In a startling turn of events, Ana da Silva Miguel, popularly known as Neth Nahara on TikTok, has been sentenced to two years in prison for daring to voice her opinions on social media. The charge? “Insulting” Angola’s President João Lourenço.
The TikTok sensation, with over 230,000 followers, had accused the President of causing “anarchy, disorganization, and leading a retrogressive Government.”
She went on to highlight the dire lack of schools, housing, and jobs in Angola, a nation rich in resources but struggling with basic amenities for its citizens.
However, in a move that stunned many, the court deemed her words “offensive” and sentenced her to prison, citing her significant influence on public opinion.
This verdict, coupled with an order to pay President Lourenço $1200 (Sh.180k) for the supposed “damage” to his reputation, has sent shockwaves through social media communities, raising concerns about freedom of speech and expression.
At first, they served her a six-month sentence back in August, which, apparently, was just too lenient.
The prosecution just went, “Oh no, we mustn’t be too soft on Ms. Miguel,” and now she’s got two years to ponder her TikTok opinions.
Neth Nahara’s case has sparked outrage and discussions about the limits of freedom on social platforms.
It’s a stark reminder that even in the age of digital expression, criticizing those in power can have severe consequences.
In contrast to this case, where a young woman is silenced for speaking her truth, the response of leaders in other countries to criticism often varies.
In Kenya, for instance, politicians tend to deflect, ignore, or even retaliate, but rarely resort to legal action against critics. Including the president they either log off social media, cook up lies, or insult us back while in rallies as they respond to the launched allegations.
The ruling, perceived by many as an attempt to suppress dissent, has further raised questions about the state of democracy and freedom of speech in Angola.
She, however, did give it a shot citing she was a first-time offender, regretted her remarks, and was a mother to young children, all of which fell on deaf ears.
President Lourenço, who secured a second term last year, continues his party’s rule, with the MPLA Party maintaining power in Angola since 1975.