Uganda’s President Museveni Denounces World Bank’s Funding Suspension Over Anti-LGBTQ Law
Uganda defies World Bank over anti-LGBTQ law
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has rejected the World Bank’s decision to halt new funding for the country over its controversial anti-LGBTQ law. He said Uganda would not be coerced by foreign institutions to abandon its faith, culture, and sovereignty.
The World Bank’s suspension
The World Bank announced on Tuesday that it would pause new funding for Uganda until it could ensure that its projects did not discriminate against LGBTQ people. The move came in response to a law enacted in May that imposes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts and criminalizes the promotion of homosexuality.
The World Bank has an existing portfolio of $5.2 billion in Uganda, which includes projects on health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure. These projects will not be affected by the suspension, but new ones will be delayed.
The World Bank said the law contradicted its values of inclusion, diversity, and respect for human rights. It also said it was concerned about the impact of the law on Uganda’s social and economic development.
The World Bank’s decision was welcomed by local and international human rights groups, who have condemned the law as a violation of fundamental rights and freedoms. They have also documented cases of violence, harassment, and discrimination against LGBTQ people in Uganda since the law was passed.
Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, said in a statement on Thursday that Uganda was trying to reduce its borrowing anyway and would not give in to pressure from foreign institutions. He said Uganda had other sources of credit and would also benefit from oil production expected to start by 2025.
He accused the World Bank and other actors of trying to coerce Uganda into abandoning its faith, culture, principles, and sovereignty, using money. He said they underestimated all Africans and their resilience.
He said Uganda had enacted the law based on its religious and cultural values, as well as scientific evidence. He claimed that homosexuality was unnatural and a result of social deviance.
He said he hoped the World Bank would reconsider its decision and respect Uganda’s sovereignty and democracy.
The World Bank’s suspension is the latest in a series of sanctions imposed by Western governments on Uganda over its anti-LGBTQ law. In June, the United States imposed visa restrictions on some Ugandan officials involved in the enactment or implementation of the law. President Joe Biden also ordered a review of U.S. aid to Uganda, which amounted to $970 million in 2020.
The European Union, Britain, Canada, Sweden, and Norway have also expressed concern over the law and urged Uganda to repeal it. Some of them have cut or redirected some of their aid to Uganda.
However, Museveni has dismissed these actions as interference in Uganda’s internal affairs. He has also received support from some African leaders and religious groups, who have praised him for standing up to Western pressure and defending African values.
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