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Tanzania drops its threat to publish a list of gay people who ‘sell their bodies’

February 28, 2017

Tanzania has backed down from its threat to publish a list of gay people who are allegedly selling sex online.

The deputy health minister of the African nation had made the threat last week.

Hamisi Kigwangalla allegedly announced the plan as part of a government crack down on “the homosexuality syndicate”.

“I will publish a list of gay people selling their bodies online,” Kigwangalla wrote on Twitter.

“Those who think this campaign is a joke are wrong. The government has long arms and it will arrest all those involved quietly.”

However they have now backed down – saying they will “deal with this issue differently”.

“We cancelled the press conference. We are not going to announce the names of (LGBTs) who publicly market themselves for technical reasons,” Kigwangalla wrote on Twitter.

“For strategic reasons and to avoid destroying evidence we will deal with this issue differently and will keep you informed at every step.”

He also said that releasing the names would be akin to “freeing a devil in a bottle.”

The plan comes after the country shut down nearly 40 privately run AIDS clinics because they were “promoting” homosexuality.

Tanzania also previously took the unusual move to ban lube, which was considered an attack on gay men as it intended to prevent people from having anal sex.

Homosexual activity is punishable by up to 30 years in prison in the country.

Previous plans had included forcing those ‘convicted’ oh homosexuality to out friends in order to defend themselves against harsher sentencing.

“We have suspended the provision of HIV and AIDS services at less than 40 drop-in centres for key populations operated by NGOs countrywide after ti was established that the centres were promoting homosexuality, which is against Tanzania’s laws,” health minister Ummy Mwalimu said.

Six months ago, the Government threatened to ban civic groups that were pro-LGBT and deemed harmful to the “culture of Tanzanians”.

This threat followed a similar one made in 2016.

Last year in July, a commissioner for the city of Dar es Salaam, Paul Makonda, announced a local crackdown on LGBT people by threatening to arrest those who were openly gay on social media.

Following Makonda’s threat, dozens were detained and forced to have anal exams to confirm their sexuality.

More: Africa, Africa, Equality, Gay, Gay rights, LGBT, Tanzania, Tanzania

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