Tanzania | We will arrest LGBT activists


Tanzania is rapidly becoming one of Africa’s most homophobic hotspots, as LGBT activists are threatened with arrest and the president claims homosexuality is a Western threat.

Last week, the country’s Minister for Home Affairs, Mwigulu Nchemba, issued a stern warning to NGOs at a fundraising event, reports Daily News.

“I would like to use this opportunity to remind and warn all organisations and institutions that campaign and pretend to protect homosexual interests … we are going to arrest whoever is involved and charge them in courts of law”.

He went on to state: “Those who are interested in homosexuality should go and live in countries that entertain such businesses … if there’s any organisation in the country that supports and campaigns for homosexuality … it shall be deregistered.”

The rant follows earlier comments by President John Magufuli, who also attacked LGBT campaigners and claimed that homosexuality is being spread through the support of the West.

“Those who teach such things do not like us, brothers. They brought us drugs and homosexual practices that even cows disapprove of,” Magufuli said in a speech.

Homophobia is damaging Tanzania’s anti-HIV efforts

In the past year, Tanzania has seen an alarming spike in anti-gay rhetoric and crackdowns against the LGBT community. This includes shutting down 40 facilities around the country that offered life-saving HIV services to men who have sex with men.

Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu has claimed that the provision of lubricants and condoms by these centres was proof that they were intent on “promoting homosexuality” among young people.

The Tanzanian authorities also carried out forced anal exams on suspected gay men in Zanzibar in December.

In February, Deputy Health Minister Hamisi Kigwangalla cancelled a press conference at the last minute in which he was set to release the names of gay people.

Sex acts between men are illegal in Tanzania and carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. While sex acts between women are not specifically banned in most of the country, they are illegal on the semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar and are punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.

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