In the wake of neighbouring Uganda’s draconian new Anti-Homosexuality Bill, lawmakers in Tanzania are demanding harsher penalties against LGBTQ+ people, including the death penalty and castration.
The Citizen reported on Wednesday that the issue came up in a parliamentary debate on the prime minister’s 2023–24 budget.
MP Festo Sanga warned that if urgent action was not taken, the country risked seeing gay people in positions of power or authority.
“We need to act now for the future of the country,” he said. “In fifty years to come, we may find ourselves with leaders of the same nature; in fact, it won’t just stop there in the parliament, but we may find them in mosques and churches as imams and priests.”
Sanga insisted that children need to be “protected” as homosexuality “isn’t African culture, it is neither our morals nor our values, our holy books—the Quran and the Bible—both reject it”.
His colleague, MP Katani Ahmed Katani, called for anyone confirmed to have engaged in homosexual acts to be put to death.
Several MPs argued that existing legislation punishing “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” with life in prison is not sufficient and that new laws must specifically target homosexuality.
There appears to be widespread support for actions to clamp down on the LGBTQ+ community in the country.
Last month, the head of the women’s wing of Tanzania’s ruling party, Mary Chatanda, urged the government to pass legislation that would lead to the castration of those convicted of homosexuality.
In February, Tanzania’s Education Minister Adolf Mkenda announced a ban on books that include LGBTQ+ content from both public and private schools. He urged the public to report any books that should be censored.
The country’s President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, was also recently quoted as stating that LGBTQ+ rights are “imported cultures”.
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