Ugandan LGBT activists believe foreign aid cuts will only make matters worse

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Since Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the anti-gay bill that punishes “repeat offenders” of homosexuality with life imprisonment on Monday, February 24, international outcry has resulted in foreign countries beginning to cut financial aid to its government.

On February 25, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands cut their aid to Uganda following the signing of the bill by Museveni. Additionally, Sweden and the United States are currently reconsidering their aid. The US provides around $400 million per year to Uganda.

The UK cut around £27 million ($44,944,200 USD) in aid to Uganda in 2013 due to a governmental corruption scandal. With the new law, they will deem Uganda ineligible for renewed funding.

Members of the European Parliament are also attempting to call an end to a political agreement with Uganda over the law.

The speed with which Uganda has lost its funding has led to a fast-paced economic drop over the last three days.

However, Gay Star News reported that gay rights activists in Uganda disagree with the decision to cut aid, believing it would only make matters worse for the LGBT community, who will be blamed for the cuts.

The director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, Frank Mugisha, spoke out on Twitter saying, “We can’t afford to create new victims. We should go after the crazy politicians! Not innocent Ugandans.”

The director of the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group, Edwin Sesange, wrote in a commentary for Gay Star News, “Aid in various forms helps all ordinary Ugandans, including LGBTI people who we are campaigning for. Therefore the consequences of not being able to access those services financed by foreign aid will directly impact gay, lesbian, trans and bi Ugandans wellbeing. Our parents, sisters, brothers, friends and other relatives will also become victims. By contrast, most proponents of homophobia in Uganda can afford luxurious lives without depending on some foreign aid funded projects.

“Politicians and the anti-gay vigilantes are using this threat from developed countries as a way of convincing people the west is using foreign aid and its influence to spread homosexuality to Uganda.”

He added, “We need to change this argument [so that]people can understand the role [that]the western countries has is fighting homophobia, not making people gay. Western leaders need to assess the risks of their strategies before LGBTI people pay the consequences.”

429Magazine

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