Tanzanian official banned in US after gay crackdown


The US banned a Tanzanian official who announced a crackdown on homosexuality in Dar es Salaam in 2018.

The US State Department said it was taking the action against Paul Makonda, administrative chief of the Tanzania capital, “due to involvement in gross violations of human rights, including flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons.”

It said Makonda was “implicated in oppression of political opposition, crack-downs on freedom of expression and association and targeting marginalised individuals.”

The move bars Makonda and immediate family members from visiting the US.

The State Department declined say which specific action brought the ban, but expressed “deep concern about deteriorating respect for human rights and rule of law in Tanzania.”

Makonda announced in 2018 a special committee would identify and punish homosexuals, prostitutes and online fraudsters in the city.

The US embassy in Tanzania responded at the time warning US citizens to be cautious and review social media profiles and Internet footprints.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli cracked down on homosexuality after coming to power in 2015 and a conviction for having “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” could lead to up to 30 years in jail.

Under Magufuli, Tanzania tightened control of the media and civil society, shutting newspapers, arresting opposition leaders and restricting political rallies.

Magufuli’s government denies restricting media freedom and cracking down on democracy and human rights.