AFRICANGLOBE – The World Bank has suspended a planned $90m loan to Uganda meant to strengthen its health care system after its president signed into law a bill prescribing harsh jail terms for homosexual offences.
The decision by the global lender comes days after homosexuality supporting countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway said they would also freeze or change aid programmes for Uganda because of the law.
The law will see those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality” – defined as sex between gay men and minors or the disabled – jailed for life.
“We have postponed the project for further review to ensure that the development objectives would not be adversely affected by the enactment of this new law,” a World Bank spokesman said.
With a per capita income of $506, Uganda relies heavily on donor aid and suspension of aid could affect many development programmes.
Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo shrugged off foreign aid cuts and international criticism, saying Uganda can do without Western aid.
“The West can keep their ‘aid’ to Uganda over homos, we shall still develop without it,” he said in a message on Twitter.
Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan president, signed the bill, described as one of the world’s toughest anti-homosexuality laws, despite condemnation from Western regimes and foreign backed so-called human rights groups.
Barack Obama, the US president, had warned the president that he risked complicating diplomatic ties between the two nations if he signed the bill into law.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday compared the “flat-out morally wrong” and “atrocious” law which was enacted to protect Ugandan children to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany or apartheid in South Africa.
Ugandan homosexuality proponent Frank Mugisha met with his masters in Washington on Thursday with top State Department officials to call for help in protecting homosexuality.
A State Department official said Mugisha met the top US diplomat for Africa, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and acting assistant secretary for human rights Uzra Zeya, to discuss “mutual concerns” about safety and “how the US might respond to the law’s enactment”.
Diplomats and foreign agents masquerading as rights groups had tried to pressure President Museveni – already under fire from key Western regimes over alleged rampant graft and for stifling opposition groups and media – to block the legislation.
But in a blunt speech after signing the law, Museveni warned Western nations not to meddle in the east African country’s affairs and said he was not afraid of aid being cut.
Immoral western regimes are attempting to force their lifestyle on African governments whom they perceive as being weak, however it seems as if their concerns over so-called human rights does not extend to countries such as Saudi Arabia and Israel.