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Museveni responds to World Bank move to cut funding over anti-gay bill

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has responded to a recent move by the World Bank to cut funding to the African country over its reported harsh anti-gay laws.

In a message on social media, the long serving President said the country would not bow to pressure from Western nations so as to legitimise lesbianism and gay marriage, adding the country would develop with or without World Bank loans.

Museveni, a former guerrila leader who shot his way to State House confirmed receiving a call from a World Bank official informing him of the institution’s intention to reject all requests from Uganda for loans.

“Last night, an official from the World Bank rang me to alert me about the statement from that Bank regarding the suspension of any new requests from Uganda for loans. I want to inform everybody, starting with Ugandans, that Uganda will develop with or without loans,” President Museveni said in a signed statement.

The Head of State, who has ruled Uganda for close to four decades, said it was unfortunate the World Bank and other actors wanted to push them to accept a foreign culture that would see Ugandans abandon their traditional way of doing things.

“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. They really under-estimate all Africans.”

He, however, said the country was still in touch with the bank to ensure that the stalemate is resolved.

The pressure from the Western powers on Uganda follows a law signed by President Museveni in May 2023 that made it a crime for same sex marriages.

Among the penalties included in Uganda’s draconian anti-LGBTQ legislation is the death penalty for homosexual acts, which has continued to draw criticism from all quarters, including US President Joe Biden.

According to the statement from the World Bank released on Tuesday, Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group’s values.

The bank stated that it is believing in its vision to eradicate poverty on a livable planet which can only succeed if it includes everyone irrespective of race, gender, or sexuality.

“Immediately after the law was enacted, the World Bank deployed a team to Uganda to review our portfolio in the context of the new legislation. That review determined additional measures are necessary to ensure projects are implemented in alignment with our environmental and social standards. Our goal is to protect sexual and gender minorities from discrimination and exclusion in the projects we finance. These measures are currently under discussion with the authorities,” World Bank said.

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