familiar with the case, Mwana Cotide and Mussa Sekabwe were charged on the 28th of September 2016 for publishing the song Dikteta Uchwara on YouTube in August 2016, and for broadcasting content with the intention of harming the President under the Tanzanian law against Cybercrime published in 2015.

The Tanzanian arts community remains divided on the case. Some have discreetly shown their support for the two artists, while others have openly criticised the song for being defamatory towards the president, despite the fact that he is not named specifically in the song.

Read more about the case by clicking here.

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