Last edited: April 18, 2004

Zanzibar Passes Tough New Gay Sex Law, April 14, 2004

By Mark Levy, Newscenter, Cape Town, South Africa Bureau

Zanzibar City, Zanzibar—Lawmakers in Zanzibar have overwhelmingly passed a bill that outlaws gay sex in the semi-autonomous island that is part of Tanzania. But, the legislation is not as severe as first proposed.

Originally, the bill would have imposed a life sentence. It was revised to provide for a five year sentence for homosexual acts. However, sex with minors would carry a life sentence of 25 years.

Under Zanzibar’s 1934 penal code, sodomy and “unnatural acts” were offenses, but the government wanted to update the law to specifically deal with homosexuality.

“We want to be very specific that this sort of thing is not acceptable in Zanzibar,” said Adam Mwakanjuki, Zanzibar’s constitutional affairs minister.

“There has been increasing homosexual behavior in this part of East Africa,” Mwakanjuki said. The island had become a popular tourist spot for gays from South Africa.

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