A Tanzanian official is threatening to launch a round-up of homosexuals starting next week. Paul Makonda, the governor of Dar-es-Salaam, said his anti-gay “ad hoc team” will “get their hands on them next Monday.”
To prepare for the round-up, he asked the general public yesterday to call him with the names of homosexuals living in Tanzania.
Tanzanian officials have made similar threats in the past. “I will publish a list of gay people selling their bodies online [and arrest them],” the deputy health minister said in February 2017.
Under British colonial-era laws homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania, with same-sex acts between men punishable by a maximum life sentence.
“These homosexuals boast on social networks,” said Makonda, a fervent Christian and loyal ally of president John Magufuli.
“Give me their names,” he demanded. “My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them next Monday.”
[Editor’s note: Many LGBT Tanzanians remain in the country, mostly keeping a low profile because of the ongoing crackdown, but Makonda pretends that only outsiders would criticize him for violating LGBT people’s human rights.]
Makonda said he expected criticism from outsiders for his hardline stance but added: “I prefer to anger those countries [instead of] angering God.”
Makonda said homosexual behaviour “tramples on the moral values of Tanzanians and our two Christian and Muslim religions”.
Anti-homosexual sentiment is rife in Tanzania, forcing most gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities to live in secrecy.
Political rhetoric against homosexuality has increased since Magufuli’s 2015 election.
Last year the president said that everybody should condemn homosexuality, “even cows” and soon after his government threatened to arrest or deport gay rights activists.
Three South Africans were subsequently expelled for allegedly advocating for same-sex marriage.
[Editor’s note: That sentence refers somewhat inaccurately to a police raid in 2017 that disrupted a meeting of lawyers and activists planning to sue the government to reopen HIV clinics that the government closed. The three lawyers from South Africa were deported.]
Aids clinics have also been shut down under Magafuli, accused of “promoting” homosexuality, while he has encouraged women to abandon birth control and have more babies.
Tanzania’s anti-gay crackdown has been going on for two years despite increasing criticism from human rights activists in Africa and worldwide. (See the article “65 groups protest Tanzania repression, LGBT arrests” from May 2018.)
In addition to the anti-gay repression, human rights groups criticized the Tanzanian government for:
- Unwarranted closure of media outlets;
- Persecution of journalists;
- Targeted assassinations of opposition party members;
- Restrictions on peaceful protests; and
- Laws undermining freedom of speech online.
Related articles about the anti-gay crackdown:
- Donors take aim at Tanzania’s ban on LGBTI health care (January 2018, 76crimes.com)
- Tanzania deports 3 anti-AIDS lawyers for ‘promoting homosexuality’ (October 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Protests surge as Tanzania jails anti-HIV lawyers; no charges (October 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Tanzania cries ‘homosexuality’ to block health-care lawsuit (October 2017, 76crimes.com)
- In Tanzania, 13 people attending a meeting are arrested for allegedly promoting homosexuality; operations of a Global Fund SR are suspended (October 2017, Aidspan)
- CHESA AND ISLA Speak Out on the Unlawful Arrests in Tanzania (October 2017, Kuchu Times)
- Tanzania: 12 arrests for allegedly ‘promoting homosexuality’ (October 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Tanzanian AIDS event disrupted by arrest of 20 ‘gay’ suspects (September 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Tanzania threatens to arrest all gay rights activists (June 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Teen posted on Instagram and the next thing he knew, a doctor was invading his body (June 2017, The East African)
- LGBT sex worker on Tanzania crackdown: I’m afraid (May 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Inside Tanzania’s AIDS-enhancing anti-LGBT crackdown (April 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Global Fund-supported programs suspended amid Tanzanian government crackdown on LGBT community (March 2017, Aidspan)
- Tanzania ramps up anti-gay panic, risks HIV expansion (February 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Homophobia Explodes In Tanzania, Health Minister Threatens ‘Gay List’ (February 2017, The Advocate)
- Tanzania: U.S Warns Govt Ban May Stall HIV Fight (February 2017, AllAfrica/The Citizen)
- Tanzanian official seeks 3 arrests in ongoing crackdown (February 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Tanzania’s anti-gay effort raises risk of HIV rebound (November 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Tanzania’s anti-gay crackdown now targets AIDS programs (November 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Seeking to limit gay sex, Tanzania bans lubricants (July 2016, 76crimes.com)