The World Bank has suspended a planned $90m loan meant to help strengthen Uganda’s health care system after President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill that prescribes harsh jail terms for homosexual offences.
The World Bank’s decision comes days after Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway said they would also freeze or change aid programmes for Uganda because of the law.
The law will see those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality” – defined as sex between gay men and minors or the disabled – jailed for life.
A World Bank spokesman disclosed that “we have postponed the project for further review to ensure that the development objectives would not be adversely affected by the enactment of this new law.”
Uganda, which has a per capita income of $ 506 relies heavily on donor aid and as such, suspension of aid could affect many of the country’s development programmes.
Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo shrugged off foreign aid cuts and international criticism, saying Uganda can do without Western aid.
In his reaction on Twitter however, Ofwono Opondo, a government spokesman posted on twitter, “the West can keep their ‘aid’ to Uganda over homos, we shall still develop without it”.
President Museveni had ignored threats from American President, Barack Obama and other Western leaders to sign the bill which has been described as one of the world’s toughest anti-gay laws.
Aftyer signing the law, Museveni warned Western nations not to meddle in the east Uganda’s affairs and he stated that he was not afraid that aid to his country would be withdrawn.