While a month of Pride celebrations winds up up across the globe, homosexuality remains a crime in dozens of countries in Africa -- in Tanzania, a person accused of being gay can face up to 30 years in prison. Less serious crimes: "gross indecency" between two males -- which can land a man five years of imprisonment and a fine.
The country's President John Magufuli, nicknamed "the Bulldozer" for his determined promotion of his agenda, said in a speech Thursday that he was willing to sacrifice foreign aid to combat gay rights activism.
"Those who teach such things do not like us, brothers. They brought us drugs and homosexual practices that even cows disapprove of," Magufuli said, according to Agence France-Presse. He and members of his administration have vowed to arrest those advocating for gay rights as well as to arrest men in gay clubs and subject those suspected of homosexuality to anal exams. These humiliating exams have been condemned by medical experts -- they have no scientific value and are widely viewed as unethical.
Another weapon in the president's war on homosexuality: shutting down private health centers that treat AIDS patients and accusing them of promoting gay sex.
The United States cut aid to Uganda after it imposed a harsh antigay law that was later annulled. However, Tanzanian officials do not fear similar repercussions. Home Affairs Minister Mwigulu Nchemba declared at a rally in the capital city of Dodoma that citizens engaging in pro-gay activism would be arrested and foreigners doing so would be expelled from the nation.
"Those who want to campaign for gay rights should find another country that allows those things," Nchemba said at the Sunday rally, Reuters reports.
Some countries that allow considerably more freedom for LGBT people have turned a blind eye to "the Bulldozer's" policies, as Western donors have praised his efforts to crack down on corruption and cut unnecessary government spending. But human rights activists have criticized Magufuli for arresting journalists, censoring media outlets, and opposing continued education for pregnant schoolgirls. He warned young women at a rally, "After getting pregnant, you are done."