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UK blocks aid to anti-gay countries

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Denzel Musumba

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The United Kingdom has announced new measures to cut aid to Commonwealth countries at the forefront of the anti-gay campaign.
UK officials on Monday said that the decision by Prime Minister David Cameron to withdraw the general budgetary support targeted nations engaged in the abuse of homosexuals and Kenya was not one of them.

A spokesperson in the UK’s Department for International Development said the Cameron administration would use the budget support to ensure that human rights abuses against homosexuals come to an end.

“The UK will withhold general budget support (direct aid) to governments if we are not satisfied that they share our commitments to respect human rights. Kenya does not currently receive any general budget,” a statement from the British High Commission in Nairobi said, quoting the spokesperson.

“British aid should have more strings attached. This is an issue where we are pushing for movement, we are prepared to put some money behind what we believe. But I’m afraid that you can’t expect countries to change overnight,” he said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation after attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Perth, Australia.

The change of policy by Britain is likely to affect more than 40 out of 54 Commonwealth countries whose laws outlaw homosexuality and carry punitive penalties for offenders.

Mr Cameron hinted that Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana could be the first victims of the policy change.

Ironically, the targeted countries inherited the punitive laws from Britain, which has now changed its policies to embrace homosexuality.Two weeks ago, Mr Cameron announced that gay marriages in the UK would be legalised.

In July, the UK suspended Sh2.9 billion (£19 million) to Malawi after the government jailed two men for 14 years and hard labour for being homosexuals.

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