Uganda losing aid over new antigay law

KAMPALA, Uganda — Uganda’s government has been hit with substantial aid cuts after the president enacted a severe antigay measure over that some Western governments had warned of consequences.

At least three European countries are withdrawing millions in direct support to Uganda’s government, which depends on donors for about 20 percent of its budget.

The Dutch government said in a statement Thursday that it is suspending aid to Uganda’s government but will continue supporting nongovernmental groups, joining the governments of Norway and Denmark in taking such action.

Washington has also signaled it could cut aid to Uganda over the antigay measure, which the White House described as abhorrent.


Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday compared the law to oppressive government crackdowns on German Jews in the 1930s and black South Africans during apartheid, saying he was going to direct American ambassadors to look at how the United States deals with what he called a human rights challenge.

Ugandan officials have been reacting with scorn, saying that Western governments can keep their money.

Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, told African leaders attending a summit in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa Wednesday that although the matter of gay rights is ‘‘dear’’ to the West, ‘‘even the homosexuals need electricity.’’

Museveni enacted the bill on Monday, drawing widespread condemnation from the United Nations and rights groups. In signing the bill, Museveni said he wanted to deter Western groups from promoting homosexuality in Africa. The law is widely popular in Uganda, however, and some analysts believe Museveni’s enactment of it will boost his popularity ahead of the 2016 presidential elections