Can you say “conflict of interest”?

Bill Gates, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has donated many millions of dollars to the fight against AIDS, particularly in third-world countries.

In a recent interview, Gates expounds upon the proposed law that the Ugandan government is considering:

“There’s a tendency to think in the U.S. just because a law says something that it’s a big deal. In Africa if you want to talk about how to save lives, it’s not just laws that count. There’s a stigma no matter what that law says, for sex workers, men having sex with men, that’s always been a problem for AIDS. It relates to groups that aren’t that visible. AIDS itself is subject to incredible stigma. Open involvement is a helpful thing. I wouldn’t overly focus on that. In terms of how many people are dying in Africa, it’s not about the law on the books; it’s about getting the message out and the new tools.” (emphasis mine)

It is already illegal to perform homosexual acts in Uganda, but the proposed law would dictate

  • death for gays who HIV positive
  • 3 years of prison for anyone who witnesses homosexual activity that doesn’t report it to law enforcement
  • 7 years of prison for anyone who supports or promotes homosexuality
  • life imprisonment for committing a homosexual act

Just what the hell should we focus on, Bill? That sounds like a pretty goddamned big deal to me.

P.S. Microsoft has a “big deal” going with the Ugandan government. Sounds like Bill doesn’t want to upset any apple carts. Or multi-million dollar deals.

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6 comments on “Can you say “conflict of interest”?

  1. David Marjanović says:

    “Microsoft helps Ugandan government with technology in education”… in the long run, that ought to help.

  2. “Helping with technology in education” is code for getting to customers while they’re young. It’s just a marketing ploy.

    It’s not a big deal until they enforce the law. We’ll see what Bill has to say then about his support of the Ugandan government.

  3. mingfrommongo: “It’s not a big deal until they enforce the law.”

    I dunno. If the U.S. enacted a law that would cause thieves to lose a hand, there’d be hell raised whether it was enforced or n…
    Wait. Doesn’t Saudi Arabia have that law now?

  4. I should have said “It won’t be a big deal for Bill Gates until they enforce the law.” My opinion is not “no big deal.”

    Also, your statement can be edited to “If the U.S. enacted a law, there’d be hell raised.” That’s the great thing about free speech.

  5. Name says:

    So a person that donates millions to charity and is associated with a company that is investing in education in a country that is seriously lacking in that department…

    is the person you are calling out for conflict of interest?

    Not to mention you seem to have completley misunderstoof you first emphasis, and the second is perfectly rational. Its education which removes the stigma around AIDS. Only once that is dealt with can proper laws be put in place.

    Seems to me like he is on the right track. What the hell would you have him do?

  6. [...] the anti-homosexuality law going down in Uganda? You remember how anti-gay religious wackaloons stirred up the homophobia in [...]

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