The Ugandan Government on Wednesday criticized the United States’ recent expansion of visa restrictions on its officials, saying this development is an attempt by Washington to enforce an “LGBT agenda” in Africa.
These new sanctions unveiled earlier this week target Ugandan individuals who were not formally identified.
According to the U.S., they are responsible for “undermining democracy and suppressing marginalized groups, including the LGBTQ community.”
Henry Okello Oryem, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, insisted his country would not backpedal on the adoption of its bill.
He told the AFP that there was no doubt regarding the fact that “some groups in the U.S.A and in the West” seek to bring [Africans and Ugandans] “to accept same-sex relations using aid and loans” as leverage.
Speaking to Reuters, he asked: “Why don’t they impose the same sanctions on the Middle East countries which have the same or harsher laws against LGBT?” he said. “If they deny our MPs visas they will (go) to Shanghai, Guangzhou. There are very many beautiful places to visit.”
The U.S. implemented an initial round of visa restrictions on Ugandan officials in June, in response to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act.
Following the U.S. restrictions, the World Bank also suspended new lending to Uganda in August.
The U.S. announced in late October it would exclude the East Africa nation from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) starting from January 2024.
The law provides for heavy penalties for people who have homosexual relations and “promote” homosexual.
The crime of “aggravated homosexuality” carries the death penalty, a sentence that has not been applied for years in Uganda.