DODOMA – The United States of America has banned top Tanzanian official Paul Makonda from entering the country on grounds that he actively violates human rights.
Makonda, the administrative chief of the capital Dar es Salaam is well known for launching a surveillance squad dedicated to hunting down gay people in Tanzania.
His immediate family members have also been barred from visiting the US.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted on Friday that Mr Makonda’s ban came amidst concern about the “deteriorating” state of human rights in Tanzania.
Today we designated Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Christian Makonda as ineligible to enter the U.S. for his involvement in gross violations of #humanrights. We are deeply concerned over deteriorating respect for human rights and rule of law in #Tanzania.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 31, 2020
Makoda is also accused of being involved in “gross violations of human rights, which include flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons”.
BBC reports that when Mr Makonda – an ally of President Magufuli – launched the anti-gay surveillance force in 2018, he said that he expected international criticism for the move, but added: “I prefer to anger those countries than to anger God.”
Homosexual acts are illegal in Tanzania and many gay, lesbian and transgender people are forced to hide their sexuality as a result.
A crackdown on freedom of expression has been on the rise since President John Magufuli came into office in 2015.
Human rights groups also accuse Mr Magufuli of repressing political dissent, detaining human rights activists, and muzzling the media.