Museveni lashes out at Uganda's foreign donors

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has ordered his government to reduce its dependence on foreign aid and lashed out at “paternalist” donors whom he said want to impose their values on his country.

In a speech to international investors in this town on shores of Lake Victoria late on Wednesday, Museveni demanded that rich nations stop conditioning their assistance on democratic reforms and warned Uganda would foresake such aid if they continued.

“The so-called donor countries must get out of the habit of dictating the management of our countries because this has and will lead to failures,” he said.

“I do not accept someone telling me how to run Uganda because I know Uganda better,” said Museveni, who has come under mounting criticism for the slow pace of reforms and his intention to amend the Constitution to seek a third term.

“This paternalism of running other countries must stop. It is not acceptable and it must stop completely,” he told the gathering organised by the New Partnership for African Development (Nepad) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In April, Britain, Uganda’s former colonial master, announced it was withholding about five million pounds ($9,5-million, €7,4-million) in budget support due to concerns about democratisation.

Ireland has said it is considering withholding $2-million (€1,6-million) in such aid on which Uganda relies for about 50% of its annual budget.

“You must stop dictating affairs of managing our economies,” Museveni said.

“Part of the problem is interference in the internal affairs of these poor countries.

He said his government was open to discussions with donors on issues of corruption and democracy but would not accept them dictating final decisions on the economic and political development of the country.

“Let people make their mistakes and give them advice but do not go beyond that advice. They tell me ‘do this, if you do not do this, we will cut aid.’ This is highhanded,” he said.
- Sapa-AFP

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