image courtesy:Mathias Christensen
let me begin by explaining the legal situation regarding the rights of homosexuals.
In Tanzania homosexuality is punishable under the Penal Code which states that,
"homosexuality is considered an unnatural act punishable under the Penal Code, Cap. 16 R.E. 2002, section 154 of which provides that any person who (1) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature or… permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.
Our last article i tried to tell a story that i managed to conduct a research on,explaining the lives of gays i met ,if you remember quite well we had Sasha on interview,but still am trying to collect more for you ,today i have various crucial things that will be able to make you understand the real definition of homosexuality in Tanzania..perhaps you haven't understood the penal code please go back and start reading it again.One gay i met asked "is it really fair ,enrolling such a penal code?" am a human being i have my rights."
Gays in Tanzania have now come to realize its not all about the society its also about the law ,they first had fear of the society that they can get severely taunted or birched but right now they also have fear for the Law..but chances are if you ask many gay people in Tanzania they are not aware of the penal code.
Homosexuality is a charged topic in Tanzania, where it is illegal, as it is in 37 other African countries.Tanzania is not the only African country where gays are persecuted. In Cameroon, where homosexuality is also illegal, two human-rights lawyers, Alice Nkom and Michel Togue, who defend people accused of homosexuality, have received death threats.
Last time Sasha told us gays in Tanzania leave at peace unlike Uganda,there hasn’t been much scandal yet,they are not so hunted ,so we remember Sasha saying he is comfortable living and practicing gay life in Tanzania...
But homosexuals in Tanzania live in complete obscurity, not telling their parents, relatives or even friends for the fear of being persecuted. This means most of the homosexuals conduct their relations underground through channels they have established. Everything is very secretive.
If you are a good follower we all remember about the late David kato, an openly gay Ugandan teacher and gay-rights activist who was murdered in 2011 in Uganda,this raised a lot of topics gays demanding their rights,after the death of David kato Tanzania gays got scared thinking it will raise awareness to the Tanzanian society,they all thought it was their final destination.
Situation for homosexuality in women and men is not the same,in Zanzibar, a law was enacted that criminalized female homosexuality, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison. But at the same time, it seems the Penal Code of mainland doesn’t say much about female homosexuality.
In Tanzania mainland there had been some news on tabloid papers of women who were suspected of being homosexuals. There were speculations that some members of the female football team were lesbians but it was never confirmed. There have been speculations of some female celebrities but also this has never been confirmed.
However, I would say male homosexuals face a much more difficult situation compared to females. Being gay is a sign of losing one’s masculinity and also a sign of male weakness. This becomes much more difficult for homosexual who are effeminate since they are more obvious.
****To be continued***