Working on a tip from a Whistle Blower, Tanzanian police raided a location on the Island of Zanzibar where the informant claimed a Same Sex Marriage (SSM) was taking place.
The idyllic location of Pongwe Beach was flooded with police looking to take those participants, who according to police were sitting in pairs of two, for breaking the law.
Outrage from Amnesty International was unfiltered and filled with outrage directed at the Tanzanian authorities.
Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s deputy director for East Africa 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.
The European Union went a step further in its response by recalling the EU Ambassador to Tanzania over “the deterioration of human rights and rule of law”.
The atmosphere surrounding this latest round of arrests remains tense in diplomatic circles and within the LGBT Community in Tanzania.
Last week, according to reports, Paul Makhonda Administrative Chief of Dar Es Salaam, mentioned a committee being organized that would target Gays, Prostitutes as well as Online Fraudsters.
In response to their criticism, this announcement by Mr. Makhonda drew the ire of the international community, which in turn had the Tanzanian government distance itself from the statement of Mr. Makhonda.
Inviting Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN’s human rights office, welcomed the Tanzanian government’s move to distance itself from Mr. Makonda’s anti-gay campaign, but added: “We understand that LGBT individuals in Tanzania remain fearful.”
At the time of the publishing of this story, no word had come from the men arrested in Chakwal Police Station in Zanzibar as no formal charges have been initiated.