The Ugandan President has said that it is “unreligious” and “sinful” for other countries to provide aid on the condition that his people are given the freedom to express their sexuality.
Many Western nations have reduced aid to the Ugandan government after Yoweri Museveni in February signed into law a harsh Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which could see same-sex couples sentenced to life in prison.
But the President said that Africans do not need help from overseas, and instead need to “stop sleeping and work”, The Telegraph reported.
Speaking at a religious conference in the capital Kampala, Museveni said that the aid cuts had actually proved beneficial because they had “aroused” Ugandans to the need to “undertake serious work”.
He said: “Uganda does not need aid. Uganda is so rich, we should be the ones to give aid. The only thing we need from the world is trade, if they can buy our products. Aid becomes important only when people are asleep.”
The 69-year-old President said that the problem lay in the fact that the only thing Africans “do well” is “multiply and fill the Earth” – and that they needed to work harder to become self-sufficient.
He went on to say that it was “unreligious” to offer aid with conditions attached, including demands to give equal rights to LGBT people.
“That is a bad omen, you are committing a sin to offer that aid, or to receive it,” he said.
Tamale Mirundi, a spokesman for Museveni, said: “The president is a religious man, he sees aid which comes from religious organisations that then add demands over gay people to be unreligious, and he is right that we don’t need it.
“In his speech he made clear that Uganda can be self-reliant, and the aid cuts have woken us up and invigorated us. The president has always opposed aid, from the beginning.”
According to the Department for International Development, the UK “remains committed to supporting the people of Uganda” despite the recent circumstances - but money sent to the country is now channelled via approved charities, following a corruption scandal last year
The US cut aid last month; President Barack Obama had previously described the law as a step backward for all Ugandans".