A man convicted in Malawi over TikTok video showing caricature of president dancing

May 17, 2024
Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera attends the swearing-in for Kenya’s new president William Ruto, at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, September 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga, File)

BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — A man in Malawi was convicted of insulting President Lazarus Chakwera after posting a TikTok video that shows an animated figure with Chakwera’s face superimposed on it doing some wacky dance moves.

Sainani Nkhoma was found guilty by a court on Thursday, which said he had posted the video and insulting comments about Chakwera in a community WhatsApp group.

Other members of the WhatsApp group in the central town of Mponela reported Nkhoma to the ruling Malawi Congress Party and the police and Nkhoma was arrested.

Judge Talakwanji Mndala said Nkhoma’s actions were inappropriate and his sentencing was scheduled for next week. The judge warned that the punishment could be a fine of around $3,500 or six years in prison.

Chakwera, 69, was elected president of the southern African nation in 2020 after its Constitutional Court ordered an unprecedented rerun of the 2019 presidential election.

Incumbent Peter Mutharika had initially been declared the winner of the 2019 vote but the Constitutional Court said there was evidence of widespread irregularities.

After he was elected, Chakwera said: “I’m so happy I could dance all night.”

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