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Second biggest donor to Tanzania withdrawing aid due to anti-gay witch-hunt

Second biggest donor to Tanzania withdrawing aid due to anti-gay witch-hunt

Tanzania receives millions in aid every year | Aid Tanzania/Facebook/Melissa LeReau

Tanzania’s second biggest donor is withdrawing aid due to the homophobic crackdown announced this month.

Denmark will withdraw 65m krone ($9.8m, £7.5 m) in aid after ‘unacceptable homophobic comments’.

Development minister Ulla Tornaes said she was ‘very concerned’ by the announcement of a witch hunt in Dar es Salaam.

‘I am very concerned about the negative development in Tanzania,’ Tornaes said on Twitter.

‘Most recently the totally unacceptable homophobic statements from a commissioner.

‘I have therefore decided to withhold DKK 65m in the country. Respect for human rights is crucial for Denmark.’

Tornaes has also postponed a planned trip to the east African country.

Tanzania is one of the biggest receivers of foreign aid

 

John Magufuli is the Tanzania president
John Magufuli is the Tanzania president

Dar es Salaam governor Paul Makonda said he was putting together a team that would ‘catch every homosexual’.

Thousands of LGBTI people therefore face imprisonment for 30 years.

He is now encouraging citizens to report gay people to the police.

Authorities will also be trawling for possible LGBTI people on social media.

Following this, the government has distanced itself from Makonda’s comments without condemning them.

In a statement, the Foreign Affairs office clarified this is the governor’s ‘opinion and not the state of the government’.

In addition, the government stated it will ‘continue to respect all international agreements on human rights [they] have signed and ratified’.

Public report over 100 LGBTI people to the police

The government has reportedly received over 10,000 messages from ‘concerned’ members of the public.

LGBTI people are also being named, photographed, and their addresses leaked.

Speaking to VOA’s Swahili service, Makonda stood by his remarks.

He said he didn’t want to punish gay people with jail time, but to ‘cure them’.

Gay ‘cure’ therapy is considered torture by every mainstream health organization. It does not work.

‘We have a team of doctors and psychologists to help them to change,’ Makonda said.

Rising homophobic rhetoric in Tanzania

President John Magufuli, elected in 2015, has brought back an extreme homophobic rhetoric.

Last year the president said everybody should condemn homosexuality, ‘even cows‘.

Gay Star News spoke to a gay woman, from Tanzania, who wanted to stay anonymous.

‘These people don’t joke,’ she then told us. ‘They mean business.’

She said she has also heard of LGBTI people being bound, their heads forced into rubber tires, as they are burned to death.

‘Tanzania now terrifies me,’ she said.

‘[Magulufi] is using his power to control people. He’s a tyrant. You can easily disappear in Tanzania. I don’t want to risk it myself.’

Magufuli accused AIDS clinics of being ‘hotbeds for homosexuality’.

In 2017, 13 activists and lawyers were jailed simply for trying to protect health initiatives against HIV.

Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu has also banned the sale of lube, insisting it encourages gay men to have sex.

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