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Opinions: Uganda Anti-Gay Bill; Clinton’s Foreign Policy Speech; PEPFAR

Washington Post Editorial Voices Disapproval Of Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

A Washington Post editorial calles anti-gay legislation currently under consideration in Uganda “an atrocity.” The authors of the editorial write that under the legislation, “anyone convicted of ‘aggravated homosexuality,’ which could mean someone who is HIV-positive and is intimate with another person of the same sex, could ‘suffer death.'”

Though “[t]he United States and other nations have urged officials to shelve the bill. So far, their entreaties have fallen on deaf ears,” the editorial continues. “Perhaps at the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit opening Friday in Trinidad and Tobago, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who will chair the gathering, can be persuaded to listen to the growing international outrage. If Uganda approves the anti-homosexuality bill, it risks making itself a pariah among nations” (1/7).

New York Times Columnist Examines Sec. Clinton’s Speech On Development

In the New York Times’ blog, “On the Ground,” columnist Nicholas Kristof examines a speech delivered Wednesday by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on development. Though Clinton “has a longtime interest in poverty issues, and President Obama’s mother was a pioneer in microfinance, … so far the Obama administration hasn’t been particularly engaged in global poverty issues,” Kristof writes, pointing to the length of time it took to fill the USAID administrator position.

“In contrast, President Bush never seemed very interested in global poverty, but he left a quite impressive legacy there – with PEPFAR, the AIDS effort; the President’s Malaria Initiative; and his Millennium Challenge Corporation directing aid to countries with good governance. … So I hope Clinton’s speech, which hit all the right notes but didn’t unveil any specific new initiatives, marks an increased focus on these issues.” Kristoff concludes with the “hope” that the Obama administration will turn around USAID, which he says “is something of a mess, and has been for decades. It’s bureaucratic, lacks focus and doesn’t get respect at home or abroad” (1/6).

Foreign Policy Opinion Analyzes Sec. Clinton’s Speech

William Easterly, professor of economics at New York University, analyzes Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech on “the U.S. government’s new approach to economic development” in a Foreign Policy opinion. Easterly pulls out snippets of Clinton’s address, which he describes as “inconsistent with logic and evidence.” For example, Easterly highlights Clinton’s statement, “The challenges we face are numerous.  So we must be selective and strategic about where and how we get involved.” He goes on to write, “In the next sentence, this selective approach includes conflict, Afghanistan, Tanzania, poverty, human rights, community development, democracy, governance, global stability, U.S. security, U.S. values, and U.S. leadership.”

Easterly continues, “What to do about the strong political incentives to babble? Maybe a good politician like Secretary Clinton can babble and do occasional good things at the same time. Like maybe occasionally specialize a bit more in something that’s working – say, a few more resources for programs like that hand-washing program in India that prevented the spread of disease?” (1/6).

New Vision Opinion Asks: Is Uganda’s Government Ready For New Role Under PEPFAR?

Freddie Ssengooba, lecturer at the Makerere University School of Public Health, writes in a New Vision opinion about how PEPFAR influenced the relationship between NGOs and the Ugandan government and how these relationships will likely change in the future.

“Officials of the Uganda government were a marginalised stakeholder as they looked on in envy as international agencies and a few national NGOs become more powerful and expanded in uncoordinated fashion to spend the PEPFAR dollars …” Ssengooba writes. “The good news is that PEPFAR under President Obama, wants to fix these problems by handing the responsibility back to national governments, assist governments to take responsibility for sustaining the HIV programmes and contribute to rebuilding the weak health systems. But as a health systems researcher in Uganda, my euphoria ends here and great apprehension starts. Are our governments ready to get back into steering of HIV programmes?” Ssengooba asks (1/5).