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Uganda Suffers Cuts in Donor Aid

For 20 years, while under President Yoweri Museveni’s leadership, Uganda was the main recipient of donor aid in Africa. But recently, Uganda has suffered cuts in aid because of donors’ unhappiness with the country’s democratic reforms. Now President Museveni says he does not need foreign aid that is tied to democracy. Instead, he says he wants aid that will support projects like building electricity power stations. Kizza Besigye, the leader of the opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change, spoke with VOA English to Africa Service reporter James Butty about President Museveni’s change of mind.

“Obviously, President Museveni is far removed from any interest in democratic dispensation and will do any thing that will frustrate the transition to a democratic dispensation. And so I am not surprised at all that he is doing all he can to stop any funding that will support democratization in Uganda.”

Besigye dismisses President Museveni’s suggestion that because Uganda had been considered a democratic country for many years, he should be considered a promoter of democracy in the world.

“As you know he has been in power for over 20 years. He only recently amended the Constitution to prolong his stay in power. The election, that has just been held in Uganda this year, was unanimously ruled by the seven judges of the Supreme Court as not free or fair. So the only thing that President Museveni can talk about is militarism and dictatorship. But he has absolutely no credentials to talk about democracy in any form.”

Besigye blames foreigners for allowing a dictatorship to form in Uganda. He says they have called Museveni a beacon of hope, yet failed to see that they were supporting a system that he says is not interested in promoting democracy in Uganda.

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