New Vision ( Uganda ) reports
Germany halts aid to Uganda over corruption scandal
Slum aid project Kampala
BERLIN - Germany has suspended aid to Uganda in protest over corruption, making it the latest European country to halt payments in the wake of a scandal involving the theft of donors' funds.
The corruption scandal, involving the siphoning off of some $13 million in donor funds, has already led Britain - Uganda's biggest donor - to suspend aid to Kampala. Denmark, Norway and Ireland have followed suit.
At the end of the day I can undestand the irritation of the Western donor nations with this sort of corruption. I tend to view it as a cost of doing business in Africa though. If you can catch the bastards by all means do so and stick them through the courts but the reality is those who will be hurt most are the people who really need help.
"Even though no German funds are affected (by the scandal), I have ordered that Germany, in unison with other aid donors, withhold payment of budget aid," German International Development Minister Dirk Niebel said.
"We thereby send a clear message ... (Aid) is an expression of our highest trust in responsible governance by our cooperation partners," he said in a statement issued on Friday.
He gave no figures for the amount in question but said aid pledges for 2013-2015 had also been "put on ice".
I think that there is another message being articulated here. If you are going to pass legislation criminalising gay members of your community then the liberal West will object.
Uganda has said it is determined to punish all officials involved in embezzling the money, which was meant to fund recovery efforts in northern areas of the country after a lengthy insurgency by the Lord's Resistance Army.
Germany was equally concerned about legislation that will impose an array of jail terms for convicted homosexuals, including life imprisonment in certain circumstances. U.S. President Barack Obama has branded the bill as "odious".
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"If discrimination against human rights is voted through by the Ugandan parliament, this would have consequences for our cooperation," said Niebel.
That is the real message that Germany is sending to Uganda. Is it an attempt to bully Uganda as it is being interpreted by a surprisingly large number of the Ugandan community ?
No. Human rights are universal and gay members of our commuinities have exactly the same rights and freedom of expression as every other person who is part of the community. There would I assume be very little support for the doctrine of aparthide in Uganda the removal of rights on the basis of skin colour is no different to the removal of rights on the grounds of sexuality.
Aid accounts for about 25 percent of Uganda's annual budget.
Cutting the funds would put public investments in health and education at risk in Africa's largest coffee exporter.