Britain redirects Malawi aid, not tied to gays

Britain has clarified that it is not putting gay-rights strings to its development aid to Malawi, saying they are looking at human rights in general and also disclosed they have increased support to the country.

Head of the southern Africa section at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Aidan Liddle said London has not cut its aid to Malawi, but its redirecting it to the communities other than giving it to Capitol Hill.

“What we stopped doing is giving that aid to government as budgetary support,” explained Liddle on Friday during an interview with Capital FM on his visit to Malawi.

Liddle: UK increase aid to Malawi but directly support the people

He said Britain has switched the aid to NGOs and communities on “specific projects.”

“The aid that we give to Malawi goes directly to support the people,” he said.

Liddle said the UK support to Malawi has increased to about £90 million (about K24.1 billion) from around £75 million (about K20.1 billion).

He said the money is funding for subsidised fertiliser, drugs and the education sector which “directly benefit the people of Malawi.”

Liddle stressed: “We can’t allow people of Malawi to suffer.”

Asked on the threat by UK to cud aid to countries like Malawi which criminalises sexual orientation, Liddle explained: “Our aid is not tied to specific issue of homosexual rights. There is no link between the specific issue of homosexual rights and aid.”

He said the matter was “oversimplified”, saying London was looking at “overall human rights record” as well as economic performance and good governance.

“There is no link between specific issue of homosexual rights and development aid,” said Liddle.

On the issue of sending new High Commissioner to Malawi, the deportation of British High Commissioner Fergus Cochrane-Dyet in April, Liddle said the new would have to do the same things that Cochrane-Dyet was doing and earned him expulsion for criticising President Bingu wa Mutharika as being autocrat in a leaked cable.

He also pointed out that London never asked Malawi for an apology but “regret” for the decision to deport its envoy.

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