By Melanie Nathan, April 11, 2014.
Uganda ah Uganda – may you live free one day for your people – all of them are truly beautiful and deserving. May the haters and political opportunists find their peace too – Museveni, Ssempa, Bahati, Kadaga!
Here is some food for thought:
HERE is an article as it appeared in the Ugandan Monitor:
The 28 members of the European Union have collectively agreed that cutting aid to Uganda over the anti-homosexuality law is unnecessary, and that other options should be explored to resolve the difference of opinion over the law.
They also say President Museveni is a ‘strategic security ally’ in the Great Lakes and the East African region.
Mr Pekka Haavisto, Finland’s minister for International Development, said on Tuesday that the Anti-Homosexuality Law enacted in February is “extremely stupid”, but sanctions would be unhelpful.
“Pressure and boycott is sometimes a very ineffective way of causing change,” he said in an address at a Media on Development and Child Rights conference organised by Plan Finland – a children rights International NGO.
Journalists from Finland, Africa, Asia and Latin America are attending the conference.
The EU, the minister said, has been closely monitoring the situation in Uganda following the controversial Anti-homosexuality Law but has not suspended development aid because that option is unnecessary since President Museveni is am important partner on regional stability initiatives.
Important partner “[Mr] Museveni is very important in regional stability – he has all these strategic partnerships on the South Sudan and with the Americans in Somalia – Museveni has been important; you cannot just make a decision [to cut aid],” said Mr Haavisto.
Uganda has the biggest peacekeeping contingent, about 7, 000 UPDF soldiers, in Somalia and in December sent troops to stem a feared genocide in South Sudan.
The minister’s assurances, which were reportedly separately discussed during the recent EU-Africa summit, comes after three individual member of the bloc – Norway, Sweden and The Netherlands – individually either suspended or diverted planned development assistance to the Uganda government. The US on the other hand is reviewing its overall relationship with Uganda, and has frozen or scaled back some of its interventions.
President Museveni during last week’s thanks-giving prayers at Kololo for the enactment of the impugned legislation said Uganda does not need foreign aid, adding that he signed the law, among other things, to re-affirm the country’s sovereignty.
In Finland on Tuesday, minister Haavisto, revealed that the Belgian Prime Minister Elio Dio Rup strongly raised concerns about the Anti-Homosexuality Law during the EU -Africa Summit, but bloc’s members agreed to lobby for the legislation to be repealed or amended.
The EU also recognised that it could not hold President Museveni personally culpable for assenting to the law.
Therefore he said, it was better to find other ways of changing the situation “without cutting development aid”.
Finland does not provide direct budget support to Uganda and although it joined the protest over the law, it decided not to cut its assistance to the civil society.
President Museveni recently signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which invited condemnation from the West. Countries including the US, Norway, Sweden and Netherlands cut aid or have revised their bilateral relations with Uganda.
Before signing the Bill, President Barack Obama had threatened that the law would compromise the good relations between Uganda and the US.
However, President Museveni signed the law, saying he wanted to re-affirm Uganda’s sovereignty. Uganda is the second country after Nigeria to sign the anti-gays law in Africa.
I am sure that many of you after reading this article, verbatim, believe this is absolutely right – correct- well founded. In sum the Finish Minister for International Development “argues the West should seek alternatives through which it can fight the anti-homosexuality law instead of cutting aid to Uganda.”
So let me pose some questions – and I do not purport to have the answers:
1) What might those alternatives be?
2) What are we going to do to help those Ugandans currently in hiding, some with shelter, some without food, who have been banished from their homes and villages, a direct result of the law. Many have lost scholarships to Universities, been kicked out of classes, and others have been fired from jobs and evicted by landlords. Some have lost AIDS /HIV services and access to medications, for any amount of ailments, and the attacks be it physical, threats, banishings or firings stem directly from the fear of a perception of so called “promotion” of homosexuality. This may render the parent, landlord, employer, dean, professor, teacher, banker, neighbor, medical service provider all liable to a guilty finding for the nonsensical and phoney conviction of “promotion” and [possibly accusations of recruitment.
Yes, we have already seen this happen. READ HERE.
3) The West has involved itself for more than 4 years in trying to thwart this law – Presidents, Heads of State, Ban Ki Moon, UNAIDS, Doctors, Advocates, Law Societies, – many warned against its looming doom. Yet when the perfect political storm presented itself to a dictator ready to scapegoat a tiny minority, BHAM it was suddenly law. And yes it IS Museveni’s fault as it is the fault of all involved – from religious zealots, to Member’s of Parliament, to Uganda’s subjective and rhetorical press, and every religious Christian who failed to counter its genesis. AND NOW? NOW WHAT? You could not stop it then – what makes you thin there is anything to stop it now that it has passed – besides a finding of unconstitutionality in the courts.
4) AND if the Court case is not won? Then what?
5) So WHAT do you suggest we do?
6) Do we continue to buy Ugandan exports?
7) Do we continue to visit Uganda and spend our tourist dollars there?
8) what do international employers with Diversity Policies do? Do they buy into the discrimination or do they pull out of Uganda ina refusal to risk life in prison for LGBT employees or do they fire those who are working in Uganda too?
Let us hear your ideas?
Ah and one little thought – what would it take to bring the dictator DOWN? I have the answer to that – allow him to continue to hang himself right? Allow his populace to see that by even persecuting gays they will still be poor and corruption will not go away. But first they will have to feel the pinch – and unfortunately a much harder pinch perhaps – so that they can turn on him and get rid of him once and for all.
VIVA a FREE Uganda!
UPDATED APRIL 12 2014 – Since writing this article –
And even before the aid sanctions ordinary Ugandans who r supposed to be beneficiaries were not accessing any services. The govt itself said they didn’t care abt aid cuts n M7 himself said he did his trade arch abt aid cuts n found out that the country Wudnt be affected. Ofcos we know this was ignorant talk.
But then the ordinary Ugandans are the ones celebrating the law and vowing to hunt us down so why shudnt we all suffer as a country?
Aid or aid cuts nothing much will change for sure.
the state of the country is a mess in all aspects but Uganda needs a harsh solution to prevent other countries from following suit as sm have already threatened to follow.
CSO n national NGOs will continue to receive the funds n continue with reaching the pple they hv bn serving but these greedy corrupt souls need to suffer as what they embezzled will soon get finished and the money lenders will take all the property they hv accumulated on our expense. Ordinary Ugandans r not a joke they il kill us.
We are suffocating in locking ourselves indoors all the time.
And btw few donors hv direct budget support n that few is wat should be cut after all it’s all going to be used to rig elections. Most donors hv been funding CSOs n they won’t cut a thing.
ND no one shud use scapegoating as an excuse cz we hv always bn scapegoated so wat new thing will change.
Cut the damn direct aid already. Just on news this evening teachers were protesting, hospitals are in tatters n MPs r given money to clear their debts so hw do ordinary Ugandans benefit from donor aid anyway. We jst get peanuts n the so called historicals get everything
Donor funding has not changed anything in Uganda,the money just some how ends up in the pockets of the usual suspects.To an ordinary Ugandan like me,with or without aid my life remains the same,infact we are better off without aid
just cut the aid without any debate abt it coz ever since USaid and UKaid been giving uganda i have nevr seen it with my eyes to the community and teachers and doctors are claiming for increment on their little salary but they govt just add Mps the more the more and women labour ward are lacking equipmentsso the aid is olny helping those in theparliament and big only not small people like me.