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10 Aug, 2023 11:43

Uganda accuses World Bank of coercion over anti-gay law

The institution underestimates Africa and the continent should be allowed to solve its own problems, President Yoweri Museveni has said
Uganda accuses World Bank of coercion over anti-gay law

The World Bank is attempting to force Uganda into abandoning its principles and sovereignty, the country’s president, Yoweri Museveni, has claimed.

Museveni’s comments follow the World Bank’s announcement on Tuesday that it will not approve new loans for Kampala, in response to an anti-gay law introduced in the country in May.

The institution claimed that the legislation, which imposes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts and a 20-year prison sentence for promoting homosexuality, contradicted its values.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Ugandan leader called the bank’s decision “unfortunate” but vowed that his country would “develop with or without loans.”

They really underestimate all Africans. We do not need pressure from anybody to know how to solve problems in our society. They are our problems,” he stated.

Museveni’s government has been widely condemned since the Anti-Homosexuality Act was passed, with growing demands for sanctions against state officials from human rights groups and activists.

Activists argue that the new law legalizes “homophobia and transphobia,” while the government claims it is necessary to preserve cultural values and prevent “disoriented” LGBTQ people from recruiting others.

The World Bank is the latest entity to sanction the East African country, following the US government’s imposition of visa restrictions on sponsors of the anti-gay law in June and the threat of further action against officials responsible for human rights violations.

Earlier this week, the bank concluded that no new public financing for Kampala will be approved until the efficacy of additional anti-discrimination measures in projects it funds is tested.

Uganda and the bank are continuing talks to “avoid this diversion if possible,” President Museveni said on Wednesday.

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