Ugandan MP David Bahati: Losing foreign aid is a small price to pay for having a law against homosexuality

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The author of Uganda’s anti-gay law says the decision of several western countries to halt foreign aid donations is a small price to pay for protecting the nation’s moral values.

The World Bank, Norway and Denmark have withheld or diverted aid totalling about $110 million (£658 million) in protest over Uganda’s new anti-gay legislation.

David Bahati, who first sought the death penalty for some acts when he introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in 2009, said aid suspensions were tantamount to blackmail but that he expected more to follow.

“(The law) is very much worth it because it will protect our values. I think a society that has no moral values is a contradiction to development,” Mr Bahati told Reuters on Monday.

“It’s also unfortunate that the World Bank would take such a decision … and create an impression that accepting homosexuality is a condition for World Bank money when it is not,” Mr Bahati said, referring to the bank’s decision last week to freeze aid as “blackmail”.

“This blackmail will go on,” Mr Bahati said. “It might get worse before it gets better but at the end of the day, the sovereignty of our nation will triumph”.

Mr Bahati, a devout evangelical Christian, urged gay people to come forward so they could be “rehabilitated”.

He added: “There should be some psychotherapy mechanism to help those people because we love them but hate what they do.”

Throwing his weight behind Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s decision to sign his parliament’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe said at the weekend it was a “human right” for men to marry women.

In an article published last Friday, UK International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone conceded that a “subtle approach” with Uganda over its anti-gay legislation “clearly didn’t work” as a sufficient deterrent.

The Ugandan law further criminalises same-sex sexual activity, including life imprisonment for ‘repeat offenders’.

There are already concerns of a witch-hunt against gay people in Uganda after popular tabloid Red Pepper published last Tuesday a list of the country’s “200 top homosexuals” under the headline: “Exposed”.