A popular Tanzanian has 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”.
He is addressing someone he calls “a doctor specialising in lancing boils”.
Wide authoritarian streak
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.