Africa

Monday 28 July 2014

Uganda willing to forego aid 'to save gays from damnation'

Mike Pflanz

Published 01/03/2014|02:30

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Anti-gay supporters celebrate after Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni signed a law imposing harsh penalties for homosexuality
Anti-gay supporters celebrate after Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni signed a law imposing harsh penalties for homosexuality

Uganda is willing to give up all international aid to keep its new anti-homosexuality law and "save gays from damnation", its ethics minister said as the World Bank followed other donors and froze a $100m (about €72m) new loan.

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In a newspaper interview minister Simon Lokodo said: "We want to rid this country of homosexuality and if that means these people, Obama, Hague, you name them, want to stop their aid then let them.

"We don't need (aid), we won't die poor, and we will at least be able to save these gays from damnation."

Condemnation of the new law by western nations, which together give Uganda more than €1.2bn a year in aid, drew quick criticism from Mr Lokodo.

"Do not come into my house and tell me how to live, what food to cook, what to do, as I do not come to your house and tell you what to do," he said.

Since the new act was passed on Monday, "dozens" of gay people had been threatened with violence, evicted from their homes, or lost their jobs, said Sandra Ntebi, a gay activist.

Judges can now jail for life people who have gay sex. Those who 'aid and abet' homosexuality, or fail to report suspected gays, face up to 14 years in jail.

Kelly Mukwano (24) told how his landlord evicted him just because he was gay: "He said people knew I was a homosexual, and he could not guarantee my safety, they could come and kill me at any time.

"When I left, people were staring, whispering. I did not realise the danger I was in."

Another man, who gave his name only as Akram, described how his mother and sister threw him out of his family home after his name and photograph appeared in a tabloid story "outing" people as gay.

"I think they suspected something. They were always asking me where was my girlfriend – I was 26 and by now I should be married," Akram said.

"They said I was disgusting, that I had shamed the whole family. I have nowhere to stay. Friends are too afraid of mobs or the police to allow me to sleep at their houses. I am so stressed I have thought this week of committing suicide."

The World Bank said on Thursday it was suspending $100m in loans, while Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway have all halted aid. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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