Overkill:Tanzania Tourist Guide Charged With Cybercrime Over Wrongful Translation

I saw this story come across my social media networks. It looked like a simple story which now seems to have escalated to weird levels.


Image Credit: BBC

Saimon Sirikwa works for the Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania. Last week, he posted a video on Facebook in which he appears to intentionally give the wrong translation of the words of a female tourist.

In the video, the tourist says that Tanzanians are fabulously wonderful. But in translating in Swahili, Saimon says that the tourist wants Tanzanians to stop complaining about hunger.

Apparently, Saimon was arrested and charged with breaching Tanzania’s cybercrime legislation despite the fact that he had posted another video saying that it was all a joke and there was no ill intent.

Even the female tourist appeared in the second video saying that Saimon was just kidding around.

Despite all that, Tanzanians think he went too far by giving a wrongful translation. They feel it cast Tanzania in a “bad light”.

“Cyber Crime”

According to Tanzania’s cybercrime law, there is a minimum fine of about $1,300 (£1,000) and a minimum jail term of three months for publishing false, deceptive or misleading information on a computer system.

I find all that to be absurd. This seems to be a harmless joke that has been blown out of proportion. Apparently, the initial video of the translation was downloaded and shared on Whatsapp and it spread from there. Many people didn’t get the second video, explaining that it was all in jest.

I hope Saimon does not get jailed for this. We live in an age of fake news and misinformation. By people sharing the first video, they didn’t get it was all a joke and now Saimon might be punished for it.

I don’t think this fits in the category of “cyber crime”.

We can’t even have fun anymore on the internet.

Fun Fact: Saimon has a nickname. It’s Pondamali. In Swahili, it loosely translates to “relax and spend your money.”



2 thoughts on “Overkill:Tanzania Tourist Guide Charged With Cybercrime Over Wrongful Translation

  1. regarding the tour guide story…to date Saimon has spent 11 days in custody. The word is that he will be released on bail on Monday. The great irony is that Saimon is an effective advocate for Tanzania tourism and now the country wants to make him a criminal.

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