Tanzania lost almost $10 million in foreign aid because of recent anti-gay comments

Ulla Torneas
Ulla Torneas Photo: Wikipedia

Denmark is going to withhold millions of dollars from Tanzania after a recent spate of anti-LGBTQ comments from a politician.

Development Minister Ulla Torneas tweeted that certain “homophobic statements” from a commissioner in Tanzania were “unacceptable.”

While she did not name the commissioner, regional commissioner Paul Makonda has gotten international attention for asking citizens to report people they suspect are gay.

“I have information about the presence of many homosexuals in our province,” Makonda said several weeks ago. “These homosexuals boast on social networks.”

“Give me their names. My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them next Monday.”

Related: Tanzania stops dozens of health centers from offering AIDS services

The national government said that he was just giving his “personal opinion,” but it has been criticized by Amnesty International for doing nothing to stop him.

“I am very concerned about the negative development in Tanzania. Most recently the totally unacceptable homophobic statements from a commissioner,” Tornaes tweeted.

“I have therefore decided to withhold DKK 65m [about $10 million] from the country. Respect for human rights is crucial for Denmark.”

Denmark is Tanzania’s second biggest aid donor.

Torneas has also postponed a trip to Tanzania.

Makonda was asked when he made his comments earlier this month if he worried about reprisal from other countries.

“I prefer to anger those countries than to anger God,” he said.

Last week, ten men were arrested at what officials said was a gay wedding. They were subjected to anal examinations, a procedure Amnesty International and the United Nations Committee Against Torture condemn as torture.

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