Dar es Salaam — The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania has distanced itself from sentiments against gays voiced by Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda.
On October 31, 2018, Mr Makonda announced the creation of a surveillance squad that would hunt down gays.
He told reporters that the operation would begin on Monday, November 5.
But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation said on Sunday, November 4, 2018 that Mr Makonda was airing his personal views which did not reflect the official position of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Ministry, on behalf of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, wishes to clarify that Mr Makonda was only airing his personal opinion which does not represent the official position of the United Republic of Tanzania," the statements reads in part.
According to the statement, Tanzania will continue to abide by all international treaties on human rights to which the country is a signatory.
"The United Republic of Tanzania will also continue to respect and uphold all human rights as provided for in the country's constitution," the statement said.
Mr Makonda said last week that the team he had formed would trawl social media in order to track down and arrest people in same-sex relationships.
Homosexual acts are illegal in Tanzania, forcing many gay, lesbian and transgender people to hide their sexuality.
Mr Makonda has brushed aside international condemnation, saying, "I prefer to anger those countries than to anger God."