Ugandan President Threatens to Discipline Expenditure if Aid is Cut Over Anti-Gay Law

Thursday, June 1, 2023
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni | Photo/PPU
3 Min Read

Uganda’s controversial anti-gay law has been making headlines around the world since its approval. The law criminalizes same-sex relationships and imposes harsh penalties on people who violate it. It has been widely criticized by human rights groups and foreign governments, with many threatening to cut aid to Uganda if the law is not repealed.

President Yoweri Museveni, however, has refused to back down. In a recent speech, he declared that if foreign countries cut aid to Uganda, his government would discipline its expenditure and look for other sources of revenue. “We do not need aid,” he said. “If they want to take their aid away because we have made our own decision…let them. We will discipline ourselves, and we shall work harder.”

 “The other time when I met you at Kololo, I said you people should be ready for a war. And you cannot fight a war when you are a pleasure seeker, if you like a soft life. So, war is not for soft life,” Mr Museveni told MPs attending the ruling party’s parliamentary caucus retreat in Kyankwanzi yesterday.

 A statement released by the Presidential Press Unit, quoted Mr Museveni to have observed that homosexuality is a serious issue with grave consequences for the human race.
 He is reported to have applauded members of Parliament for overwhelmingly voting for the law, acknowledging that they were “fighting for the right cause”.  

Museveni’s defiant stance reflects the complex political and cultural dynamics at play in Uganda. On the one hand, the country is heavily dependent on foreign aid to fund crucial programs such as health care and education. On the other hand, many Ugandans support the anti-gay law, which they see as a necessary defense of their traditional values and religious beliefs.

From an international perspective, the threat to cut aid has been seen as a way of pressuring Uganda to change its policies. However, critics argue that this kind of approach is ineffective and can even backfire.

Moreover, some Ugandans see foreign pressure as an unwanted interference in their country’s affairs. “We have been colonized, we have been educated and told what to do, we have been given standards and goals by foreigners all our lives,” says prominent Ugandan journalist Andrew Mwenda in a recent op-ed. “What we need is a respectful and consultative engagement with our Western friends, not a hostile and coercive one.”

Ultimately, the debate over Uganda’s anti-gay law highlights the need for greater understanding and dialogue between different nations and cultures. Museveni’s threat to discipline expenditure is a reminder that countries have the right to make their own decisions, even if those decisions are unpopular with the rest of the world.

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