Norway cuts aid to Uganda due to political mishandling, corruption

Kampala (dpa) - The Norwegian government has withdrawn aid totalling 4 million dollars to Uganda, accusing Kampala of mishandling the political process, and failing to contain corruption and human rights abuses, the Norwegian ambassador said Tuesday.
"Yes, we have cut aid equivalent to 4 million dollars. This is about 10 per cent of the total aid we give to Uganda. We are dissatisfied about how government is handling the political transition. It's mishandling the political process, reluctant to open the political space,'' ambassador Tore Gjos said.

Norway's decision to cut aid to the African country comes a week after the Ugandan parliament decided to amend the constitution to remove the presidential term limits, legally making it possible for President Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, to stand for the presidential elections next year.

Although government allowed the return to multi-party politics last year, Museveni insists on an expensive and widely unpopular referendum on July 28 where the people will vote for the revival of parties which have been under suspension for 19 years.

"The decision to cut aid takes immediate effect and we communicated it to the ministry of finance yesterday. We are concerned about matters of the political transition, the democratisation process, mishandling of the transition to multi-partyism, corruption and human rights. We are concerned about the opening of the political space,'' Gjos said.

Donors are increasingly becoming unhappy with Museveni, once a darling of the west, for stiffling the political opposition, failing to fight corruption and using legislators to amend the constitution in his favour.

Government spokesman James Nsaba Buturo told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that the decision by Norway to cut aid "is totally unjustified''.

"It is amazing and totally unjustified. Debates on the constitutional amendments have been carried out by parliament. The debate over the issue has been done around the country.

"They (donors) need to be reminded that we have a constitutional process which we are following and that we are happy with the decisions constitutionally arrived at,'' Nsaba Buturo, who is also information minister, said. dpa hw pmc


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