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But in an exclusive interview with Buzz Feed News, Kigwangalla said he expected anal testing to become routine.“People will be arrested if there is information that people are indulging themselves in unnatural sexual activities. Earlier this year, he scheduled a press conference at which he promised to release the names of LGBT Tanzanians; he abruptly canceled.“I was targeting only those who were promoting homosexuality,” he told Buzz Feed News.Mohamed sniffed and handed the officer, whom he’d never seen before, his wallet.“Look in it, and see if it is the wallet of a person who sells himself,” he remembered saying.At a bar across the road, Mudathir was celebrating his 19th birthday with about a dozen friends.Men were swaying their hips and twirling their arms to live taarab, a soulful orchestra-backed Swahili music, when a group of police officers approached them.
But “speaking as a medical practitioner, I say yes, one can be examined physically for whether he has engaged in sexual activities unnaturally.”Only eight countries in the world use anal testing, according to a Human Rights Watch report, and until December, Tanzania was not one of them. “This is a country with laws.” Kigwangalla frequently takes to Twitter to say that gay people will be rounded up and arrested — and to occasionally swat away allegations of prejudice.
He had always known he could be arrested for being gay, but expected he would have to pay a bribe and that would be that.
But as the hours ticked by, none of the officers made the requisite gesture.
He said he didn’t protest because, with the officer there, he figured raising his voice was futile. Whatever they told us to do, we did.”Gay sex has been a crime in Tanzania, punishable with life in prison, since British colonial rule, but there is no record of anyone serving serious time for it.
LGBT Tanzanians have always been able to quietly go about their lives, despite stigma and discrimination.
But now the Tanzanian government is getting aggressive. (Buzz Feed News spoke to four of them and is using only their first names to protect their identities.) Government ministers have threatened to release lists of LGBT people across Tanzania, and health workers say it’s begun interfering with HIV prevention and treatment.