The alleged owner and blogger of the blog Ze Utamu (zeutamu.com) has been arrested in Tanzania.
The alleged arrest has been in discussed at Jamii Forum, a popular Tanzanian Online Forum, since yesterday. And today, Swahili Time has posted the news along with a picture of the arrested blogger, Malecela Peter Lusinde, 39, an IT consultant from Essex in the UK.
Swahili Time reports that Tanzania’s police in cooperation with their UK counterparts have collected enough evidence to conclude that Lusinde is the owner of Ze Utamu Blog which was blocked in February after publishing manipulated photographic images depicting Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete engaging in lewd sex acts.
Legal aspects of the arrest are not yet clear. Tanzania does not allow dual citizenship and since Mr Lusinde is a UK citizen of Tanzanian origin, it is not yet known under which law Lusinde will be charged. The post in the Swahili Times says:
Habari zilizothibitishwa zinadai kuwa Ndg Malecela amerudishwa Tanzania kwenda kujibu tuhuma mbalimbali za kuendesha mtandao uliokuwa unadhalilisha watu,kuna malalamiko 6850 yaliyoandikishwa kulaumu udhalilishwaji wa watu uliofanywa na mtandao huo […]
Haijaeleweka wazi Ndg Malecela atashitakiwa kwa sheria gani? Lakini ni wazi kwamba atashitakiwa Nchini Tanzania.Licha ya Ndg. Malecela Polisi wa Upelelezi wamezungumza na Watanzania wengine wawili katika miji ya Wichita na San Diego Nchini Marekani,ambao pia wanahusishwa na Mtandao huo wa Ze Utamu.
It is not clear under which law Ndg Malecela will be charged. Also detectives have spoken to two Tanzanians in Wichita and San Diego in America in relation to their involvement with Ze utamu blog.
Besides legal aspects, members at Jamii Forum also commented on the perceived double standards. Semilong said:
Is utamu the biggest ever crime committed by a Tanzanian?
watu wa JF kwa double standards wanashabikia zeutamu kukamatwa na wakati watu wana loot nchi yetu wanatembea huru
wangeshirikiana na interpool kuhakikisha hela zilizokuwa duabi, jerzey na kwinginepo zinarudi TZ ingekuwa ni jambo la maana kulikoni zeutamu[…]
JF people have double standards they support the arrest of Ze utamu while looters of our country walk free…
They should have collaborated with Interpol to make sure that all the money stashed in Dubai, Jersey and other places is returned to Tanzania […]
Also at Jamii Forum, BlueRay supporting the arrest adds:
Your argument is weak. Two wrongs do not make a right. We do not want British citizens (of Tanzanian origin or not) to fling unchecked rampant numerous unfounded character assassinations on Tanzanians.
Does the Tanzanian government project a sense of misguided priority in pursuing this rather than EPA , of course, yes. But it is also possible that this was a quick slam dunk because this guy left his tracks left right and centre, IT consultant indeed! … What saddens me is that it took gross and pornographic caricaturing of the president himself for this to happen.
My concern is our internet laws are practically non existent, and our jurisdiction may be limited because this presumably happened over British web servers (?) by a British subject. So if the guy gets a good attorney, and the government does not use extrajudicial means (if it does not Ghailani him under some autocratic anti-terrorism preventive-detention like draconian)
The guy may walk scot free.
* Global Voices Online has not verified the information published in the blogs covered on this post.