Just days after Tanzanian comedian and Big Brother Africa winner Idris Sultan apologized to President John Magufuli, Tanzania's Information Minister Harrison Mwakyembe has come out to clarify that an arrest warrant against the comedian has not been issued.
Speaking to Global TV, Mr Mwakyembe claimed that Tanzanians were quick to point fingers at the president when Idris was summoned by the police.
“Alipoanza kuhojiwa na Polisi, watu wakafikiri ni Rais ameagiza. Watanzania wanadhani kila kitu kinacho fanyika hii nchini ni Raisi. Rais ana mambo makubwa ya kufikiria,” he said.
According to the minister, Idris was just trying to crack a joke to lighten up the president’s birthday, however, his means were not straightforward.
“Ile ilikua tu ni sanaa, Polisi walikuja kwanza kulichunguza lile swala kwa sababu ya mfumo alioutumia kuelezea isia zake. Hio mfumo unatumika na majambazi na watu wenye nia mbaya,” he said, adding that all artists in Tanzania have the freedom to express themselves and the law protects them.
“Wanasanaa wana uhuru wakujieleza na uhuru huu unalindwa kisheria lakini wawe waangalifu wanapotumia mifumo ambayo inatumika na watu wenye nia mbovu,” he said.
It all started when Idris altered his photos and those of President Magufuli by swapping their heads as he wished the president a happy birthday.
The pictures went viral, irking Dar es Salaam Regional Commisoner Paul Makonda, who ordered Sultan to report to the nearest police station for questioning over allegations of disrespecting the president.
In a twist of event, Idris sent his apologies to President Mafuguli insisting tahat the photos, which he is yet to delete, were taken out of context by certain quarters who missed the joke.
“My intentions were all good. Unfortunately, they were misinterpreted. Because of that, I thought it is wise to apologise to the President himself if the photos irked him,” he said.