Gay People

The Tanzanian government on Saturday announced plans to publish the names of gay people who are allegedly selling sex online.

This is the latest move by the East African country to crack down on homosexuals just days after it shut down about 40 AIDS clinics which it accused of promoting homosexuality.

The Tanzanian government stopped the NGO-run health centers from providing AIDS-related services because it catered to homosexuals; which is illegal in the country. It is believed that nearly a quarter of gay and bisexual Tanzanian men are HIV positive.

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Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu announced the closures on Thursday leading to his deputy’s rant on Twitter on Saturday about the government investigating what he called “the homosexuality syndicate”.

“I will publish a list of gay people selling their bodies online,” wrote Deputy Health Minister Hamisi Kigwangalla on Twitter.

“Those who think this campaign is a joke, are wrong. The government has long arms and it will quietly arrest all those involved. Once arrested, they will help us find others.”

The 42-year-old medical doctor turned politician argued that homosexuality was unnatural and did not scientifically exist but is only a social construct.

He went on to promise the full force of the law on anyone caught perpetrating such acts.

Under the Tanzanian penal code, sex between men is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. The law, however, gives room for lesbian relations since there is no provision for punishment.

Men suspected of being gay have in the past been detained and taken for anal tests to find out their sexual orientation.

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Tanzanians in general, like most other African countries, are opposed to homosexuality. Gay people have been forced to live secluded as some people on Twitter accused the Deputy Health Minister of fueling hatred and mob lynchings.

Kigwangalla responded;

Homosexuality along with drug use and poor education has been named by parliament as the three major challenges facing Tanzania.