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Is the World Bank impending democracy in Uganda?

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By Amb. Henry Mayega 

A couple of days ago, the World Bank in a watershed moment suspended new requests for its financial “assistance” to Uganda owing to our country’s passing into law the Anti-Homosexual Bill. In its statement, the bank said its position would pivot on the petition before the Ugandan courts of law. Ugandans of good standing, save the conspiratorial outcasts, appreciated the bill that sky-rocketed in popularity henceforth hitting almost 100% support across the political aisle in the August House. Uganda’s post-independence best President, Yoweri Museveni, signed it into law in May, 2023.

Firstly, this matter which excited our westerly lecturers on democracy into pressing the World Bank to suspend Uganda’s access to “aid” is before our competent courts of law where the depository is also domiciled. Isn’t that a case of sub judice? Those haters of this administration, plausibly, hurried the bank to effectuate the suspension in order to settle old scores. Could it be the way we voted on the disconcerting Russia-Ukraine debacle? Or it was a pay-cheque for our drawing closer to the east recently? The bank essentially put the cart before the horse; ideally, its naked exhibition of impatience by failing to wait for a court verdict is luridly messy, grossly incongruent in law and starkly suspect. 

Secondly, the bank knows that the Anti-Homosexuality- law passed outrightly the requisite litmus tests of the democratic process to the letter. A committee of parliament scrutinized the private members bill, the public made petitions and the parliamentary plenary perused it and passed it into law. And on popular demand, both in public and across the political aisle on the floor of the August, it was clear that Uganda was not going to accept sodomy as one of its cultural traits. It appears the bank’s respect for the democratic principle of separation of powers between the three arms of government is in doubt? Blatantly put, the bank’s vanity is ludicrously impeding Uganda’s democracy.

Thirdly, Uganda sovereignty’s is neither in doubt nor negotiable. We are free to enact our laws as, how and when we like just as all countries do including those that perennially lecture us. Any infringement on our sovereignty by interlopers is particularly obnoxious, super wrong and an overreach.

The independence we struggled for and obtained on October 9, 1962 wasn’t in vain: Which vindicates the position many are demanding namely the need to reform the governance at the bank if it must survive into the future of a multipolar world currently shaping up. Uganda in particular or Africa in general are not sufficiently represented in the droughty rooms of the bank and its governing board? Absolutely not. That in a sense explains the arbitrary and inimical decisions always taken in our absence at the Washington DC headquartered depository. 

Fourthly, Uganda is a bona-fide member of the World Bank and as such, like any other member, it ought to be treated with the requisite decorum. The bank’s board woke up abruptly and disparaged one of its paid-up members over, you know what? “rights to homosexuals” – a humiliating affront to both Uganda and the bank’s moral compass itself under the guise of “World Bank values.” Arguably, the bank’s moral fibre is hanging in balance – an unprecedented oddity. The closer parallel to the bank’s suspension of “aid” to Uganda was on March 2, 2023 when it halted all programs in Russia and Belarus due to the conflict in Ukraine and when “aid” to Kenya over exclusively awarding construction contracts of the Lamu Port and Express Way to Chinese companies.  

Fifthly, national laws can never be uniform at the global echelon. This column typifies this as follows; whereas some countries are aristocratic by law, others are republics while others combine elements from both. I know of countries where sodomy is completely forbidden and the World Bank won’t wag its finger against them because they are either economically/politically powerful or they have completely disengaged themselves from the over-reach of the “western value system’s crusade.”

Sixthly, Uganda like many other countries cannot sacrifice its value system at the altar of expedience; certainly, those values do not include sodomy – we are a clear mismatch with the World Bank’s. We will surely pivot away from those who want to re-write them on our behalf and toward others who respectfully don’t interfere with them. 

Lastly, it would appear that the World Bank is chasing many into BRICS. Does the bank’s decision on Uganda and others make good business sense given that both BRICS and the World Bank are competitors?

I guess BRICS will gleefully admit whomever gets estranged from the World Bank.

Ambassador Henry Mayega

Consul General

Uganda Consulate General

Dubai, UAE

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