Paul Makonda, the governor of a major city in Tanzania called Dar es Salaam is demanding that citizens snitch on suspected homosexuals (he said, “Give me their names”) as part of his crackdown on the existence of gay people. The move comes more than a year after the president of the country said “even cows disapprove of” homosexuality.
Makonda rules over the economic capital of the East African country, where same-sex acts between men can be punishable with a life sentence. That effectively makes his new decree a witch hunt by another name.
“I have information about the presence of many homosexuals in our province,” Paul Makonda told reporters on Monday, calling on citizens to begin reporting homosexuals for round-ups to begin next week.”
I’m not even gay, yet I’m terrified by this language. How offended is Makonda of something that doesn’t even affect him that his response is to lock away suspected gay people for life? It’s a fine line between that and mass-murdering gay people — a move that was actually considered in Uganda in 2014 through what critics dubbed the “Kill the Gays bill.” (It didn’t become law… thankfully.)
As you probably guessed, Makonda’s motivations are religious in nature.
“These homosexuals boast on social networks,” said Makonda, a fervent Christian and loyal ally of President John Magufuli.
“Give me their names,” he demanded. “My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them next Monday.”
Makonda said he expected criticism from outsiders for his hardline stance but added: “I prefer to anger those countries than to anger God.”
Makonda said homosexual behaviour “tramples on the moral values of Tanzanians and our two Christian and Muslim religions“.
Jesus urged people to turn the other cheek. Makonda wants the people he hates to be imprisoned forever. Keep in mind that LGBTQ+ people in the country are already forced to live in secrecy. This “crackdown” would only make things worse. (And if you are accused, how could you possibly prove you’re straight?)
When the president said everybody, including cows, disapproved of homosexuality, three South Africans were deported for their marriage equality advocacy. AIDS clinics were also shut down. The Tanzania policy could make things even bleaker.
Since reason seems unlikely to change Makonda’s mind, social pressure may be the best option. The more people who condemn these actions, the faster the with hunt could end. Maybe.
(Screenshot via YouTube)