Authjorities in the East African nation of Tanzania do not report any leads or arrests in the murder of Maurice Mjomba. The LGBT rights and HIV/AIDS activist was found slain Saturday in his Dar es Salaam home. Mjomba was a founding member of Tanzania's leading group for men who have sex with men, Stay Awake Network Activities (SANA).
Initial reports suggested that Mjomba was strangled. New reports from crime scene eyewitnesses paint a much different story. Mjomba was found bound, gagged and his body was mutilated, reports Denis Nzioka at Identity Kenya.
The report sent in Swahili says that Maurice was found "slumped on a couch with his mouth and nose shut lid with a tape." Mjomba had "his hands bound tight behind his back and that he appeared to have been beaten ‘savagely." They also report that Mjomba’s body had started showing signs of decomposition. One eye witness is said to have reported that Mjomba may have been sodomized given that blood was spotted in his anal area too. This is yet to be confirmed.
Mjomba worked as an outreach coordinator for intravenous drug users at the Centre for Human Rights Promotion. He was buried yesterday in Dar. Friends suspect that his gruesome murder was an anti-gay hate crime and are pressing for a police investigation.
Tanzania is adjacent to Kenya but is far more conservative than its neighbor on LGBT issues. Sexual relations between men are criminalized and punishable by up to 30 years imprisonment. In late 2011, the East African nation slammed UK Prime Minister David Cameron's suggestion that aid would be cut unless it relaxed its anti-gay laws.
In May 2011, the UK Home Office was criticized after it began deportation procedures against a Tanzanian gay activist who sought asylum. Twenty-nine-year-old Edson Cosmas escaped to the UK in 2006 after "beatings, stoning and other assaults for his sexual orientation." The deportation has been put on hold.