Anti-gay crackdown ‘not reflective of Tanzania’s official stance’, says govt

Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda. Tanzanian government has distanced itself from Makonda’s crackdown on suspected homosexuals in Dar es Salaam. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Tanzanian government has distanced itself from the local administrator who called for a crackdown on gay people in Dar es Salaam.

Through a statement from the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation , the government has distanced itself from Makonda’s call saying it was his own opinion and not reflective of the country’s official stance on the matter.

The statement further revealed that the ministry would “continue to respect all international agreements on human rights that have been signed and ratified”.

“The United Republic of Tanzania continues and will continue to respect and protect such rights as contained in the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania,” the statement said.

Last week on Monday, Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda launched an anti-gay crackdown, threatening to arrest people suspected of being homosexuals.

Makonda urged citizens to start reporting homosexuals for round-ups set to begin this week in the east Africa country, where anti-gay rhetoric has soared in recent years.

His statement has since elicited mixed reactions with the right groups slamming the proposed prosecution of homosexual people and questioning the governments delay in failing to take action on Makonda

“The Tanzanian government is willing to risk its relationships with other countries to forge ahead with its persecution of homosexual people,” Neela Ghoshal, a senior LGBTQ rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, told News24.

Meanwhile, a report by The Guardian said that the US had since issued a warning to its citizens in Tanzania to be cautious following the announcement of the anti-gay crackdown.

In an alert on its website late on Saturday, the US embassy in Tanzania advised Americans to review their social media profiles and internet footprints.

“Remove or protect images and language that may run afoul of Tanzanian laws regarding homosexual practices and explicit sexual activity,” it said.



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