Tanzania’s gay community is living in fear after the governor of Dar es Salaam called on citizens to report gay people, and announced an anti-gay squad that will hunt them down by tracking social media.
Paul Makonda announced the 17-member squad at a press conference this week, promising it would “get their hands on them.”
“These homosexuals boast on social networks,” Makonda said, AFP reports. “Give me their names.”
By Tuesday, Makonda claimed to have received over 5,763 reports from the public, and more than 100 names.
Tanzania’s 1998 Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act states homosexuality is illegal and anyone who has “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” is punishable by 30 years in prison. This was based on the 1945 Penal Code created under British rule, which also deemed homosexuality against the law.
Tanzania President John Magufuli has cracked down on the LGBT community since his election in 2015, going so far as to claim “even cows disapprove” of homosexuality.
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In 2017, 40 HIV testing and treatment centers were closed down, and a number of lawyers and activists were arrested for “promoting sexuality.”
The country also engages in forced anal examinations. The discredited practice, which claims to detect homosexuality, has been condemned by human rights groups.
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