The Uganda government is facing stiff opposition after it passed its anti-gay law in May. The World Bank has cut new loans to the East African nation on grounds that the law contradicts its core values. This has been described by the Ugandan government as unjust and hypocritical. Its ambassador to the United Nations added his voice saying the move was super “draconian”, according to the BBC.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday condemned the World Bank’s decision to suspend new funding to the country expressing optimism his administration will find alternative sources of credit.
“Ugandans will develop with or without loans,” Museveni wrote on Twitter, now X. “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,” Museveni stated. “We do not need pressure from anybody to know how to solve problems in our society.”
Ugandan laws already frown on homosexuality, but, the law now criminalizes the act with offenders facing life imprisonment. The World Bank said this contravenes its values that seek to alleviate all persons irrespective of their sexuality, ethnicity, or race from poverty, and access to vital services while improving their lives. Ambassador Adonia Ayebare in a tweet suggested a reevaluation of the World Bank’s approaches and board choices.
The Anti-Homosexuality law in Uganda mandates the death penalty for severe cases, such as engaging in gay relations with a minor. Following a mission to Uganda, the World Bank condemned the law, citing a fundamental misalignment with its values.
The World Bank has temporarily suspended presenting any new public financing to Uganda and this pause is due to a review of the effectiveness of recently implemented measures in light of new legislation.
Uganda’s state minister for foreign affairs, Okello Oryem, has questioned the World Bank’s decision, highlighting the perceived inconsistency in singling out Uganda for criticism over its anti-homosexuality law when other countries also have restrictive policies or even more severe punishments for homosexuality.
Ugandan campaign groups have strongly criticized the legislation, taking legal action to invalidate it due to its discriminatory nature and infringement on LGBTQ+ rights. However, the timeline for the commencement of hearings is currently uncertain.
The World Bank joins the U.S. in imposing sanctions against Uganda over the Anti-Homosexuality law.