Uganda’s opposition leader, Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, has accused the World Bank of selective advocacy in championing gay rights while ignoring other important human rights issues in the country.
This accusation comes following the global lender’s decision to halt new loans for Uganda’s development projects after the enactment of the Anti-homosexuality Act in 2023.
The suspended loans are worth a staggering $1.8 billion (Ush6.7 trillion), which will undoubtedly impact the country’s development agenda.
While the suspension of loans was initially welcomed by Bobi Wine and many Ugandans, he expressed his discontent with the World Bank’s decision to solely focus on the anti-gay law as the basis for imposing these sanctions.
He argues that in addition to the violations of gay rights, President Yoweri Museveni‘s government is responsible for numerous other human rights violations that warrant similar actions from the international community.
Bobi Wine believes that the lives of all Ugandans matter and that the international community should not overlook the countless lives being lost due to various human rights abuses in the country.
President Museveni, along with other Ugandan leaders, including the speaker of Parliament, has stood his ground despite the World Bank’s decision. In a lengthy statement released on August 17, Museveni expressed his disagreement with the World Bank’s approach, describing it as a miscalculation on their part.
He firmly stated that the threat of withdrawal of loans and aid, which he considers peripheral to the country’s transformation efforts, cannot intimidate the Ugandan people.
Kyagulanyi raised concerns regarding the Bank’s actions in the event that Uganda repeals a certain law. He questioned whether the Bank would still provide financial support to President Museveni, even if he were to commit acts of violence against Ugandans. Additionally, Kyagulanyi urged the World Bank to pay attention to the pleas of those who have been subjected to torture in Uganda.
He called for a change in the American government’s policy towards Uganda and the current regime led by Museveni.
Despite numerous instances of loss of life, such as during riots in Kayunga and Kasese, as well as during the general election campaigns in November 2020 and 2021, Kyagulanyi highlighted that these casualties seemed insignificant due to the continued financial aid provided by the World Bank and IMF to Museveni’s regime, amounting to billions of dollars.