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Uganda anti-gay bill could compromise aid

Source: Reuters - Tue, 25 Feb 2014 21:48 PM
Author: Reuters
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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni wants to rid Uganda of homosexuality.

He signed a bill into law bill that imposes harsh penalties for homosexual acts, and makes it a crime for those who help gays.

The bill imposes jail terms of up to life.

Some Ugandans welcomed the bill.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) UNNAMED KAMPALA RESIDENT SAYING:

"We are very happy for our president to sign this bill because I mean (it) brings hope to our nation and even our children are safer."

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ANTI-GAYS ACTIVIST, PASTOR MARTIN SSEMPA, SAYING:

"In Africa, if your neighbor is a butty boy, you need to tell him that he is leaving the woman that he would have married without a husband."

But the Swedish Finance Minister says the bill could mean donor countries cut funding.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SWEDISH FINANCE MINISTER, ANDERS BORG, SAYING:

"We are reviewing our own aid program with Uganda and obviously this is a factor that has to be taken into account. It is not a positive factor, but a major problem that we will have to deal with. But there are also in the Swedish aid to Uganda very important areas supporting the civil society, improving health care and research and development that are important. So we see this as a Swedish long-term commitment to a partnership with Uganda, but this is a political issue that is quite problematic in the medium and short term I must say."

If aid cuts become widespread, Uganda could be forced to cut spending -- presenting a financial risk to the east African economy.

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