The Tanzanian governor who established a task force to hunt down queer people has said that he intends to create “a non-gay city.”
Paul Makonda, governor of Dar es Salaam—the country’s most-populated city—followed up his demand on Monday (October 29) that residents who know of gay people “give me their names” by telling the press on Wednesday (October 31) that “in our region, we do not need gays.”
“In our region, there is no homosexual right,” he added, according to East Africa TV.
Queer people can face up to life imprisonment in Tanzania if convicted of having gay sex.
Makonda, who has held his position over the city of more than four million residents since 2016, said that when gay people are found by his team, they will be subjected to tests by doctors to assess whether they are gay.
Makonda said, “We will assess all those who will be named by our physicians,” adding, “Some gays are known because they walk in Pampers and offer a very fragrant odour.”
The governor told reporters that “our goal is to ensure that Dar es Salaam becomes peaceable, most importantly becoming a non-gay city.”
He lashed out at other countries who are more progressive on LGBT+ rights, saying: “When we decide our affairs, do not interfere with us.”
“If you really see gays, it’s right to take them and live with them in your country,” he continued, “because they are able to come to you and say ‘We are rejected in Tanzania’ or ‘We are rejected in Dar es Salaam.’
“So take them and let them stay with you. But in our region we do not need gays. In our region there is no homosexual right, because the law is set out openly.
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“In our region, we do not need broken-down moral values that will affect the next generation.
“In Dar es Salaam, homosexuality is not a human right; homosexuality is a criminal offence.”
Makonda announced that the team leading the anti-gay crackdown will be made up of 17 people, including police officers, doctors, psychologists, members of the film board and officials from the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority.
He said that the communications experts would be monitoring messages, and warned the public to delete any sexually explicit photos from their mobiles before the search begins on November 5.
Police officers in Dar es Salaam arrested 12 men last year, accusing them of “promoting homosexuality” and engaging in gay sex.
Also in 2017, at least 20 people were arrested for “homosexual activity” in a police raid in Tanzania’s semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar.
The country’s penal code criminalises anyone who “has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.”
Last year, Tanzania stopped health clinics from providing HIV services, saying they “cater to homosexuals.”
It is believed that 33,000 people in Tanzania died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2016.