Ugandan newspaper claims economy will not suffer due to ‘hullabaloo’ over anti-gay law

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A writer for a Ugandan newspaper has written a column claiming that international aid cuts to Uganda will not affect the country’s economy, and predicts that after the “anti-gay hullabaloo” has “died down”, countries and companies will continue to invest.

Jeff Mbanga writes for the Ugandan Observer, a column which at points appears to claim that there will be little-to-no effect on the economy in the country, and others states that there could be worse consequences from the cuts.

He writes: “These are the pertinent questions that will test the economy. To offer you a quick answer, the perception will die faster than you will notice.”

Continuing he says: “Any investor with half a brain knows that there is no way government officials will storm bedrooms and lodges to crack down on gays. Implementation of this law will be difficult to pull off.”

Making a bold claim, Mbanga states that, of the aid which was going to Uganda, “officials continue to steal a substantial amount of that money anyway.”

He asks: “Are, for example, tourists going to shun Uganda because of the legislation? Shall we see international firms stay away from Uganda because they fear their gay staff could be targeted?”

“We should only get worried if companies decide to pack up and leave because of the law. There is a lot that could influence an exodus of that nature, and an anti-gay law cannot be one of them. Norway has Norwegian firms like Tronder Power, which is in charge of a power plant at Bugoye in western Uganda.”

Mbanga then says he hopes that the market will recover, and asks: “Let’s all relax and wait for this anti-gay hullabaloo to simply pass on.”

New guidance was yesterday issued on how best to support Uganda’s LGBT community following assent of the Anti-Homosexuality Law with campaigners warning that general aid cuts to Uganda should be avoided.

Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands become the first three countries this week to cut their aid to Uganda. Sweden followed suit yesterday.

In response, Ugandan Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo tweeted: “The West can keep their ‘aiid’ [sic] to Uganda over homos, we shall still develop without it”.

The UK Government confirmed to PinkNews on Tuesday that it only gives aid to NGOs in Uganda and not the country’s government.

Last year, the UK ceased state-to-state aid to Uganda, following a corruption scandal.