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KAMPALA, Uganda (ChurchMilitant) – A Ugandan politician is slamming the World Bank for hypocrisy regarding its decision earlier this month to halt new loans for the country owing to its laws against homosexuality.
On Wednesday, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, known by his stage name Bobi Wine, stated, "While we welcome sanctions against [President Yoweri] Museveni, we call out the hypocrisy of the international community."
"We want them to know that our right to life matters as well," he continued. "You should not only look at gay rights as the only rights in Uganda. All human rights are rights, and you should not be selective in the application of human rights."
Wine, who leads the National Unity Platform political party, is a former Member of Parliament for Kyadondo County East in the Wakiso District of Uganda.
Uganda's laws against homosexual activity, originally introduced in 2014, criminalize same-sex relationships. Human rights organizations, foreign governments and LGBTQ advocacy groups worldwide have criticized these laws for almost a decade.
In May, Uganda passed the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023 (AHA 2023), which established stricter punishments for certain homosexual acts, namely, life imprisonment for sodomy and the death penalty for so-called aggravated homosexuality.
The AHA 2023 led to more criticism from world leaders, like self-identifying Catholic Joe Biden.
Even some ostensibly conservative politicians like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz attacked Uganda's new law. Cruz tweeted, "This Uganda law is horrific & wrong. Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for 'aggravated homosexuality' is grotesque & an abomination. ALL civilized nations should join together in condemning this human rights abuse."
This Uganda law is horrific & wrong.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 29, 2023
Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality" is grotesque & an abomination.
ALL civilized nations should join together in condemning this human rights abuse.#LGBTQ https://t.co/tTIMR8VtqW
Then, earlier this month, the World Bank reacted to the AHA 2023 in a statement, saying, "Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group's values."
"Immediately after the law was enacted, the World Bank deployed a team to Uganda to review our portfolio in the context of the new legislation," the statement continues. "That review determined additional measures are necessary to ensure projects are implemented in alignment with our environmental and social standards."
The statement further claimed the goal is "to protect sexual and gender minorities from discrimination and exclusion in the projects" the World Bank finances.
To that end, the statement concluded, "No new public financing to Uganda will be presented to our Board of Executive Directors until the efficacy of the additional measures has been tested."
The World Bank's policy did not extend to public contracts already in place.
"The projects that were being funded by the World Bank will be finished despite the new pronouncements because we have contracts with them," stated Hon. Henry Musasizi, Uganda's state minister for finance.
President Museveni responded last Thursday to the World Bank's decision. He explained he was restraining himself "from exploding with anger." "Some of these imperialist actors are insufferable," he asserted.
Referring to the World Bank and the West, Museveni then asked the rhetorical question: "How, then, are you different from the religious fundamentalists who are intolerant of other faiths?"
While the World Bank is targeting Uganda, the country's AHA, 2023 is not an outlier. Homosexual activity is illegal in 32 of Africa's 54 countries, with the death penalty as a possible punishment in places such as northern Nigeria and southern Somalia.