Gay Uganda’s plea: ‘Don’t cut aid, you’ll make it worse’

As Netherlands, Norway and Denmark announce aid changes, gay activists have responded to the worldwide call to cut aid to the African country

Gay Uganda’s plea: ‘Don’t cut aid, you’ll make it worse’
26 February 2014

Uganda gay activists have warned the worldwide call for aid to be cut will make the fight-back against the new law harder.

Several advocates for LGBTI equality fear politicians will directly blame gay people if aid is cut and increase hatred against them.

After Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni signed the anti-gay bill into law on Monday (24 February), the Netherlands has announced it has frozen aid while Denmark and Norway is redirecting its assistance so it directly helps non-governmental organizations and human rights groups.

Sweden has said it will reconsider the nation’s program, while US President Barack Obama has warned the anti-gay law will force him to reconsider the reported $400 million (€291m) in donations to Uganda.

The UK cut around £27 million ($45m, €33m) aid to Uganda last year after investigations were launched into accusations of the prime minister’s corruption.

And with many other donors threatening to cut aid, Uganda’s economy has taken a hit with the shilling dropping for three straight days.

Frank Mugisha, director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, has said he does not support aid cuts.

‘We can’t afford to create new victims,’ he said on Twitter this week. ‘We should go after the crazy politicians! Not innocent Ugandans.’

In February this year, prominent Ugandan LGBTI rights activist Abbey Kiwanuka petitioned the Dutch foreign affairs committee to use other ways to persuade Uganda not to make the bill law instead of cutting aid.

His pleas were turned down.

Edwin Sesange, director of the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group, said in a Gay Star News comment piece: ‘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.

He added: ‘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.

‘We need to change this argument such people can understand the role of 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.’

And Val Kalende, a Ugandan-born activist living in California, say many other activists are fearing the community will become a target for more violence.

‘African LGBTI activists know too well what the consequences of aid cuts would be – especially the backlash against LGBTI people,’ she said.

‘LGBTI activists in Uganda remain convinced withdrawing foreign aid from Uganda’s public sector will not make Uganda a better place for LGBTI citizens; certainly not for the rest of Ugandan citizens.’

The new anti-gay law punishes homosexuality with up to life in prison.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Kaleidoscope Trust backs Australian Greens commitment to global LGBT rights

Australian Greens Party leader Senator Christine Milne has signed a pledge to use diplomacy to make progress on LGBT and intersex rights around the world
No thumbnail available

The Normal Heart writer Larry Kramer on when even gays didn't want to know about AIDS

'How do you get attention when the mayor doesn't care? When the president doesn't care? ... When the gay world doesn't care?'
Ellen DeGeneres celebrates Supreme Court victory with short but sweet tweet: 'Love Won'

Ellen DeGeneres celebrates Supreme Court victory with short but sweet tweet: 'Love Won'

Other celebs react to gay marriage ruling including Matt Bomer, Martina Navratilova and Russell Tovey
No thumbnail available

Australian state gets first ever Minister for LGBTI Equality

Following a landslide victory by the Labor Party, the new Victorian state government has appointed Australia’s first ever Minister for LGBTI Equality in Martin Foley
Buddhist abbot Ajahn Brahm in Singapore: 'Unacceptable' that religion has been so cruel to LGBTIs

Buddhist abbot Ajahn Brahm in Singapore: 'Unacceptable' that religion has been so cruel to LGBTIs

Discrimination and LGBTI people suppressing their natural sexuality causes 'terrible harm' to LGBTIs and harms their community, says the well-known Theravada Buddhist monk and Spiritual Patron of the Buddhist Fellowship in Singapore
No thumbnail available

Plummer wins Bafta for gay role

Christopher Plummer is poised for Oscar glory as he wins another award for his role as an elderly gay man on Beginners
No thumbnail available

Kelly Clarkson 'likely' to vote for Obama because of his pro-gay marriage stance

This despite the singer being 'a Republican at heart'
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Transgender activist thrown out of Pride reception after heckling Obama speaks out

Jennicet Gutiérrez: 'I interrupted his speech because it is time for our issues and struggles to be heard'
No thumbnail available