museveni today

Action, not just outrage in Uganda

(Last Updated On: 11 September 2023)

By Hellen Murphy, Devex

The United Kingdom |Uganda has been widely denounced for its “abhorrent” anti-gay law, but activists want to see outrage turned into deeds.

Spurred by the World Bank’s decision to pause lending to Uganda, they have called for more donors to step up and make their anger heard.

Outrage is only meaningful if it’s backed by action. In Uganda, where the world has expressed anger at the nation’s anti-gay law, activists have called on the global community to put its proverbial money where its mouth is.

The World Bank did just that last month. It decided to stop new lending to Uganda because the Anti-Homosexuality Act contradicts its values of ”inclusion and non-discrimination.”

But more is needed, say activists, who have called on other donors to back up their statements of outrage with action.

In June, some 170 groups — including 60 or so from Africa — wrote to World Bank President Ajay Banga calling for a stoppage of current loans to the East African nation and suspension of future lending until the “abhorrent” law is scrapped.

Also read: Now with our Anti-gay Law, we can ignore the West

Kudos to Banga, but more is needed. It’s tricky, though, say some donors because halting programs would deprive the most vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ+ people, of vital assistance. The draconian law includes the death penalty and prison sentences of up to 20 years.

Activists applauded the lender for standing up to discrimination, and it’s not the first time the World Bank has stuck its neck out to fight Uganda’s anti-gay laws.

In 2014 it suspended a $90 million loan in protest at harsh jail terms for homosexual “offenses,” writes Amy Fallon for Devex.

“We hope that the decisive announcement will spur further commitments from others who support inclusive economic development and the protection of basic human rights to take concrete action in the face of Uganda’s horrific law,” Clare Byarugaba from Chapter Four Uganda said in a statement.

Unfortunately, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has dug his heels in and said the nation will not yield to World Bank pressure.

He (Museveni) described bank officials as shallow and insufferable “imperialist actors” who do not know where to stop.

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