Tanzania’s second-biggest donor, Denmark, will withhold a large part of the aid money it pays to the country after concerns over human rights and “unacceptable homophobic comments” made by a government official, the Danish development minister told parliament on Wednesday.
The decision came the day that the World Bank stated it had cancelled a plan to lend Tanzania $300 million after the country reaffirmed its policy of banning pregnant girls from school and recently made it a crime to question official statistics.
“I am very worried about the negative development in Tanzania. Latest the completely unacceptable homophobic statements from a commissioner,” Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tornaes said on Twitter.
The comments were made by an administrative chief of the capital Dar es Salaam, Paul Makonda, who earlier in the month had announced an anti-gay crackdown in the city, according to a spokesperson for the Danish minister.
The foreign ministry said Makonda’s anti-gay campaign represented his own views and not the official government position.
However, the Tanzanian government has also been criticised by opposition politicians and international rights groups for what they say is growing authoritarianism and intolerance of dissent. The government rejects the criticism.