Minister warns 'errant' social media expressions

20Sep 2021
By Guardian Reporter
Dodoma
The Guardian
Minister warns 'errant' social media expressions

​​​​​​​HOME Affairs minister George Simbachawene has pledged to raise his voice against misusing social media networks nor will he entertain detractors, as the campaign is necessary in the fight against crime.

Home Affairs minister George Simbachawene addresses residents of Kidenge village in Mpwapwa District, Dodoma Region, at the weekend. He reiterated an earlier warning against what he called “misuse of social media”. Photo: MoHA

Speaking at the weekend in his Kibakwe constituency, the minister said that statements made by some people on what he said last week were false as he had talked about crime in social networks and not free expression.

He aired the remarks following reactions to his remarks, saying misleading interpretations of what he said were aplenty, for instance that he was infringing on the freedom of social media and that he intends to shut down social media networks.

"I said we should use the social media networks responsibly; we should use mobile communications well. We should not steal from others, as people who do that are committing crime and should be dealt with.

“People who use social media to abuse others or distribute indecent content are also committing crimes.  Our culture calls for respect of one another, but some people say I am infringing upon social media freedom and will lose my reputation,” he explained.

He maintained that social media networks can pose a threat to the country’s development if they are used in a bad way. “We do not want to reach that point, but the government is alert and has given directives as to fighting all criminals using social media networks.

“A friend of mine phoned me saying I should not go that far. Let people say what they want; people abusing others? People who steal from others? I was just talking about crime, and not about the development of science and technology. Communication technology will change, discussions in “Twitter” and “space conferences” will go on, but should be used in line with procedures and maintain respect among Tanzanians,” he emphasised.

He said using social media networks in violation of the country’s laws is a crime. Other people should not be abused or otherwise inconvenienced on the pretext of social media freedom, the minister intoned.

“When did I say I will shut down the social media? I did not say that, only that we should use social media networks while abiding by the country’s laws,” he remarked, reiterating his call last week for the police to take measures against individuals engaged in criminal acts via social media networks, including those abusing the president.

He told his constituents that the government has provided 2bn/- for revamping roads, out of which 500m/- has been set aside for surfacing a 1.3km road in Kibakwe town. The government has further provided 260m/- for various development projects in Luhundwa ward, he added.