Tanzania’s stance on homosexuality points to an increasingly repressive political agenda

Tanzania's stance on homosexuality points to an increasingly repressive political agenda

At a press conference on October 29, Paul Makonda, the regional commissioner of Dar es Salaam, called on citizen to list names of homosexuals Makonda said he and his team would “survey social media” to “hunt down gay people and those who defend them”, while he also gave warning against the  pornography.

This has left Tanzania’s LGBTQ community in fear. Since 2016, Makonda has initiated raids on bar with the intent to track down homosexuals in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city.After Makonda talked about religious rally in 2016,  20 people were arrested and then released.

In 2017, South African human rights lawyer Sibongile Ndashe, the executive director of the instigate for Strategic Litigation in Africa, was blamed for promoting homosexuality and arrested while on a instances planned to limit health services at HIV drop-in centers. Ndashe and two fellows were wrongfully detained for a week without representation and then deported.

According to Amnesty International, on November 6, police on the semi-autonomous island of Unguja, Zanzibar, apprehended 10 men responding Makonda’s most recent call.

These cases all point to the pensiveness of the warning.

International outcry

International media gave reaction expeditiously following Makonda’s statements, and articles by BBC, Financial Times, The Guardian, Deutsche Welle and CNN were widely shared on social media.

A few days later, the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam issued a threat to travelers heading to Tanzania.

The EU gave call to its ambassador to “Brussels for consultations”, adding:

“The EU repentant the deterioration of the human rights and rule of law situation in the country and will be conducting a broader review of its relations with Tanzania.”

Augustine Mahiga, Tanzania’s minister of Foreign Affairs, made it sure on November 4 that Tanzania had not oust the ambassador.

Tanzanian government clarifies stance on human rights

Meanwhile, Mahiga must have been working for hours. On the same day, the Tanzanian government instantly detached itself from Makonda’s campaign, issuing an official statement clarifying its commitment to human rights.

Paragraph 2: In his meeting with the press, the honorable regional commissioner declared a campaign to deal with homosexuals in Dar es Salaam.

Paragraph 3: The government of the United Republic of Tanzania would like to elucidate that these thoughts are his alone and not those of the government.

Paragraph 4: Moreover, the United Republic of Tanzania would like to take this chance to remind and force that it will continue to respect all international agreements regarding human rights signed and ratified. 








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