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Tanzanian official insists country will ‘never’ lift anti-gay laws

By Samuel McManus

A Tanzanian official has vowed that the country will never reverse its ban on gay marriage despite growing acceptance of same-sex couples, according to reports.

The deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs and Justice, Amon Mpanju, spoke out in favour of the country’s anti-gay laws at a meeting in Dar es Salaam on Monday (June 27) to discuss a recent report on the state of human rights in the East African nation, the local Daily News reports.

“While you are discussing, you should note that the government will never entertain recommendations that are contrary with the law of the land and the cultural norms of the society,” Mpanju is reported to have said.

Homosexuality is currently illegal in Tanzania, where the penal code states that any person who “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” can be sent to prison for 30 years to life.

Females can be imprisoned for up to five years for same-sex sexual relations.

In 2014, activist James Wandea Ouma told in 2014: “Tanzania is a country where human rights are not respected. [Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people need to be recognized and respected as human beings, and Tanzania doesn’t recognize us as human beings. We want to see Tanzania be a country where people are free to express themselves.”

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