Nairobi News


Tanzanian artist arrested for insulting President Suluhu and burning her picture

Shadrack Chaula, a 24-year-old artist known for his painting skills, has been arrested after recording a video in which he verbally attacked President Samia Suluhu Hassan and subsequently burning an image depicting her.

The Regional Police Commander for Mbeya, Mr Benjamin Kuzaga, said on Tuesday, July 2, 2024 that the incident took place on June 30 at Ntokela Village, Rungwe District.

Chaula, a resident of Ntokela Village, Ndato Ward, was found guilty of burning the image of President Samia Suluhu Hassan, an act deemed unethical in Tanzania.

“The suspect is an artist who committed the offense of burning a picture depicting President Samia Suluhu Hassan. Such actions are contrary to the laws and cultural norms of our country,” stated Kuzaga. The police did not, however, state which laws were broken.

Commenting on the matter, Matojo Cossota, a lawyer based in Dar es Salaam, said that the act of burning a president’s image does not contravene any laws, however, if the act was shared on social media or made public, the accused can be charged with other offences such as inciting hate.

Mbeya Regional Commissioner, Mr Juma Homera, instructed the police to apprehend Chaula after a video clip surfaced online showing him making derogatory remarks against the President and burning her portrait.

“After identifying the video clip showing the suspect’s offensive statements and actions, we initiated an investigation and subsequently apprehended him,” added Kuzaga.

Currently, the police is interrogating Chaula to ascertain the motives behind his actions, while investigative procedures are ongoing to gather further evidence.

“We are preparing the case file for submission to the Prosecutor’s Office to ensure the suspect faces the full extent of the law for his offenses against the President, which include burning her portrait and disseminating offensive content online,” explained Kuzaga.

Previously, Juma Homera condemned Chaula’s actions, emphasizing that such behavior towards national leaders is intolerable.

Local resident Salma Ally expressed concern over the incident, urging authorities to take decisive action to prevent similar acts in the future.

“The seriousness of this incident cannot be overstated. It is unacceptable for anyone to publicly insult our Head of State and commit such disrespectful acts,” remarked Ally.