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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. Dear Africa,

    Grow up.

    LGBT People

    Posted by: jamal49 | Nov 1, 2011 1:39:21 PM

  2. Ok, Americans here, I'd just like to say that UK and US conservatives are NOT that different; our Prime Minister has been forced to support Gay people because he is haemorrhaging votes with minorities and women, and his party is still being seen as out-dated, compared to Labour who introduced Civil partnerships etc, at great political expense, because the conservatives (including Cameron) nailed them to the wall for it. Cameron has voted AGAINST a lot of pro-gay bills, including Gay adoption equality, the rights of Gay women to use IVF and anti-bullying laws that protected gay people. They are not better, and for the most part just as homophobic, however, their arm is being twisted. This way he can appear pro-equality, appease his coalition partners, whilst potentially lowering UK foreign aid, which is seen as unpopular by the right in our country.

    Ok, rant over. I do support his new stance on gay rights, I'm glad he's finally dancing to the tune if not exactly singing along with the wishes of the UK electorate. These countries do need help financially, but if they want that help, they have to be prepared to accept some basic principals like human rights.

    Posted by: Allan | Nov 1, 2011 1:43:04 PM

  3. What happened to Human rights in Libya when the UK helped to clear the Black Libyans out of several places?? Or do they not matter?

    What about human rights in other places?

    The whole human rights movement is a facade!!

    Posted by: goooo | Nov 1, 2011 1:43:45 PM

  4. The UK government is racist generally speaking. Pakistan is the biggest recipient of UK aid but, the UK would never ask them to accept gay rights. It would not even cross the UK's mind! why???

    The west generally views Africans as easy to impose on but, looks like some won't stand for it! Kudos to them!!

    Posted by: goooo | Nov 1, 2011 1:44:58 PM

  5. Flush sub-Saharan Africa down the toilet. It is a wasteland of dysfunction that cannot stand on its own two feet and has contributed virtually nothing at all to the advancement of the human race in its entire history. And it is the principle contributor to the over-population of the world that is destroying the planet.

    And for those suggesting that the Chinese will be their "saviors", think again. The Chinese will simply enslave them, economically speaking--and will not feel even a tinge of guilt about it, unlike the West--and make them long for the good old days of Western colonialism.

    Enough is enough--and that should go for Jamaica and Haiti and the rest of the equally backwards and homophobic African diaspora.

    Hopefully, the rest of the developed world will soon follow suit with the UK's actions.

    Posted by: Rick | Nov 1, 2011 2:00:11 PM

  6. There will be no action. The UK needs Africa more than Africa needs the UK. If all UK oil companies and others were kicked out of Africa the UK would lose more.

    Homophobia is higher in Asian countries where the UK gives more aid.

    With regard to contributing to the advancement of human race you may want to read up some more. You are obviously ignorant and a very bitter man LOL

    Posted by: goooo | Nov 1, 2011 2:11:16 PM

  7. So called aid recipients


    Posted by: goooo | Nov 1, 2011 2:18:31 PM

  8. Lastly your comment where you said:

    "And it is the principle contributor to the over-population of the world that is destroying the planet."

    1) you are an idiot
    2) India alone has more people than all of Africa so you are a dumb idiot
    3) China has more people than all of Africa

    What is apparent to me is that many of the so called activist for gay rights are themselves racist.

    Not shocked.

    In reality the situation for gays in Africa is not bad but, bringing them to the forefront will make the situation worse for them. In the middle east and much of Asia there is more punishment that is carried out!!

    Shame on those who threw out insults of a whole geographic area and insulted its dignity!!!

    Posted by: goooo | Nov 1, 2011 2:32:39 PM

  9. "...a wasteland of dysfunction that cannot stand on its own two feet and has contributed virtually nothing at all to the advancement of the human race in its entire history."

    Advancements? You mean like gas chambers and crematoriums? Or do you mean weapons of mass destruction. Thanks, Aryan homosexual.

    "Flush sub-Saharan Africa down the toilet."

    Without two hundred years of enslaved Africans building the foundation of this country--the toilet is where many European immigrants might have ended up with no "New World" to come to.

    I, and most Black Gays that I know, applaud the British Prime Minister's stand. We are also tired of hearing stories about the treatment of African Gays. But what we despise are White supremacists who don't know a motha' f.ckin' thing about Black people's history, but run their trashy mouths as if they do.

    Rick, the same racial philosophy that you promote was held by the men who would've put your azz in a Nazi concentration camp 70 years ago.

    Remember, it appears that White supremacists don't seem to like White f.ggots any more than they do Black f.ggots. Ask Michele Bachman.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 1, 2011 2:38:00 PM

  10. Agree some of the anti-Africa comments are a bit stupid, but there's no point in papering over the obvious anti-gay laws and strong homophobia that permeates much of the continent. Your statement that Asia is much worse is as ignorant as those anti-African statements you attack. Homosexuality is legal almost everywhere in Asia; the only countries where it's illegal off the top of my head are Singapore and Malaysia, and neither ever enforce this law. India is the other country with anti-gay statutes, but they are in the process of being thrown out by the court. But I think we can both agree that the Middle East is the worst place for gays, and I do think it's problematic that the UK chose to threaten Africa but ignore more flagrant violations in the Middle East.

    Posted by: Brian | Nov 1, 2011 2:45:12 PM

  11. YES--thank you, Steve & Derrick!

    Posted by: redball | Nov 1, 2011 3:48:30 PM

  12. You need to be careful talking about foreign aid, because there are several different kinds. Direct foreign assistant grants, direct foreign assistant loans, pre-purchase grants and loans, quangos and the UN, to name a few. Most of it is self-serving nonsense or, as with the US, military aid to countries like Egypt and Pakistan. Chinese aid is primarily military grants to buy Chinese made weapons. Who knows how this will play out.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 1, 2011 3:55:50 PM

  13. @Goooo: First, I'd like to congratulate on your clever screen name. It really reflects your intellect. Which apparently doesn't exist.

    If you knew anything about international affairs and aid, you'd know that China's "aid" to Africa (in the form of "investments" that are raping the continent of its myriad natural resources) exceed all foreign aid to Africa from all sources. China is treating Africa as its colonialist backwater. And when it deigns to build a bridge or road--usually so that it can transport natural resources more efficiently--it rarely hires Africans because the heads of China's government-owned companies are on record as saying that Africans are lazy, ignorant, and unskilled. So they fly in their own workers. African managers of these projects don't exist, and there are few workers.

    Benefit to the average African: nil and often negative. Benefit to Africa's many corrupt politicians: lots of money in the bank.

    These countries can give the UK the finger because general budget support from one country basically amounts to nothing. China, the World Bank, the UN, and others provide magnitudes more in aid, loans, and other support. African leaders got sick of being stepped on and feeling insulted, so they've latched on to China at their peril.

    And the UK is probably tired of supporting many Commonwealth countries anyway. This is a win-win for the PM. Makes it look like he's a staunch human rights supporter, a real modern guy, when it's a shrewd budget move. Few British people are going to object to cutting aid to countries they hardly care about, especially given some of the problems that a handful of African immigrants have caused. I'm all for this move, but I don't think we should kid ourselves. It's very strategic.

    Posted by: Paul R | Nov 1, 2011 4:17:36 PM

  14. @metroptomist

    "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."

    You seem to understand there are no universal human rights. The notion of human rights only came into existence 200 years ago - it was created by Western Englightenment intellectuals. And the only peoples who seem to have adopted their doctrines to a significant degree are those based in the West. No right is universal; what are understood as duties and rights varies from a society, a place, to another - pretty much like any other aspect of culture. Thus, there are no universal human rights; only "Western human rights", as you put it. To adopt one set of rights, or one view of what constitutes a right, is the same as adopting part of another country's culture.

    And yeah, I understand it is Britain who's threatening to cut aid to those nations. But I wasn't addressing Britain; I was addressing those self-important bloggers (generally American) who pull a petty boycott campaign whenever a country, specially a poor country, refuses to adopt the policies they, the bloggers, prefer. I'm normally not dismissive of Americans. But that is how a react to their self-entitled rhetoric.

    Posted by: HoHo | Nov 1, 2011 4:47:31 PM

  15. How about adopting polygamy as a Universal Human Rights concept as this is a traditional African concept? Perhaps any African can ask for this right to marry more than one wife when in the West? The height of British arrogance never ceases to amazes me. This is the new form of colonialism and imperialism where there are attempts to colonise Africa not through the gun but through ideological colonisation. If Cameron thinks that Africa would bow to them, they have another thinking coming. Africans are sick and tired of white superiority and dictatorial commands! I wouldn't mind if the UK had any money to boast about- but let's face it, the country is nothing to write home about!

    Posted by: viviene | Nov 1, 2011 5:04:30 PM

  16. Thank you for your input Rev. Spitz. But perhaps you should worry more about your crimes than the ones you make up about homosexuals. For those of you who don't know the Rev, he is the leader of the Army of God, which supports the bombing of abortion clinics and the murder of doctors who work at the clinics. He was a strong supporter of the anthrax letters sent to abortion clinics, and is heavily linked to the murders of at least two doctors. Interestingly, he served as co-spiritual advisor to a murderer of a doctor, and the other spiritual advisor stated that Rev. Spitz practiced "terrible theology and heresy". So, all you homosexuals out there may want to take the Rev's comment with a grain of salt, he being a heretic and criminal and all that.

    Posted by: Brian | Nov 1, 2011 5:24:53 PM

  17. Dirty Negroes...

    Posted by: balis | Nov 1, 2011 5:50:42 PM

  18. Where is Obama on this? As with his recent statements in support of marriage equality, the conservative British Prime Minister is showing far more leadership in supporting human rights than our President. Urge Obama and the Democrats to support this policy also!

    Posted by: ken | Nov 1, 2011 6:13:07 PM

  19. TO the person that insulted me. You do know that part of the middle east are in Asia???

    Have you heard of South Western Asia??

    Afghanistan and Pakistan are not in the Middle East which in reality is not a real geographic continental area.The Middle East is more a POLITICAL area than a geographic one in my view.

    Thus, to include some offenders I chose the term ASIA rather than Middle East to add Afghanistan and other similar countries.

    Maybe I should have clarified...

    East Asia may not be as bad but South/South Western is... Especially, Arab and Muslim countries there. In the Africans are more tolerant as very no government has executed a gay person.

    Now, the UK gov. should try to send this message to the Southwestern Asia and the Middle East and see what happens.

    Posted by: GOOOOO | Nov 1, 2011 7:36:00 PM

  20. To the person that ran anti Chinese propaganda. The Chinese are a lot better than the English, French and others. Sudan has been under sanctions from western nations for over a decade and has fully moved toward china. It is the most developed country Eastern Africa. This has caused many others in the region to begin moving toward China also. Sure the only propaganda you hear in the media is china is bad but, Western investors were EVEN WORSE in many cases.

    Thus, do some objective research before you post trash.

    Posted by: GOOOOO | Nov 1, 2011 7:39:27 PM

  21. Steve, you are ignorant of history. Christianity was in Africa before european colonisation of the continent. Go read the history of Ethiopia and believe you me, Africa was mentioned in teh hristian bible before england. Secondly, europeans were not the ones that introduced homophobia to Africa. It is an uncceptable practice under African traditional religion and cultural values that predate european colonisation.

    Let Britain take its aid. In fact it will help Africa because only a trickle of the aid actually reaches real africans. Most of the time, the strings attached to the aid only serves to benefit the british organisations that are set up to execute the aid or british businesses looking for contracts in Africa. The administrative quango of 4 wheel cars, expats salaries,expensive offices, expensive hotels, first class air tickets, servants etc absorbs virually all the money. In a study, only 13% of DFID aid ever given to Ghana actually got to help the people on the ground. Also, often aid money is used to corrupt African politicians to benefit british firms. The British aid after alkl has never been a free lunch. It has arguably benefited Britain and cost africans. In fact, in many african countries, perhaps the amount of money britain makes in visa fees every year equals the aid they give these countries. tens of thousands of africans paying £100-£500 pounds for visa fees every weekday of which only less than 10% are granted generates revenues for the british treasury than any aid money given to africans. I hope Africans will also say britain should allow polygamy as condition for british companies to operate in africa. Will that be acceptable to the british because polygany is not sociallya acceptable in britain but acceptable elsewhere? . David Cameron is a hypocrite

    Posted by: kwame | Nov 1, 2011 8:59:52 PM

  22. It always amazes me how conservatives most vigorously support that which is the newest. Homosexuality was commonplace in many areas of Africa before colonisation.

    They complain about Britain's attempts at influencing their moral and cultural orientation, all the while adhering to the moral and cultural orientations imposed on them only a few generations ago by Britain.

    Posted by: Carlos | Nov 1, 2011 9:47:06 PM

  23. The responses are to be expected ... but should not be taken too seriously. The policy to try to deploy aid to best effect is a good one, and should be pursued despite the huffing and puffing we are now witnessing.

    Posted by: Richard Willmer | Nov 2, 2011 6:35:13 AM

  24. Actually Goooooo, you used the term Middle East and Asia, so none of your little geography lesson makes sense. Having lived in both the Middle East and Asia, I am well aware of where each is located. If you had just said Asia, I could give you the benefit of the doubt on this. But since you explicitly said Middle East and Asia, your explanation doesn't fly. Anyone using that term would mean Middle East and East Asia. We can quibble about where Pakistan belongs, although to take your (correct) point that Middle East is more a political/cultural term rather than a geographic one, Pakistan certainly aligns much more closely to the Middle East, and I can assure you that nobody in Asia would consider Pakistan part of East Asia.

    This geography argument is certainly a distraction from your main point, which is the racist commenters here are ignorant about Africa, and my main point, which is that Asia is much more gay friendly than the Middle East or Africa, but happy to continue with the geography lesson if you prefer.

    Posted by: Brian | Nov 2, 2011 6:54:24 AM

  25. As a Ugandan, i think our President would deserve to be impeached if he listened to Mr. Cameron!! We are tired of the rot being preached & exported by the west. We are a sovereign nation. PLEASE TAKE AWAY YOUR AID. WE DO NOT NEED YOU...Ughhhh

    Posted by: Alexander Kiberu | Nov 2, 2011 9:58:06 AM

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