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Tanzania’s MSM Activist Found Strangled; Murder Suspected As Police Launch Investigations

A Tanzanian MSM activist, Maurice Mjomba, was found dead today in his house in Dar es Salaam in unclear circumstances.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

2nd August 2012 23:57

Alessia Valenza

According to Julius Lumanyika Kyaruzi, the coordinator at the Center for Human Rights Promotion (CHRP) where Mjomba was working as the Outreach Training Coordinator for injecting drug users (IDUs), Mjomba was found dead at his home.
Julius said he received a call from Mjomba’s neighbor who told him that Mjomba was found dead in his house.

Julius told Identity Kenya that a neighbour ‘noticed a foul smell’ from Mjomba’s house and called the police.

By the time Julius and his colleagues arrived at Mjomba’s house, police officers were present.

The police officres requested Julius to go with them to the police station for more interrogation, while officers from CHRP escorted the body to Muhimbili Mortuary.

This could mean Mjomba could have been dead for days. Reports say that he used to live with a house-help but at the time of his death, he was living alone. Additionally, he is said to have been ‘unreachable on phone’ since last Saturday.

His body is now at Muhimbili Mortuary awaiting an autopsy tomorrow to determine the cause of death.

The police investigations are also being conducted though initial reports point he may have been murdered.

Mjomba, 29, (inset) was a member of Tanzania’s premier MSM group, Stay Awake Network Activities (SANA) since 2008. He was also one of the founding member, and served as the group’s assistant secretary and executive committee member.

According to SANA, Mjomba was strangled to death by unknown persons and they hope that the police will conduct investigations to establish the cause of his death.

In a Facebook post on their Wall, SANA wrote, ‘We sadly announce that Moris Mjomba, one of our founding member, a friend and activist, was strangled by unknown person (s) the date of his death has not been confirmed yet. For more information, we will let you know.’

Colleagues describe him as a ‘hard-working’ ‘honest’ and ‘ a diligent worker.’

Pade, who worked with him described him as ‘ A kind, sincere and an open minded person. He was always ready to help others at all times and he would take time to see things are done accordingly and provide solutions.’

Pade also noted that Mjomba ‘never wanted to be on the forefront (activism) but he would be at the back when you fall he would catch you. He was a thinker too!’

Condolences in various LGBT list serves started pouring in with many wishing his family and friends sympathies and well-wishes.
On his Facebook profile, LGBT activists and friends posted as many received the news of his death with shock. They described Mjomba as a hard-working activist and said his death was a loss to the nascent LGBT community in Tanzania.