Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Africa LGBTIQ, Queer Politics, Same Sex Marriage

Statement of African social justice activists on the decision of the British government to cut aid to African countries that violate the rights of LGBTI people in Africa

British Prime Minister, David Cameron has warned his country would cut aid to countries in the global south that persecute LGBTI persons. Many of us believe this is an inappropriate response as stated in the statement below. ……

We, the undersigned African social justice activists, working to advance societies that affirm peoples’ differences, choice and agency throughout Africa, express the following concerns about the use of aid conditionality as an incentive for increasing the protection of the rights of LGBTI people on the continent.

It was widely reported, earlier this month, that the British Government has threatened to cut aid to governments of “countries that persecute homosexuals” unless they stop punishing people in same-sex relationships. These threats follow similar decisions that have been taken by a number of other donor countries against countries such as Uganda and Malawi. While the intention may well be to protect the rights of LGBTI people on the continent, the decision to cut aid disregards the role of the LGBTI and broader social justice movement on the continent and creates the real risk of a serious backlash against LGBTI people.

A vibrant social justice movement within African civil society is working to ensure the visibility of – and enjoyment of rights by – LGBTI people. This movement is made up of people from all walks of life, both identifying and non-identifying as part of the LGBTI community. It has been working through a number of strategies to entrench LGBTI issues into broader civil society issues, to shift the same-sex sexuality discourse from the morality debate to a human rights debate, and to build relationships with governments for greater protection of LGBTI people. These objectives cannot be met when donor countries threaten to withhold aid.

The imposition of donor sanctions may be one way of seeking to improve the human rights situation in a country but does not, in and of itself, result in the improved protection of the rights of LGBTI people. Donor sanctions are by their nature coercive and reinforce the disproportionate power dynamics between donor countries and recipients. They are often based on assumptions about African sexualities and the needs of African LGBTI people. They disregard the agency of African civil society movements and political leadership. They also tend, as has been evidenced in Malawi, to exacerbate the environment of intolerance in which political leadership scapegoat LGBTI people for donor sanctions in an attempt to retain and reinforce national state sovereignty.

Further, the sanctions sustain the divide between the LGBTI and the broader civil society movement. In a context of general human rights violations, where women are almost are vulnerable, or where health and food security are not guaranteed for anyone, singling out LGBTI issues emphasizes the idea that LGBTI rights are special rights and hierarchically more important than other rights. It also supports the commonly held notion that homosexuality is ‘unAfrican’ and a western-sponsored ‘idea’ and that countries like the UK will only act when ‘their interests’ have been threatened.

An effective response to the violations of the rights of LBGTI people has to be more nuanced than the mere imposition of donor sanctions. The history of colonialism and sexuality cannot be overlooked when seeking solutions to this issue. The colonial legacy of the British Empire in the form of laws that criminalize same-sex sex continues to serve as the legal foundation for the persecution of LGBTI people throughout the Commonwealth. In seeking solutions to the multi-faceted violations facing LGBTI people across Africa, old approaches and ways of engaging our continent have to be stopped. New ways of engaging that have the protection of human rights at their core have to recognize the importance of consulting the affected.

Furthermore, aid cuts also affect LGBTI people. Aid received from donor countries is often used to fund education, health and broader development. LGBTI people are part of the social fabric, and thus part of the population that benefit from the funding. A cut in aid will have an impact on everyone, and more so on the populations that are already vulnerable and whose access to health and other services are already limited, such as LGBTI people.,

To adequately address the human rights of LGBTI people in Africa, the undersigned social justice activists call on the British government to:

– Review its decision to cut aid to countries that do not protect LGBTI rights
– Expand its aid to community based and lead LGBTI programmes aimed at fostering dialogue and tolerance.
– Support national and regional human rights mechanisms to ensure the inclusiveness of LGBTI issues in their protective and promotional mandates
– Support the entrenchment of LGBTI issues into broader social justice issues through the financing of community lead and nationally owned projects

Contact Persons

Joel Gustave Nana, (French and English)
Executive Director
African Men for Sexual Health and Rights
Tel: +27735045420,

Hakima Abbas
Executive Director

Wanja Muguongo
UHAI- the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative
Tel: +254(020)2330050/ 8127535

Phumi Mtetwa

Sibongile Ndashe


1. Organizations

ActionAid (Liberia)

African Men for Sexual Health and Rights — AMSHeR (Regional)

AIDS Legal Network (South Africa)

AIDS Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (Sub-regional)

ARC EN CIEL + (Cote d’Ivoire)

Arc en Ciel d’Afrique (Canada)

Centre for Popular Education and human Rights – CEPEHRG (Ghana)

Coalition Against Homophobia in Ghana (Ghana)

Coalition of African Lesbians- CAL (Regional)

Engender (South Africa)

Evolve (Cameroon)

Face AIDS Ghana (Ghana)

Fahamu (Regional)

Freedom and Roam Uganda (Uganda)

Gay and Lesbian of Zimbabwe — GALZ (Zimbabwe)

Horizons Community Association (Rwanda)

House of Rainbow Fellowship — (Nigeria)

ICHANGE CI (Cote d’Ivoire)

Identity Magazine (Kenya)

IGLHRC Africa (Regional)

Ishtar MSM (Kenya)

Justice for Gay Africans (Diaspora)

LEGABIBO (Botswana)

Let Good Be Told In us (LGBTI) Nyanza and Western coalition of Kenya (Kenya)

Most at Risk Populations’ Society In Uganda (UGANDA)

Mouvement pour les Libertes Individuelles – MOLI (Burundi)

My Rights (Rwanda)

Network against violence, abuse, discrimination and stigma-Africa (Regional)

Nyanza and Western LGBTI Coalition of Kenya (Kenya)

Other Sheep Afrika (Kenya)

Outright Namibia

Pan Africa ILGA (Regional)

PEMA Kenya

Queer African Youth Center Network QAYN — (Sub-regional — West Africa)

Rainbow Candle Light (Burundi)

Reseau Camerounais des Personnes Vivant avec le VIH — Recap+ (Cameroon)

Riruta United Women Empowerment Programme (Kenya)

Si Jeunesse Savait (Democratic Republic of Congo)

South African National AIDS Council — LGBT sector

Spectrum Uganda Initiatives — (Uganda)

Stay Alive Self Help Group (Kenya)

Stop Aids In Liberia

The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER) – Nigeria

The International Center for Advocacy on the Rights to Health -ICARH (Nigeria)

The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (South Africa)

Together for Women’s Rights ASBL (Burundi)

Treatment Action Campaign (South Africa)

Triangle Project (South Africa)

UHAI-the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative (Sub-regional -East Africa)

Vision Spring Initiatives

West African Treatment Action Group (Sub-regional — West Africa)

Women Working with Women (Kenya)

Youth Focus (Uganda)

2. Individuals

Angus Parkinson (British Citizen, Kenyan Resident)

Anne Baraza (Kenya

Anthony Adero (Kenya)

Ayesha Imam (Nigeria)

Barbra Muruga (Kenya)

Bernedette Muthien (South Africa)

Blessed B Rwomushana(Uganda)

Blessol gathoni (Kenya)

Brian Kanyemba (Zimbabwe)

Carine Geoffrion (Ghana)

Carlos Idibouo (Cote d’Ivoire)

Charles Gueboguo (Cameroon)

Chesterfield Samba (Zimbabwe)

Christian Rumu — (Burundi)

Cynthia Ndikumana (Burundi)

Cyriaque Ako (Cote d’Ivoire)

Daniel Peter Onyango (Kenya)

Daniel Peter Onyango (Kenya)

Danilo da Silva (Mozambique)

Denis Nzioka (Kenya)

Desire Kavutse (Rwanda)

Douglas Masinde (Kenya)

Esther Adhiambo(Kenya)

Francoise Mukuku (DRC)

Friedel Dausab (Namibia)

Gabrielle Le Roux (South Africa)

Gathoni Blessol (Kenya)

Geogina Adhiambi (Kenya)

Hakima Abbas (UK/Egypt)

Hameeda Deedat (South Africa)

Happy Kinyili (Kenya)

Ifeany Orazulike (Nigeria)

Jacqueline N Mulucha (Uganda)

Jane Bennett (Cape Town)

Jayne Annot (South Africa)

Jessica Horn (Uganda/UK)

Joel Gustave Nana — (Cameroon)

Johanna Kehler (South Africa)

Joseph Sewedo Akoro (Nigeria)

Julius Kaggwa (Uganda)

Julius Kyaruzi (Tanzania)

Kamariza Sandrine (Burundi)

Kasha Jacqueline (Uganda)

Keguro Macharia (Kenya)

Kene Esom (Nigeria)

Kenne Mwikya

Korto Williams — Liberia

Lillian Kwagala (Uganda)

Linda Baumann (Namibia)

Lourence Misedah (Kenya)

Mariam Armisen (Burkina Faso)

Marieme Helie-Lucas (Algeria)

Mia Nikasimo (African Diaspora)

Mmapaseka Steve Letsike (South Africa)

Mombo Ngua (Kenya)

Mwangi Forsyth-Githahu (Kenya)

Ndifuna Ukwazi (South Africa)

Ndikumana Pierre Celestin (Rwanda)

Ngozi Nwosu — Juba (Nigeria)

Nguru Karugu (Kenya)

Nicholas Mutisya Muema (Kenya)

Nicole Khanali (Kenya)

Olivier Irogo (Cameroon)

Paden Edmund (Tanzania)

Peter Wanyama (Kenya)

Phumi Mtetwa (South Africa)

Pouline kimani,Udada kenya

Prof J Oloka-Onyango (Uganda)

Prof Sylvia Tamale (Uganda)

Rena Otieno (Kenya)

Rowland Jide Macaulay (Nigeria)

Samuel Ganafa (Uganda)

Samuel Matsikure (Zimbabwe)

Sandrine Kamariza (Burundi)

Sibongile Ndashe (South Africa)

Sokari Ekine (Nigeria)

Solomon Wambua

Sserwanga James (Uganda)

Stanley Muiga Wangari (Kenya)

Steave Nemande (Cameroon)

Stephen McGill (Liberia)

Thomas Mukasa (Uganda)

Tony Gatore (Burundi)

Wanja Muguongo (Kenya)

Wendy Isaack (South Africa)

Zawadi Nyong’o (Kenya)

Zeitun Mohamed Haret


  1. I agree!!!  

    The objective of the article however I feel is lost for me it comes across as the same old, same old. How can we ask the UK to review their age old power trip if we continually justify our dependency on them. Sokari you rightly talk of the agency of African civil society yet surely agency must entail the idea of self-sufficiency, how are we writing such powerful arguments in favour of the right of African social actors to be instrumental in their  own social change, and yet asking the UK to be just about cutting  aid. Surely as African’s we should be asking ourselves why are we dependent upon foreign aid for the funding of core institutions like education?

    If we are indeed that dependent upon UK aid then it must be the prerogative of the UK to cut aid when they feel their interests are not being advanced, especially in the day an age of European economic uncertainty. I think we as African’s are asking too much, we must pick one position and be consistent either we wish for the west to meddle in our social/political/economic affairs or we do not, the middle ground is not effective at all and I fear we could negate the very important issue of the protection of Human peoples be they LGBTI, Women and all.


  2. Sokari


    I agree with you totally on the need for self-sufficiency and to remove ourselves from the NGO / Aid dependency which has stifled the movement and resulted in complacency and lack of imagination. I am presently in Haiti where I have had the privilege on many occasions to witness women and others organizing without any involvement with the whole NGO dependency so I can say IT CAN BE DONE but takes a certain positional thinking and hard work. Many activists on the continent are of this mind and extremely concerned about this issue and are trying to think of news ways to move forward. However the British governments proposed policy is a somewhat different issue in that their stated reasons for withdrawing aid has serious implications for LGBTI persons and activists [as explained in the statement] whether they are self-sufficient aid dependent -[note the withdrawal of aid is to governments and not organisations] so that is the point of the statement. In other words if all LGBTI organising was self-sufficient the British policy would still have a negative impact.

  3. Hmm, I see, in that regard I can take the point. I am just extremely concerned with the idea of aid generally to Africa and fortunately I’m not the only one Dambisa Moyo aptly states her concerns for Aid to the third world, and I am won over by the notion that Africa should try a new approach. Let me know your thoughts…
    Please see 
    Aid is not the only answer to Third World problems: