Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni took to Twitter and criticized the World Bank’s actions, declaring that Ugandans are capable of progress regardless of loans. He referred to the institution as “X” after it suspended new loans to Kampala in response to an anti-homosexuality law passed by the president on May 29.
He expressed his disappointment, stating, “It is unfortunate that the World Bank and others are attempting to coerce us into forsaking our faith, culture, principles, and sovereignty through financial incentives.”
Museveni emphasized, “We do not require external pressure to find solutions for our society’s challenges.”
Nonetheless, he indicated that Uganda would maintain dialogue with the World Bank in an effort to prevent any divergence of paths, if feasible.
Earlier in the day, the Ugandan government also confirmed that discussions were ongoing with the financial institution.
The World Bank announced on Tuesday that no fresh public financing would be presented to its board of directors for Uganda, citing misalignment with its values due to the enactment of the anti-homosexuality law in 2023.
Ugandan Information Minister Chris Baryomunsi asserted, “Nevertheless, it is essential for the World Bank and others to recognize that Uganda is a sovereign nation, making decisions that serve the best interests of its citizens, in accordance with the spirit of the anti-homosexuality law.”
This law, regarded as one of the most oppressive globally, has raised alarm among human rights organizations and Western nations.
It has prompted the “concern” of the UN Secretary-General, as per his spokesperson, and has been labeled a “grave assault” on human rights by US President Joe Biden.
The legislation imposes severe penalties on individuals engaged in homosexual activities or advocating for homosexuality. The offense of “aggravated homosexuality” is punishable by death, although this penalty has not been enforced in Uganda for years.
Human rights activists have also voiced apprehension about the law’s potential impact on access to healthcare for the LGBT+ community, which may fear discrimination or exposure by medical personnel.
In response to the World Bank’s announcement, the Ugandan Ministry of Health, a recipient of the institution’s funding, issued a circular on Tuesday affirming that no one should face discrimination or stigma based on “gender, religion, ethnicity, social or economic status, or sexual orientation.”