Uganda accuses World Bank of blackmail over antigay law

2014-03-01 09:18

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Kampala – Uganda has accused the World Bank of blackmail after the lender stalled a $90 million (R968.2 million) loan over the east African nation’s adoption of a draconian antigay law.

“World Bank is a multilateral institution that should not blackmail its members, however small,” government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said on Twitter yesterday.

The World Bank announced on Thursday that it was blocking the loan, which was intended to help Uganda strengthen its healthcare system.

Earlier this week, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed off on one of the world’s toughest antigay laws despite warnings from his Western allies.

Museveni capped his defence of the law – which could see homosexuals jailed for life and requires people to denounce them – with a lurid description of his particular revulsion to oral sex.

“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 spokesperson said.

Opondo argued in another tweet that “this so-called ‘cut’ is attempted blackmail to set Ugandans against their government.”

Museveni has been in power for 28 years, a record in East Africa.

The move follows action by Norway and Denmark to freeze or change aid programmes for Uganda and blunt criticism from the US and Sweden.

US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the new law as akin to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany and apartheid in South Africa.

But Opondo replied by accusing the West of attempting to impose its values on Africans.

“Why does the West criminalise polygamy but allow homosexuality if indeed they are defending [freedom of association],” he said.

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