Tanzania’s deputy health minister last week threatened to publish a list of gay people who were selling sex online.
Hamisi Kigwangalla took to Twitter to announce that he would be investigating the country’s “homosexuality syndicate”.
"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. Once arrested they will help us find others," Kigwangalla wrote.
However, the politician has now backed down, saying the list will not be publicised.
“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.”
Kigwangalla said releasing the list would be like “freeing a devil in a bottle”.
The deputy health minister’s original threat to publish the names of gay Tanzanians came just days after over 40 HIV/AIDS clinics in the country were forced to close.
Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said the centres were “promoting homosexuality, which is against Tanzania’s laws.
Sex acts between men in the country are punishable by up to 30 years in prison.