Statement by Melanie Nathan, Executive Director for African Human Rights Coalition:
African Human rights Coalition vehemently condemns the hateful sentiment being expressed by political leaders, the arrests and all threats to the safety and human rights of people who are either LGBTQI or perceived as such on Zanzibar and in Tanzania.
Leaders should not use the draconian laws delivered by the Colonizers to persecute people whose only ‘crime’ has been to love someone of the same gender or to express their authentic gender identity.
To use myth and lies about any minority to further one’s popularity or as a political tool is not only insidious but also a sign of weak and ineffective leadership. Instead true leaders should follow in the footsteps of the iconic courageous leader, former South African President Nelson Mandela, who truly understood the ills of colonization and who refused to allow its historic persecution of gays to continue to subvert true African culture.
As the colonizer still attempts to export hate to Africa, we must divert and rise above it, to courageously expedite the decriminalization of people’s sexuality. On this issue we must deliver Africa from the clutches of the colonialists and restore Africa's culture to pre-colonial times, using autonomy to embrace hope for the future.