President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has replied to the World Bank that his country can develop with or without its funding.
The global bank on Tuesday announced the suspension of loans to the East African country following the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, of 2023.
The announcement by the bank comes three months after President Museveni signed legislation that includes life imprisonment for sexual acts and the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” defined in part as engaging in sex if one is HIV-positive.
The Washington, D.C.-based institution stated on August 8 that it will temporarily halt project financing while it reviews the measures it had implemented to safeguard the rights of sexual and gender minorities within its projects.
“Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group’s values. We believe our vision to eradicate poverty on a livable planet can only succeed if it includes everyone irrespective of race, gender, or sexuality. This law undermines those efforts. Inclusion and non-discrimination sit at the heart of our work around the world,” read part of the statement issued by the World Bank.
The lender will also increase third-party monitoring and grievance redress mechanisms “allowing us to take corrective action as necessary,” it said.
But reacting to the World Bank loan suspension, President Museveni insisted that no one can coerce Uganda into abandoning its principles, The KampalaReport quoted the president to have stated on Wednesday evening
Museveni said, “Last night, an official from the World Bank rang me to alert me about the statement from that bank regarding the suspension of any new requests from Uganda for loans.”
“I want to inform everybody, starting with Ugandans that Uganda will develop with or without loans. It is, therefore, unfortunate that the World Bank and other actors dare to want to coerce us into abandoning our faith, culture, principles, and sovereignty, using money. They under-estimate all Africans,” he added.
Museveni maintained that nobody should put Uganda under any form of pressure since it’s a sovereign state, adding, “We do not need pressure from anybody to know how to solve problems in our society. They are our problems.
“We are continuing to talk with the World Bank so that both they and we avoid this diversion if possible.”
President Museveni on May 26 signed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which attracted backlash from the West and cheers from religious leaders.
The controversial law introduces strict penalties including death for aggravated homosexuality, as well as imprisonment of up to 20 years for acts of homosexuality, and others.
Some groups have gone to court to challenge the act. Lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi, who recently filed the petition before the court’s sub-registry in Kampala, said the law is against the treaty establishing the East African Community, which calls for adherence to principles of democracy, rule of law, accountability, transparency, and social justice.