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Tanzania arrests 12 for alleged homosexuality in Dar es Salaam

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Tanzanian police said Wednesday they had arrested 12 men, including two South Africans and a Ugandan, for presumed homosexuality as part of an ongoing crackdown against gays.

“We arrested the criminals at (the hotel) Peacock — they were promoting homosexuality. Two are South Africans, one Ugandan and nine Tanzanians,” Dar es Salaam police head Lazaro Mambosasa said at a weekly press conference.

He said the 12 were being questioned ahead of being sent before a court and did not say when they had been arrested.

“Tanzanian law forbids this act between people of the same sex, it is a violation of our country’s laws,” said Mambosasa. He added the hotel manager was among those arrested for “providing a room” for the others.

Mambosasa urged citizens to notify authorities if they caught wind of such activities “so we can act in time”.

Police made 20 arrests — eight men and 12 women — on similar grounds on Tanzania’s semi-autonomous archipelago Zanzibar last month.

According to police, those arrests took place in a hotel where the group were undergoing training with an officially-registered international NGO, the Bridge Initiative, which works in AIDS awareness.

In February, Tanzania earned criticism notably from the United States after announcing the closure of several health centres specialising in AIDS prevention, alleging they were fronts for promoting homosexuality.

The Dar es Salaam government also vowed to deport foreigners campaigning for gay rights.

Gay male sex is punishable by anything from 30 years to life imprisonment under Tanzanian law. There is no such ban on lesbian relations.

According to Amnesty International, homosexuality is illegal in 38 of 54 African states and is punishable by death in Mauritania, Somalia and Sudan.

Uganda in 2014 tried to impose the death penalty on those found guilty of being homosexual, however the controversial law was later repealed.

24 Hours Across Africa

Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival

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Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.

Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.

But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.

“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.

Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.

The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.

That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.

Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.

“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.

He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.

“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”

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24 Hours Across Africa

Zimbawe’s doctor goes missing after masterminding strike

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Fearless Zimbabwe’s minister of health has called on the government to address insecurity lapses that has lead to the disappearance Peter Magombeyi, the head of a doctor’s union, who disappeared on Saturday.

Fears are rising over the fate of Zimbabwe medical doctor Dr Peter Magombeyi after he sent a message to say he had been abducted in that country by unknown persons – apparently for demanding a “living wage”.

An AFP report earlier on Sunday quoted the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctor’s Association (ZHDA) as saying Magombeyi had not been heard from since he sent a WhatsApp message on Saturday night saying he had been “kidnapped by three men”.

Zimbabwe doctors, who earn a miserly equivalent of about R3 000 are on strike to press for better wages, equipment and medicines in state hospitals.

The ZHDA has reportedly accused state security forces of abducting the doctor because of his role in organising work stoppages.

This week some doctors said the death of deposed Robert Mugabe, 95, in a Singapore hospital on 6 September was an indication of how bad health services in Zimbabwe

“Dr Magombeyi’s crime is only to ask for a living wage for his profession. This is a reflection of the troubles born out of refusal to implement Political Reforms.”

The Zimbabwe government led by Emmerson Mnangagwa has not publicly commented on the doctor’s disappearance

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