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Uganda, Ghana, Malawi Push Back at UK Threat to Cut Aid Over Laws Which Criminalize Homosexuality

Several African nations are responding with anger after UK Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to slash one type of bilateral aid known as general budget support to countries that refuse to reform laws which criminalize homosexuality.

CameronMr Cameron said he had spoken with "a number of African countries" and that more pressure had been applied by Foreign Secretary William Hague, who deputised for him during parts of the summit. Some 41 nations within the 54-member Commonwealth have laws banning homosexuality. Many of these laws are a legacy of British Empire laws.

From the Nyasa Times:

Malawi government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati said it was “unfortunate” for Britain to have “pro-gay strings” to aid. She said homosexual acts are illegal in Malawi and noted that these laws are a legacy of British rule...MCC chairperson Bishop Dr. Joseph Bvumbwe,  Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) chairperson the Reverend Dr Lazarus Chakwera  and Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) secretary Father George Buleya told reporters in Lilongwe that they were not happy with UK position on gay rights. Bvumbwe said British Prime Minister’s statements were 'unfortunate'  and they they regard them as 'unacceptable and provocative.'"

TettehGhana responds

(Ghana’s Trade and Industry Minister, Ms Hannah) Tetteh insists same sex relationships are unacceptable in African cultural set-ups and no amount of threats would make Ghana kowtow to UK’s threat. Interacting with a section of the media in Accra on Tuesday, Ms Tetteh stated that the western world has no right to force its cultural and moral orientations on Ghana and that the government will make its stance clear at the appropriate time. 'Every society has its norms and what it considers to be acceptable,' she said. 'In the Western world it is acceptable to have gay relationships and even move on to the next level to gay marriages, in our society it is unacceptable.'"

Uganda responds:

(Ugandan presidential adviser John) Nagenda accused Mr Cameron of showing an "ex-colonial mentality" and of treating Ugandans "like children". "Uganda is, if you remember, a sovereign state and we are tired of being given these lectures by people," he told the BBC's Newshour programme. "If they must take their money, so be it."...Mr Nagenda said he doubted that the Ugandan parliament would ever approve a bill which proposed the death penalty for some homosexual acts. "I believe it will die a natural death. But this kind of ex-colonial mentality of saying: 'You do this or I withdraw my aid' will definitely make people extremely uncomfortable with being treated like children," Mr Nagenda said.

Said Cameron: "This is an issue where we are pushing for movement, we are prepared to put some money behind what we believe. But I'm afraid that you can't expect countries to change overnight. Britain is one of the premier aid givers in the world. We want to see countries that receive our aid adhering to proper human rights. We are saying that is one of the things that determines our aid policy, and there have been particularly bad examples where we have taken action."

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  1. >"Ms Tetteh stated that the western world has no right to force its cultural and moral orientations on Ghana"

    Oh, the irony. It's Christianity and its homophobia that are western impositions on Africa. But apparently that's ok

    Posted by: Steve | Nov 1, 2011 11:30:01 AM

  2. EXCELLENT decision, PM Cameron! I'm glad that you made this decision. I have a feeling that this decision is going to stir up a whole bunch of controversy, but I believe that you made the right decision possible. Countries that are not willing to treat their LGBT citizens with respect do not deserve ANY aid from the UK. I applaud you for giving them a strong push in the right direction, Mr. Cameron.

    Posted by: Erik | Nov 1, 2011 11:33:25 AM

  3. Monetary aid that comes with policy strings? That never happens! ;-)

    The Brits created this mess; good for them for taking a stand. Too bad Cameron is otherwise a horrible prime minister.

    Posted by: Jace | Nov 1, 2011 11:41:23 AM

  4. Nobody is forcing them to do anything. Just don't whine about not getting a handout when you act like barbarians. I do hope that the UK allows LGBT citizens of these backwater hellholes to claim asylum if they need to do so.

    Posted by: gaylib | Nov 1, 2011 11:44:55 AM

  5. @Steve: I have never seen a more irrefutable comment

    Posted by: Dennis | Nov 1, 2011 11:50:34 AM

  6. As a Canadian I would love to see our government do the same. Take the handout away if they can't respect basic human rights!

    Posted by: Joe | Nov 1, 2011 11:54:51 AM

  7. The politicians in these countries can say what they want. Let's see how they react when it starts impacting the economic bottom line.

    Meanwhile, the US continues to export evangelical christianity to these countries - which seems to be the driving force behind these new homophobic political strategies.

    Posted by: mike128 | Nov 1, 2011 11:56:40 AM

  8. Oh boo hoo. The poor third world countries cant get unconditional handouts. Hard to imagine why they need aid, when they seem to be doing such a bang up job of running the show.

    Posted by: Lisa G | Nov 1, 2011 11:57:00 AM

  9. It's essentially basic human rights. Money is not usually given to nations who abuse their own people. Fix that part and you will get the aid.

    Pretty easy to do, but amazing how these leaders think it's so immoral and impossible. Oh, but they still want the money, of course.

    Posted by: johnny | Nov 1, 2011 11:57:36 AM

  10. "I do hope that the UK allows LGBT citizens of these backwater hellholes to claim asylum if they need to do so"

    Considering what the British think of asylum seekers, I doubt that will take place.

    Posted by: HoHo | Nov 1, 2011 12:12:54 PM

  11. "Uganda is, if you remember, a sovereign state and we are tired of being given these lectures by people."

    Well since they're so happy being a sovereign state and don't want to be lectured about their appalling lack of morality in their treatment of LGBT citizens, then clearly they don't want handouts from western governments, right?

    Good for you Prime Minister Cameron. What a contrast between conservatives in Britain and here in the US.

    Posted by: Robert | Nov 1, 2011 12:14:50 PM

  12. The bloggers around here are always the same. Whenever a 3rd World country decides it won't be adopting the cultural norms of a Western nation, people go ballistics with calls for tourist boycotts and suspension of aid. Those people, specially the Americans, genuinely believe the world will crumble if they cease to lend aid (which, in the case of the US, isn't even aid; it's a loan that will be paid with interests). Wake up you guys; it's your great countries who are living off of other nations' financial resources nowadays. You're the ones who owe your asses to foreigners. You don't get to lecture anyone anymore. Just imagine if China was saying to the US it will only keep buying your junk treasury bonds if you adopt their culture; you would be in a more pressinbg situation than those African countries are right now.

    Posted by: HoHo | Nov 1, 2011 12:19:24 PM

  13. So why hasn't America done the same? Why are "pro-gay" celebrities (Oprah, Madonna, et al) still pouring millions into these African countries? Why haven't Feinstein, Boxer, Pelosi, et al, proposed Congressional action to stop funding these countries? Speak out! Complain to your elected officials.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Nov 1, 2011 12:19:36 PM

  14. @ GAYLIB and JOHNNY -- You both NAILED IT! Well said.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Nov 1, 2011 12:25:49 PM

  15. Hey, no one said these countries have to change a single thing. They can do whatever they want, just don't expect the West to continue propping up corrupt, hateful regimes with appalling human rights records, busily enacting laws that offend Western values.

    And it's not like religious charities are operated solely out of generosity either. Conversion to the missionaries' religion in exchange for aid is the motive there, though I doubt they'd state it so bluntly. I'm sure they call it "sharing the gospel" or some such, but that's just semantics.

    Posted by: Caliban | Nov 1, 2011 12:42:36 PM

  16. We're objecting to the institutionalization of discrimination and the codification of hatred & murder in these countries. And if they want to continue those practices, and are willing to forgo aid (of whatever nature) then they are free to do so. And then let them rot.

    Posted by: antb | Nov 1, 2011 12:46:09 PM

  17. This is the right decision. Accepting aid from the global north is a form of neo-colonialism to some extent. What is surprising is that it is Britain which is the first state to take a stand although I suppose William Hague IS the Foreign Minister...
    This is probably the first thing Cameron has done/said as PM that I actually agree with.

    Posted by: beats | Nov 1, 2011 12:46:52 PM

  18. @ERIK The west can take its aid we will take our culture

    Posted by: anbu12 | Nov 1, 2011 12:58:08 PM

  19. It is sad to see women defending these laws. What if their children were gay? Would they see it as acceptable to imprison them or persecute them?
    Hatred isn't a right or a law and a country which believes so is partaking in what I see as immoral behaviour. If you act like children, you'll be treated like children.

    Posted by: Sarina | Nov 1, 2011 12:59:02 PM

  20. Well if Aid is pulled the countries could always kick the UK businesses out and move toward china... We will see who loses more then.

    Stay out of their internal affairs!!!

    Posted by: goooo | Nov 1, 2011 12:59:34 PM

  21. Many of you think aid is given to these countries because they can't do better but, that is false. If they countries were not being currently robbed by UK companies they would be able to balance their budget. China may need to be the future for Africa if this stuff continues. The Chinese are more respectful and don't impose their views on others. In this case I support the countries BUT, I am against discrimination. The idea of Gay rights will never work in Africa. In fact, in South Africa where there are pro-gay rights more gays have died than all these countries combined. That should say something. What is says is when the issue is brought tot he forefront and people have to make a choice the choice will always be the anti-gay one. Not only in Africa but, almost everywhere.

    Posted by: goooo | Nov 1, 2011 1:04:39 PM

  22. @Hoho: First off, I'm sorry you're having a bad day in terms of "the Americans"... I sense a bit of latent hostility, or at least a case of constipation.

    Your comment about China is well-intended but misses the mark. Britain (Britain, mind you, not America) is not asking these nations to "adopt its culture"; it's saying that it cannot aid a government while it is championing policies that are in clear violation of Western human rights standards. There's a big difference.

    I'm a firm believer in letting different cultures shape themselves; however, when it comes to standing up for human rights, we Westerners - ALL Westerners - have a duty to remain consistent in our defense of them. And yes, it's true that we've made mistakes in the past, i.e. exporting western religious prejudices (now largely outdated) to developing nations... however, as our political and social culture develop and change, so do our policies. The error would be to avoid making changes because of guilt over our past actions.

    Posted by: metroptomist | Nov 1, 2011 1:06:00 PM

  23. "Stay out of their internal affairs!!!"

    You mean like the practice of dismembering albinos because their body parts are "lucky," raping infants and young girls because it supposedly cures AIDS, and cutting off the clitorises of women, and the trade in "blood diamonds"? Are those the internal affairs you mean or only the ones that effect gays?

    Posted by: Caliban | Nov 1, 2011 1:09:45 PM

  24. Good for the Prime Minster, and I hope other Commonwealth nations like Canada,NZ and Australia adopt similar measures. We are under no obligation to give aid to these nations, it is voluntary so why give aid to governments that enact policies we disagree with. We know that the aid money rarely goes to the people of those nations anyway, usually into the pockets of dictators and the military who support these regimes.
    A lot of people in the giving nation disagree with giving aid anyway, feeling the money would be better spent at home

    Posted by: Nicholas | Nov 1, 2011 1:29:50 PM

  25. If these ass backward AFRICAN NATIONS are tired of being told what to do, "move out" of the proverbial "House" and stop taking money from the UK. Here's a news flash, Africa, that money you recieve is skimmed off the backs of gays as well. So, you can't say NO to the gays and then turn around and accept money that was in part created by gays... right?

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Nov 1, 2011 1:39:05 PM

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