Kole North MP Samuel Opio, in his address to the assembly on Tuesday, described the recent European Parliamentary resolution on Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law as an attack on the country’s sovereignty status and added that such threats must be stopped.
Ugandan MPs protest threats by foreign powers against developing countries
Ugandan Members of Parliament (MP) taking part in the ongoing 63rd Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS)-European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels, Belgium, have denounced what they have called outright meddling and hybrid threats orchestrated by the Western world to the developing countries.
Opio said such blackmail threats by the Western world seek to undermine the sovereignty of developing states and called on fellow legislators to reject them.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola recently condemned Uganda's adoption of an anti-LGBTQ+ law. He said the law was deeply worrying and undermined human rights in Uganda.
The U.S. threatened aid cuts, sanctions, and visa restrictions for some Ugandan officials, while the European Union's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the bloc "regrets" the signing of the bill and that it would impact international partnerships.
The Ugandan MPs have since called against the Western blackmail and asked the Assembly to join Kampala in denouncing the threats.
"Sanctions that undermine sovereignty and that manifest as unconstitutional and Western Cultural pre-conditions for trade misinterpreted as human rights are hybrid threats, and we call upon the assembly to regard them as such and ask for the withdrawal of this resolution," Opio said.
He added, "The EU parliament condemned the Uganda parliament for passing the anti-homosexuality bill, calling for sanctions against the 389 MPs and religious leaders that instigated and supported the bill if signed into law, which has now been done. Isn’t this a form of hybrid threat undermining a country’s sovereignty and the democratic will of its people, who elected these MPs to represent them? An attack on the Ugandan MPs is therefore an attack on the Ugandan people who elected them! We applaud the 62 European Parliament MPs who voted against this resolution."
The EU Parliamentary Resolution called upon the EU Commission to consider withdrawing EBA (Everything but Arms) preference schemes, which would re-instate tariffs and quotas for Ugandan goods being exported to the EU, limiting market access.
The resolution also asked for a precondition for countries to decriminalise homosexuality in order to qualify for the tariff waivers.
"Isn’t this another hybrid threat in the form of economic pressure and economic blackmail intended to cause economic collapse? African values are not for sale, whether at wholesale price, retail price, or factory price," Opio added, denouncing the resolution that also called for extending financial support to grassroots LGBTIQ organisations based in countries that criminalise homosexuality and an EU fund to offer aid to these organisations to challenge these laws.
Opio also asked Western countries to desist from sponsoring non-state actors to destabilise African communities.
Political Non-Tariff Barriers
On his part, Sheema Municipality MP Dickson Kateshumbwa said that whereas the European Union remains Africa’s largest trading partner with about 26% of all imports, trade between blocs suffers from misalignment of trade policy priorities.
Kateshumwa said African exports continue to be dominated by primary commodities, particularly raw materials, oil, and minerals, leaving African economies vulnerable to global price shocks.
"Our raw exports imply the exportation of jobs decade after decade from Africa to Europe. There is no shared prosperity," he said, adding that pre-conditions set by the European Union as political Non-Tariff Barriers curtail more Foreign Direct Investment in Africa as well as make it harder for smaller firms to access the EU market.
"Requirements such as undertaking due diligence on undefined human rights and the environment are discouraging European companies from undertaking significant investments in value addition, especially in Agriculture in Africa," he said.
"The preferential trading arrangements in place are meaningless unless we need to break down these barriers. We for example have many Europeans living in Uganda and Africa, they enjoy our pineapples and avocados, and they don’t fall sick nor do they get vaccinated first, how come then that the same products freely access the EU market for your people sometimes are considered unsafe and must undergo extensive requirements."
He urged the assembly to consider widening the scope of human rights to include human economic rights, fair value, and fair trade.
The EU must support Africa to add value and industrialise; only then shall we improve our people’s social needs, leading to shared prosperity. Human rights without improved economic well-being are an incomplete story. Our partnership must result in shared prosperity between the EU and OACPS."
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