The night before the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs distanced the government from a Dar es Salaam regional taskforce created to hunt gay men, 10 men were arrested in Zanzibar for allegedly holding a same-sex wedding.
"The government of the United Republic of Tanzania would like to clarify that these are (Makonda's) personal views and not the position of the government,” the statement said.
The country would "continue to respect all international human rights conventions which it subscribes to."
However, Amnesty International says that on Saturday evening, November 3, police raided a gathering that they suspected was a same-sex wedding at a resort on Pongwe Beach, Zanzibar, after a tip off from a member of the public. Police claim they found men sitting in pairs, “two by two.” Six people fled the scene but 10 were arrested and are being held without charge.
“It’s mind-boggling that the mere act of sitting in a pair can assume criminal proportions. The police clearly have no grounds to file charges against these men in court, despite arresting them three days ago," Seif Magongo, Amnesty International’s East Africa Deputy Director, said.
“This is a shocking blow following the Tanzanian government’s assurance that no-one would be targeted and arrested because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“This appalling attack on Tanzanian people simply exercising their human rights shows the danger of inflammatory and discriminatory rhetoric at senior levels of government.”
“We now fear these men may be subjected to forced anal examination, the government’s method of choice for ‘proving’ same-sex sexual activity among men. This must not be allowed to happen - these men must be released immediately.”
“The EU regrets the deterioration of the human rights and rule of law situation in the country and will be conducting a broader review of its relations with Tanzania," the EU said in a statement.