The Tanzanian government has banned imports and sales of sexual lubricants in its latest move targeting the gay community. Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu justified the move on the grounds that the product encourages homosexuality, which is banned in the east African nation.
“It is true that the government has banned the importation and use of the jelly to curb the spread of HIV. It is estimated that 23 percent of men who have sex with men in Tanzania are living with HIV/AIDS. I have instructed stakeholders working with gay people to remove the products from the market.”
Gay male sex is punishable by life imprisonment under Tanzanian law, but there is no such ban on lesbian relations. In practice, there had been no known arrests for homosexuality in recent years.
Recently Paul Makonda, the newly appointed regional commissioner for the port city of Dar es Salaam, this month announced a major crackdown against gay people and there have been arrests of suspected gays in clubs.