Tanzania launches campaign to hunt down men using ‘back doors’

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A Tanzanian governor has announced the creation of a surveillance squad dedicated to hunting down gay people.
Paul Makonda, governor of the economic capital Dar es Salaam, told reporters round-ups would begin next week.
The team will scrutinise social media in order to track down and arrest people in same sex couples, he added.
Homosexual acts are illegal in Tanzania, where anti-gay rhetoric has been on the rise since President John Magufuli‘s election in 2015.

Many gay, lesbian and transgender people are forced to hide their sexuality as a result.
Mr Makonda – a staunch ally of the president – said he expected international criticism for the move, but added: “I prefer to anger those countries than to anger God.”
“Give me their names,” Mr Makonda was quoted as saying by AFP news agency. “My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them next Monday.”
According to Mr Makonda, the 17-member team would comprise of state officials from the Tanzania Communications Authority, the police and media practitioners.

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He also warned people to delete any naked photos on their mobile phones and promised strong measures against pornography.
Meanwhile, HIV clinics have also been forced to close after being accused of promoting homosexuality.
Last year, the deputy health minister in a fierce row on Twitter defended the threat to publish the names of suspected homosexuals in Tanzania
Homosexual acts are illegal in the East African nation and punishable by up to 30 years in jail.
Tweeters accused the minister of homophobia and infringing on the right to freedom of expression online.

But Hamisi Kigwangalla argued that homosexuality did not scientifically exist and was a social construct.
In a tweet written in Swahili and English he said: “Have you ever come across a gay goat or bird? Homosexuality is not biological, it is unnatural.”
The 42-year-old, who is a medical doctor by profession, argued that homosexuality could only be associated with an urban lifestyle.
Most Tanzanians are strongly opposed to homosexuality – and the gay community keeps to itself.

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