President John Pombe Magufuli is accused of intolerance to gay. Rights groups have accused Mr Magufuli of intolerance towards opposition politicians, homosexuals and other groups/ CREDIT/BBC

President John Pombe Magufuli is accused of intolerance to gay. Rights groups have accused Mr Magufuli of intolerance towards opposition politicians, homosexuals and other groups/ CREDIT/BBC

Gay Controversy: EU diplomat ‘forced to leave Tanzania’

The European Union has said its ambassador to Tanzania was forced to leave earlier this month because of pressure from the authorities for voicing concern about a planned crackdown on gay people in the East African country, where homosexual acts are illegal.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement:

Quote Message: This unprecedented attitude is not in line with the long-established tradition of bilateral dialogue.

This unprecedented attitude is not in line with the long-established tradition of bilateral dialogue.

Quote Message: The EU calls on Tanzanian authorities to refrain from exerting undue pressure and limitations on diplomatic missions.”

The EU calls on Tanzanian authorities to refrain from exerting undue pressure and limitations on diplomatic missions.”

In light of this and other recent moves to undermine “human rights and the rule of law”, she said that the EU would now conduct a “comprehensive review” of its support to Tanzania.

Quote Message: The European Union and its member states have noticed a shrinking of public space in Tanzania through the tightening of restrictions on the activities of civil society organisations, the media and many political parties.

The European Union and its member states have noticed a shrinking of public space in Tanzania through the tightening of restrictions on the activities of civil society organisations, the media and many political parties.

Quote Message: The EU is deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation for LGBTI persons.”

The EU is deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation for LGBTI persons.”

The EU’s review may not come as a surprise to President John Magufuli, reports the BBC’s Leonard Mbali from Dar es Salaam.

Earlier in the week, a World Bank official confirmed to BBC Swahili that the bank was withdrawing a scheduled $300m (£243m) educational loan over Tanzania’s controversial policy of prohibiting teenage mothers from re-admission to school after giving birth.

On Thursday, Denmark announced that is was withholding $9.8m in aid after “unacceptable homophobic comments” from a senior politician and ally of the president.

Our reporter says Mr Magufuli’s tough anti-corruption stance in 2015, when he took office, earned him international admiration.

But his subsequent intolerance to the opposition and media seems to be eroding donors’ confidence of his leadership.

This is of concern for the economy as foreign aid accounts for almost half of the national budget, our reporter says. (BBC)

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