The Tanzanian government has started a mass crackdown on gays in Dar eshas Salaam. Paul Makonda, governor of the economic capital Dar es Salaam has announced the creation of a surveillance squad to get hold of gay people. Makonda announced that a 17-member committee consisting of police, lawyers and doctors had been formed to identify homosexuals.
He said that the team will keep a steady check on social media to identify gays and arrest them. The members will scrutinise the internet to identify videos or related content on homosexuality. The government has also asked its people to delete any "sex pictures" they have on their phones. And reportedly, already thousands of names have been handed over to the government. Gay Man Kicked Out of Las Vegas Pool Party for 'Inappropriate' Swimwear; Alleges Homophobia.
Makonda said, "I have received reports that there are so many homosexuals in our city, and these homosexuals, are advertising and selling their services on the internet. Therefore, I am announcing this to every citizen of Dar es Salaam. If you know any gays ... report them to me."
Homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania and with the recent announcement, most gays live in fear. Homophobia has been on rising since President John Magufuli came to power in 2015. The East African nation levies criminal charges on gays with jail upto 30 years. In countries like Mauritania, Sudan, and Somalia and the northern part of Nigeria, homosexual acts are punishable by the death penalty. UNAIDS Welcomes Supreme Court Decision on IPC 377, Urges Other Countries to Follow India.
Tanzania government had received international criticism for targeting LGBT groups. In 2016, Tanzania's government drew international criticism after targeting LGBT groups in the country. Human rights NGO Amnesty International had said the government even threatened to expel gay rights activists. It also claimed that some were subjected to anal examinations. Last year, the country's health ministry suspended HIV/AIDS services in 40 clinics for allegedly promoting homosexuality.
Last year deputy health minister Hamisi Kigwangalla had defended the threat to publish the names of suspected homosexuals in Tanzania. He had argued that homosexuality "did not scientifically exist and was a social construct, a mental illness". Kigwangalla also said that the small town in central Tanzania where he came from, there were no homosexuals.