Tanzania President John Pombe Magufuli, whose government has been accused of repeated violations of LGBT people’s rights, today (Nov. 5) was sworn in for another term in office.
By Kikonyogo Kivumbi
He took the oath of office today in the administrative capital, Dodoma.
Local media is reporting that this is the first time a Tanzanian president has been sworn in from the new capital, Dodoma City, which was built to replace the historic capital, Dar es Salaam. Magufuli’s new term ends in 2025.
“I, John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, do solemnly swear that I will execute my duties as the president of the United Republic of Tanzania, with integrity to fulfill the responsibilities of my roles diligently…,” he said in Swahili.
LGBT repression during his administration
The international advocacy group Human Rights Watch recently reported on “the Tanzanian government’s repression of LGBT people and activism, including arbitrary arrests and the use of forced anal exams.”
Tanzania authorities’ repression of LGBT rights activism came in the context of government repression of opposition parties, nongovernmental organizations, and the media ahead of the country’s general elections, HRW said.
Crackdowns on LGBT Tanzanians and on advocates for their human rights and health have been ongoing since 2016. The repression gained international notoriety in 2018, when Paul Makonda, the administrative chief of Dar es Salaam, urged the public to report anyone they thought was a homosexual.
Earlier this year, the United States banned Makonda from visiting the country for his role in a crackdown. The U.S. State Department said it was taking the action against Makonda “due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights, which include the flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons.”
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni attended the inauguration ceremony. He praised Magufuli for his economic programmes, saying that he seen Tanzania moving from an underdeveloped country to middle-class status during Magufuli’s rule.
Upon taking the oath, Magufuli who was cheered on by his supporters held up a ceremonial spear and shield to signify the beginning of his presidency.
Other other dignitaries who attended the swearing-in included: Former Tanzanian Presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Jakaya Kikwete, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Burundi Prime Minister Alaine Bunyoni, Botswana VP Slumber Tsogwane, Mozambique Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário and Zanzibar President Hussein Ali Mwinyi..
Tanzania’s National Electoral Commission declared incumbent Magufuli the winner of last week’s election with 12.5 million votes (84 percent) against 1.9 million (13 percent) for his main challenger, Tundu Lissu from the leading opposition party, Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo.
Kikonyogo Kivumbi, the author of this article, is the executive director of the Uganda Health and Science Press Association.
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- AIDS: Tanzania’s homophobia is killing people (
- Tanzania’s anti-LGBT crackdown: ‘If we won’t get services we will die’ (
- U.S. prohibits visits by anti-gay Tanzania official (
- Tanzania government disavows Monday’s anti-gay roundup (November 2018, 76crimes.com)
- EU says to review its relation with Tanzania over human rights, rule of law (November 2018, The Citizen)
- Tanzania governor wants to rid Dar es Salaam of every gay person (November 2018, Pink News)
- Protests surge as Tanzania jails anti-HIV lawyers; no charges (October 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Tanzania threatens to arrest all gay rights activists (June 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)
- Seeking to limit gay sex, Tanzania bans lubricants (July 2016, 76crimes.com)
- 73 countries where homosexuality is illegal
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