Tanzania’s deputy health minister has announced on Twitter that he plans to publish a list of gay people allegedly selling sex online.
Hamisi Kigwangalla wrote that the government is investigating the country’s “homosexuality syndicate”, saying the law in Tanzania “has boundaries when it comes to sexuality”.
"I will publish a list of gay people selling their bodies online. Those who think this campaign is a joke are wrong. The government has long arms and it will arrest all those involved quietly," he adds. "Once arrested they will help us find others."
Dr Kigwangalla’s comments come just days after dozens of HIV/AIDS clinics in Tanzania were forced to close their doors after the government accused them of promoting gay sex.
“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 it was established that the centres were promoting homosexuality, which is against Tanzania’s laws,” health minister Ummy Mwalimu said.
Under the country’s penal code, gay sex acts are punishable by imprisonment, ranging from 30 years to life.
Last year, Kigwangalla told a crowd in Dar es Salaam: “If there’s a homosexual who has a Facebook account, or with an Instagram account, all those who ‘follow’ him, it is very clear that they are just as guilty as the homosexual.”
Tanzania was previously known for its lenient approach to homosexuality but the government has recently ramped up anti-gay rhetoric and cracked down on LGBT+ outreach programs.
Last year, the country’s justice minister announced that NGOs that supported the gay community in Tanzania would be suspended.