Many people do not agree with Uganda President and his parliament’s bill against gay people. However, the reaction to this bill is making me wonder what the real objective is, for all the lobby. Is it really about human rights or something else that is not being said? Are some rights better than others? Are gay rights now better than the right to education, right to healthcare among others which are provided by organisations reliant on Foreign Aid? Does a Foreign Aid freeze actually affect many governments or they simply make the poorest people suffer more?
It is with dismay that I read that the World Bank has frozen its planned loan to Uganda. I really don’t get the logic of this. Why is Foreign Aid constantly being used as a way of ‘punishing’ African governments who do not toe the line of Western Powers’ aspirations?
The rationale for foreign aid is usually that everyone has the right to education, healthcare, life, freedom of expression etc and in cases where local governments cannot fulfill this, foreign governments and organisations come in to fill the void. How then does refusing aid to organisations working in Uganda because the president signed a bill which ostensibly denies gays of their rights, becomes the right thing to do?
If anything, I just see many more children who were going to school because of aid to educational organisations, denied the right to education. Many people who benefited from foreign organisations providing healthcare denied the right to healthcare and many children dying at birth because organisations working to combat infant mortality are starved of the much needed funds.
The only aid that should be denied any government is military aid because it will affect the government directly. Unfortunately I doubt if this type of aid is ever frozen. In most cases, it mutates into a debt which the recipient country has to pay whenever the recalcitrant government leaves power.
This is just another reason why foreign aid should never be an option for African governments because it tends to be used as a weapon for negotiation. If any country is unhappy with Uganda, they should look for better ways to attack Museveni and his government rather than taking a route which will end up affecting the very poor, who perhaps do not matter to the government in the first place.