A number of African countries have reacted with anger to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent threat to cut aid to countries that criminalise and oppress LGBT people.
The Nyasa Times reports that in Malawi both government officials and religious leaders have condemned Cameron’s comments.
Malawi government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati said it was “unfortunate” for Britain to have attached “pro-gay strings” to aid and noted that laws criminalising homosexuality are a legacy of British rule.
Malawi Council of Churches chairperson Bishop Dr. Joseph Bvumbwe told journalists that the comments were “unfortunate” and the Council regards them as “unacceptable and provocative”.
In Uganda, presidential adviser John Nagenda accused Cameron of having an “ex-colonial mentality” and of treating Ugandans “like children”.
“Uganda is, if you remember, a sovereign state and we are tired of being given these lectures by people,” he told the BBC’s Newshour programme.
“If they must take their money, so be it.” Nagenda also said that he did not believe that the country’s dreaded Anti-Homosexuality Bill would be passed by parliament.
“I believe it will die a natural death. But this kind of ex-colonial mentality of saying: ‘You do this or I withdraw my aid’ will definitely make people extremely uncomfortable with being treated like children,” Nagenda said.
Meanwhile, Ghana’s Trade and Industry Minister, Hannah Tetteh, expressed her anger at Cameron’s threats, insisting that each country had the right to decide what is morally acceptable.
“Every society has its norms and what it considers to be acceptable,” she told Citifmonline.com. “In the Western world it is acceptable to have gay relationships and even move on to the next level to gay marriages. In our society it is unacceptable. ”
She added: “One of the things that states have the right to do is to manage its own affairs and so inasmuch as we would not tell any of the European countries how to manage their affairs, I don’t think it is appropriate for them to tell us how we should deal with these issues that are a matter of our own perception of what is morally right or wrong.”
Earlier this week, in a surprise move, around 50 LGBT rights groups in Africa also condemned Cameron’s statements, saying that they could lead to a backlash against gay people and that cutting aid to African countries would also negatively affect gays and lesbians on the continent.
Homosexuality is outlawed in at least 38 African countries.