Lead Tanzanian ‘anti-gay’ crackdown official banned from entering U.S.

Ama Nunoo Feb 3, 2020 at 11:00am

February 03, 2020 at 11:00 am | Activism & Campaigns, News

Ama Nunoo

Ama Nunoo | Staff Writer

February 03, 2020 at 11:00 am | Activism & Campaigns, News

Photo: The Hill

To send a strong message against human rights violation in Tanzania, the U.S. State Department has banned a Tanzanian top official, who launched a crackdown on LGBTs in Dar es Salaam in 2018, from entering the US.

Paul Makonda, the administrative chief of Tanzania’s capital, is banned from visiting the U.S as of last Friday “due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights, which include the flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons.”

This ban extends to his immediate family members as well.

Tanzania has been on the radar of Human rights groups since 2015 when President John Magufuli came into office.

He and his administration have been accused of suppressing political opposition, detaining human rights activists, and gagging the media.

The US State Department further explained the ban, saying Makonda is a known human rights violator.

“In that role, he has also been implicated in oppression of the political opposition, crackdowns on freedom of expression and association, and the targeting of marginalized individuals.”

Makonda was the lead official in a committee set up to identify and punish gay people and prostitutes in Dar es Salaam.  

Knowing the implications this taskforce can have on him and his country from the international community, Makonda said, “I prefer to anger those countries than to anger God.”

Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State tweeted on Friday about the ban stating concerns about Tanzania’s “deteriorating” state of human rights.

“These actions against Paul Christian Makonda underscore our concern with human rights violations and abuses in Tanzania, as well as our support for accountability for those who engage in such violations and abuses,” the agency said. 

 “We call on the Tanzanian government to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of expression, association, and the right of peaceful assembly.”

Currently, gays and lesbians are not free to come out in Tanzania. Homosexuality is a criminal offense in Tanzania. Being an LGBT is illegal so people in that community live closeted in Tanzania.

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