Popular comedian arrested for poking fun at the president

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Popular comedian arrested for poking fun at the president

Popular comedian arrested for poking fun at the president
April 01
14:01 2016

In some African countries, democracy does not necessarily mean freedom of expression and speech, especially in Burundi where a popular comedian known as “Kigingi” was arrested this week after poking fun at the president.

Burundi has been in the news recently for the odd things. Last year, the country was thrown into chaos as protesters took to the street to protest against the third term re-election bid of their president, Pierre Nkurunziza. The led to bloody clashes between the protesters and the government forces and many lost their lives.

The humorist and OAP, Alfred Aubin Mugenzi was arrested by Burundi’s National Intelligence Service for insulting President Pierre Nkurunziza. He was apprehended at a hotel in Muramvya, 50 kilometres (31 miles) east of the capital, while on a promotional tour for a beer company.

“He was transferred to Bujumbura and is being held in the SNR dungeons, but no one has been allowed to see him”, said a concerned relative, who did not want to be named for fear of repercussions.

The relative said Mugenzi’s family fears the funny man may suffer the same fate as others taken by the SNR, who rights groups say are commonly tortured or simply disappeared. Many hare reported to have died in jail.

SNR officers told the relative that Mugenzi was arrested “for contempt of the head of state” after a skit he performed in neighbouring Rwanda last year, in which he lampooned football-mad third-term Nkurunziza, showing him refusing to leave the pitch despite receiving two yellow cards.

Nkurunziza, a born-again Christian and former sports teacher, is the player-owner of Hallelujah FC, where he is frequently the top scorer.

An intelligence official confirmed Mugenzi’s arrest saying the comic routine was “insulting the president”.

“He will soon be released, this time,” the official added.

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