‘Let them cut off aid:’ African countries revolt against UK threat to cut aid over homosexuality
Africa, November 8, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The president of Ghana is leading the charge as several African countries are making their stand against Britain’s threat that they either legalize homosexual acts or be excluded from financial aid.
“I, as president of this nation will never initiate or support any attempts to legalize homosexuality in Ghana,” said President John Evans Atta Mills in an official statement to the UK government under Prime Minister David Cameron last Wednesday.
At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia at the end of October, which Prime Minister Cameron attended, the issue of homosexuality in developing countries was raised in an internal report that recommended that all Commonwealth countries end bans on homosexual activity, reported the BBC.
Cameron, speaking to The Andrew Marr Show in Perth during his stay in Australia, said, “British aid should have more strings attached.”
“Britain is now one of the premier aid givers in the world. We want to see countries that receive our aid adhering to proper human rights, and that includes how people treat gay and lesbian people,” continued Cameron.
“We are saying this is one of the things that will determine our aid policy,” he said, adding that “these [African] countries are all on a journey [to overcome discrimination] and it is up to us to help them along that journey.”
However, President Mills shot back that Britain does not have the right to mandate Ghanaian cultural and moral values.
“No one can deny Prime Minister Cameron his right to make policies, take initiatives or make statements that reflect his societal norms and ideals. But, he does not have the right to direct other sovereign nations as to what they should do, especially where their societal norms and ideals are different from those which exist in Prime Minister Cameron’s society.”
“While we acknowledge all the financial assistance and all the aid which has been given to us by our development partners, we will not accept any aid with ‘strings attached’ if that aid will not inure to our interests, or [if] the implementation—or the utilization—of that aid-with-strings-attached would rather worsen our plight as a nation, or destroy the very society that we want to use the money to improve.”
Prior to Mills’ statements, Malawi’s governmental spokesperson Patricia Kaliati said that it was “unfortunate” that Britain was considering “pro-gay strings” to aid, adding that homosexual acts are illegal in Malawi. She noted that such laws are a legacy of British rule, reported Nyasa Times.
Also on October 31st, Ugandan presidential adviser John Nagenda made a stronger statement to BBC, saying that Ugandans were “tired of these lectures” and should not be treated “like children,” adding that the Cameron’s “bullying mentality” was “very wrong.”
“Uganda is, if you remember, a sovereign state and we are tired of being given these lectures by people.”
“If they must take their money, so be it,” he concluded.
After Mills’ statements , Tanzania added itself to the growing list of African countries saying that they will not compromise on their cultural and moral values, even if it means losing Britain’s financial support.
“Tanzania will never accept Cameron’s proposal because we have our own moral values. Homosexuality is not part of our culture and we will never legalize it,” said foreign affairs minister Bernard Membe, according to Tanzania’s Guardian newspaper.
“Tanzania is ready to end diplomatic ties with Britain if it imposes conditions on the assistance it provides to pressurize for adoption of laws that recognize homosexuality.”
“We are guided by our tradition. We have families of a mother, a father and children. What Cameron is doing might lead to the collapse of the Commonwealth.”
Zanzibar, Tanzania’s semi-autonomous archipelago, has also come out strongly against British aid with strings attached.
“We have strong Islamic and Zanzibari culture that abhors gay and lesbian activities, and to anyone who tells us that development support is linked to accepting this, we are saying ‘no,’” said Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein to journalists last Friday.
“We cannot compromise our deeply rooted culture or [allow] something which [is] completely against our religion. Let them cut off aid.”
Homosexual acts are illegal, in varying capacities, in 40 out of 53 African countries, according to a survey by the International Gay and Lesbian Association.