Lhe son of the indestructible Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, is never short of a thundering projection on Twitter. In March, referring to the potential inclinations of certain foreign companies to leave, linked to the anti-LGBT bill discussed by Parliament, Muhoozi Kainerugaba exclaimed: “We are ready to help them pack their bags and leave our blessed country forever! »
At the end of May, the Head of State finally promulgated this law of exceptional severity, providing for heavy penalties for homosexual relations and « promotion » homosexuality in Uganda. A crime of“aggravated homosexuality” is now even likely to result in a death sentence. Will the disapproval immediately expressed by Western countries translate into retaliatory measures?
While the United States grants nearly 1 billion dollars (930 million euros) a year to Uganda in development aid, the American president, Joe Biden, has asked his administration to study the consequences of this law “shameful” on “all aspects of cooperation” between the two countries. Already, the State Department’s travel advice site has been updated to recommend that American tourists wishing to visit the “Pearl of Africa” should think twice.
The business climate is also likely to suffer a backlash. At a time when Western companies are called upon to take a stand on societal issues, Uganda’s anti-gay climate could well dissuade them from pushing their pawns there. The Open for Business coalition, which brings together multinationals such as Google, HSBC and Microsoft, has warned that such a law “would harm the attractiveness” of this African Great Lakes country. And too bad for the 6% annual growth that the International Monetary Fund predicts for it over the next five years.
Interference by American Evangelical Churches
For Ugandan politicians, the case is heard. By brandishing the threat of an aid and investment freeze, Western countries are using their influence to undermine a law supported by the majority of the population. No wonder, homosexuality being, according to their terminology, the infiltration of a foreign culture, incompatible with traditional African values. “The western world will not come to rule Uganda”warned the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among.
A very convenient argument, estimated the Nigerian journalist Caleb Okereke in a column published by Foreign Affairs : to claim that homosexuality is purely Western gives “to Ugandan and African homophobes a kind of absolution – an anti-colonial veneer, which allows them to say: ‘This was brought here from abroad, and we must eradicate it’”. The editor of the online publication Minority Africa recalls that the anti-LGBT movements in Uganda, as in Kenya or Ghana – two other countries where very repressive bills are currently being debated – nevertheless maintain close ties with the American Evangelical Churches. The interference of the latter was denounced in 2013 in the documentary God Loves Ugandaby director Roger Ross Williams.
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