Tanzanian police has arrested a tour guide at the state-run Serengeti National Park for wrongly translating a tourist’s comments about the country and its people.
While the tourist praised the Tanzanian people and their culture, the tour guide said in Swahili, that the tourist wants them to stop “complaining” about hunger and boil their clothes and the vegetables in their homes to eat.
According to the police the guide was arrested on tourism minister, Professor Jummane Maghembe‘s order for casting the ministry in a “bad light”, police said.
Tanzania markets itself as The Soul of Africa, and is popular with tourists because of its wildlife and spectacular scenery.
The guide has not been charged with any offence but Regional police commander Jaffari Mohammed told the BBC that he had “misled” the tourist, and police were investigating whether he had circulated the video on social media in violation of cybercrime legislation.
The controversial law allows for 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.
The law was introduced in 2015, despite complaints by politicians, social media experts and human rights activists that it gave the police “too much power” without adequate oversight.
The BBC’s Lizzy Masinga in the main city, Dar es Salaam, says some of the guide’s words were similar to those used by President John Magufuli, when he called on people at a rally last month to stop complaining about hunger.
See excerpts of the conversation below:
Tourist: Hi. My visit to Tanzania has been beautiful, gorgeous. The people are fabulously wonderful and friendly. Greetings are always jambo (the Swahili equivalent of Hello). Happy to be here. The land is beautiful, beautiful. The animals are wonderful.
Guide (translating): You Tanzanians complain/cry a lot about hunger. Everyday you cry about hunger when you have flowers at home. Why don’t you boil the flowers and drink (them). It is not good to cry/complain about hunger.
Tourist: The variety of animals and people you see is incredible, unlike anywhere else. It is just fabulous.
Guide: You are asking your president to cook for you. Do you think your president is a cook? Can you get busy, even boil your clothing and eat.
Tourist: It will be an experience to savour for all of your life. It is fantastic and beautiful and incredible and just unremarkable.
Guide: Get busy in every corner of the country. The president can’t leave State House to cook for you. You have to cook for yourselves.
Watch the video below:
Tanzania🇹🇿 tour guide arrested for fake translation of a tourist’s goodwill message at the Serengeti national park.Could face 3mth jail term pic.twitter.com/nneKBk7Ue8
— Joy Doreen BIIRA (@JoyDoreenBiira) February 11, 2017