Friday, 28 February 2014

Japan promises won’t abandon Uganda over law

Kampala. Just days after President Museveni signed the anti-gay legislation into law, the Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, Mr Junzo Fujita, said his government will not abandon Ugandans even as some donor countries threaten to withdraw aid.
Speaking after signing an agreement that will see communities in eastern and northern Uganda access a grant totalling to $203,183, about USh490m, through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects (GGP) scheme, Mr Fujita said what matters is helping people in need and not the legislation.
“This issue (anti-gay law) and aid are different. In my own view, people are affected and they need safe water. We cannot close our eyes because of that issue (anti-gay legislation),” he added.
According to Mr Fujita, Japanese understanding of homosexuality is a little different from other donor countries like the US and UK. He was of the view that each country develops through some stage, and it is something that happens naturally.
However, he admitted that the signing of the legislation into law by the President earlier in the week has prompted agitation in the donor community.
“We are struggling with that issue together with other donor countries.
“But we are also consulting with our home government about it—whether to side with other donor countries or not.” He argued that like all other responsible countries, Uganda is bound to respect international conventions on human rights which it appended its signature to. Among the beneficiaries of the grant is the Pentecostal Assemblies of God based in Soroti. The project will construct 12 bore holes in order to improve access to safe water for over 17,000 people in Soroti District.