Jun 212012
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Bernard Membe

Tanzania will not change its stance on gay marriages and is ready to receive only donor aid not attached with the conditionality of legalising them, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Bernard Membe told the Parliament yesterday.

He was responding to a question posed by Konde legislator Khatib Said Haji (CUF) who had wanted to know the position of the government with regards to western countries’ recent pronouncement that they would not provide aid to developing countries disallowing gay marriages.

“Tanzania is one of the countries which receive donor support from those countries. How is the country prepared [to address the problem], especially when they [donors] decide to stop aid?” the MP asked.

He said there was fear that Tanzania might enter into the trap, since there are some African countries which have legalised the gay marriages to get support from western countries.

In response, Membe said Tanzania’s culture value many things, including opposite sex marriages. “This culture will not change due to any pressure… as a country, we respect our values and ready to protect them,” he stressed.

The Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister said the Marriage Act enacted in 1971 defines marriage, as “a voluntary union between a man and a woman. “According to Tanzanian laws, in order for a marriage to take place there must be a man and a woman,” Membe explained.

He said due to that, the Tanzanian culture, laws and religions didn’t recognise same sex marriages. “The union between man and man or woman and woman in our country is not recognised, as official marriage,” the Minister said.

Membe said many countries, including those on the western side of the world, respected Tanzania’s stance and have been providing their economic support without reservations.

“We will continue receiving support which does not have any conditionality aimed at convincing us to change policy or culture on same sex marriages,” he said.

Membe stated that when such donors would cut off their support for Tanzania, the government would be ready to ‘tighten the belt’ and look for more internal budgetary resources.