Silence in Tanzania over ban on Makonda

Saturday February 8 2020

Dar es Salaam’s Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda.

Dar es Salaam’s Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

CHRISTOPHER KIDANKA
By CHRISTOPHER KIDANKA
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The government of Tanzania has remained silent over a recent action by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo banning Paul Makonda, the Dar es Salaam regional Commissioner from entering the US.

Mr Makonda, a close ally of President John Magufuli, has been in the news over his abrasive leadership style and controversial orders.

Last year, he said he would conduct a door-to-door search of gays in the city.

Mr Pompeo’s statement linked Mr Makonda to gross human rights violations including right to life.

No comment

When reached by The EastAfrican on Tuesday for a comment, government spokesman who doubles as Permanent Secretary for Information Culture and Sports Dr Hassan Abbasi, chose not to comment. But Mr Makonda has been quoted by news outlets, saying the ban has been imposed because he is doing his job well, and vowed to soldier on.

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Mr Pompeo, in a statement that was widely circulated, said the US is deeply concerned over deteriorating respect for human rights and the rule of law in Tanzania.

This includes actions taken by the government that curtail freedom of expression, freedom of association, and right of peaceful assembly, targeting marginalised individuals and the political opposition.

Mr Makonda who rose from the ruling party’s youth wing to District Commissioner and later regional commissioner, is known for controversial initiatives and statements which, sometimes triggers public debates.

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