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Museveni’s strategy to counter backlash from Western countries

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A diplomatic brief to heads of mission warns them to take precautions against possible hostile reactions from their host communities and also advises them to interact with the host countries and reach out to lobby groups to explain Uganda’s position. TEA Graphic

A diplomatic brief to heads of mission warns them to take precautions against possible hostile reactions from their host communities and also advises them to interact with the host countries and reach out to lobby groups to explain Uganda’s position. TEA Graphic 

By BARBARA AMONG Special Correspondent

Posted  Saturday, March 1   2014 at  13:37

In Summary

  • A day after warnings of aid cuts by Western donors went out, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent out a cable to its station chiefs, warning them to take precautions against possible hostile reactions from their host communities.
  • The diplomatic brief also advises the heads of mission to interact with the host countries and reach out to lobby groups to explain Uganda’s position.
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According to insiders, the decision by Western leaders, including US President Barack Obama, to express their opposition to the Bill in public statements “that smacked of arrogance” left President Museveni no choice but to sign it, “to salvage national pride.”

“It was the provocation by the Western groups. Once these groups started pushing, the church then responded, our parliament also responded and the Bill was born out of that,” said Mr Mugume.

Speaking to the 17th Comesa Heads of State Summit in Kinshasa on February 26, President Museveni lamented the unequal and often misdirected priorities imposed by donor countries on aid recipients.

“We can talk about other subjects dear to the Western countries such as the homosexuals. However, even the homosexuals need electricity. Hence, electricity, railways, roads, ICT, piped water for, at least, the towns, education and health infrastructure must be our priorities in whatever forum we are in,” he said.

In yet another reaction by the Uganda government to the backlash, the Foreign Affairs Ministry held a meeting with representatives of donor countries as it sought to ascertain their position.

At the meeting on Thursday, which went on well into the night, the donors are reported to have agreed to limit aid cuts to areas that will not directly affect ordinary Ugandans.

According to sources, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kuteesa called the meeting as part of efforts to get a clear picture of the likely scope of aid cuts following hostile statements from a number of Western countries.

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