Tanzania: Thousands of gay people reported to authorities


Regional commissioner for the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam, Paul Makonda, says authorities have been handed the names of thousands of suspected gay people, after calling upon the public to report them to the government.

On Wednesday, Makonda announced the formation of a committee tasked with scouring social media to identify homosexuals for authorities to deal with them and called on the public to report people suspected of committing homosexual acts. He says authorities have received 18,000 messages of support from the general public, including thousands of names of suspected gay people.

Crackdown on homosexuality

Tanzania President John Magufuli has stepped up the anti-LGBT+ rhetoric since coming into power in 2015. Commissioner Makonda, who is a devout Christian and close ally of the president has acknowledged that foreign countries will likely condemn Tanzania’s new policies against homosexuality but insists he would rather anger the international community than God.

Starting from next week, a 17-strong committee will begin scouring social media content to identify people suspected to be engaging in homosexual acts, which are illegal in the African nation. Those identified by authorities risk being arrested and imprisoned while Makonda has also warned Tanzanians to delete any pornographic material from their phones.

Various foreign countries, including the UK’s Foreign Office, warn travellers that same-sex couples are not tolerated in Tanzania, advising against any public displays of affection, such as holding hands or kissing.

Featured image: “Dar Es Salaam Waterfront” flickr photo by D-Stanley https://flickr.com/photos/davidstanleytravel/34472394020 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.