By Hama Tuma
To avoid any possible misunderstanding, let me start out by stating that Joseph Kony, the notorious leader of the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) , the relative of the equally infamous self declared witch Alice Lakwena ( frequented by many top Kenyan officials in Nairobi) is no joke at all. He is one who should not be taken lightly. For twenty years, he had led a rebellion against Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni, committed atrocities. Kidnapped children, chopped off ears, noses and lips, and, notwithstanding those foreigners who say he has no program at all, he did plan to set up different system in Uganda with, perhaps, himself as the top prophet.
The group called Invisible Children that uploaded the film called Kony 2012 is also no joke at all. Their film on Kony was seen by millions in just 48 hours and the group raised $ 5 million in the process. The group claims the money raised would be used for positive construction work and projects in Northern Uganda (where Kony’s rebel operate) even though last year the group raised $8.6 million and used only 32% of the fund for services in Northern Uganda. The white man as the savior is a worn out and threadbare theme—money is the issue and so called charity organizations who claim to wail for us clean their crocodile tears with lots of dollars ostensibly raised to help us Africans. The Kony 2012 film has caught the attention of millions though it is superficial and glosses over the real problems of Uganda. Invisible Children NGO or Co calls for and backs American military intervention in Uganda. Obama has obliged sending a hundred Special Forces operatives to assist the Uganda army (Africa Command officers were in Uganda before). Museveni’s regime is an ally of Washington in the so called war against terror, it is presently in Mogadishu trying to fulfill America’s bidding (as is Meles Zenawi). Hence, American military presence in Uganda or any other African country for that matter does not augur well for the continent even though there are naïve African souls sleeping what Senghor called “ the great sleep of the negro” and dreaming of an American modern cavalry saving Africa. In your dreams! A coterie of Hollywood actors/stars have also joined the fray and are calking on all of us to make Kony famous so that he comes infamous and gets “taken down” not only by Angelina Jolie (who seems to think real life is a movie when she declared if left alone with Kony in a room she would take down this person—“I hate him” is what she said–) but by the big power America. Such oversimplification of the Ugandan problem or the Kony dilemma has helped the Invisible Children group to pander to sentiments and to raise money but will not help an iota in finishing off the Kony problem which is actually a Ugandan political problem.
Advocating for American military intervention in support of the Ugandan regime is more than wrong. The Uganda regime has been continuously accused of violating the human rights of the citizens, the last February general election was a fraud with Museveni violating the Constitution to run for the third time, opposition leaders are continuously repressed, the Uganda army conducting operations in the Central African Republic has been accused of atrocities against civilians. This is the army that the Invisible Children group and its Hollywood cabal want to get American military help and assistance. Here is the fact that those in the know tell us to heed:
“The adult population recalls the brutal government-directed counterinsurgency campaign, beginning in 1986, which evolved into Operation North, the first big operation in the country that people talk about as massively destructive for civilians, and which created the conditions that gave rise to the LRA of Joseph Kony and, before it, the Holy Spirit Movement of Alice Lakwena. Young adults recall the time from the mid-1990s when most rural residents of the three Acholi districts were forcibly interned in camps. The Ugandan government claimed it was to “protect” them from the LRA. But there were allegations of murder, bombings, and the burnings of entire villages: first to force people into the camps, and then to force them to stay put. By 2005, the camp population grew from a few hundred thousand to over 1.8 million in the entire region – which included Teso and Lango – of which over a million were from the three Acholi districts. Comprising practically the entire rural population of the three Acholi districts, they were expected to live on handouts from relief agencies. According to the government’s own Ministry of Health, the excess mortality rate in these camps was approximately 1,000 persons per week – inviting comparisons with the numbers killed by the LRA even in the worst year”. Museveni refused to sign an Amnesty Bill proposed by his own parliament. Instead, Museveni and his allies resorted to Washington’s main poodle called Luis Moreno Ocampo of the ICC and had Kony and the LRA leadership charged with crimes against humanity.
One would imagine that genocidal criminals like Bush and Blair, Kissinger and Nguema, Meles Zenawi and Deby would be on the list of the ICC. No chance. The ICC list is one to be accused of racism even. Check it:
Bashir Abu Garda, Mohamed Ali, Abadella Banda,Omar Bashir, Jean Pierre Bemba, Muamar Gadafi, Saif al Islam Gadafi,Laurent Gbagbo, Ahmed Haroum, Uhuru Kenyatta, Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti (LRA),Thomas Lubanga, William Ruto, and many more Africans. No Anglo Saxons, no pro Washington criminals and murderers. Only fools expect that all these things happen haphazardly, by accident, by luck. Uganda has discovered oil and made a deal with Tallow oil recently—this has a lot to do with American interest in Uganda. Eastern Congolese are dying in their millions for coltan, gold and other minerals. As of recently, independent South Sudan is important because of its petrol and land. The ICC indicts Kony and not the Ugandan army or government because who pays the piper does not say objectivity or fairness. Why all the hue and cry around Kony now after so many years of his barbaric rampage and when he is weak and on the verge of collapse? The demonization of Kony with his ragtag army is at best a diversion while the rebellion and overall dissatisfaction in Uganda is a serious political Ugandan problem. It is about oil and money, about land and corruption, about tyranny and ethnic grievances. The Invisible Children group’s call for American intervention and all out support to the Museveni regime, by demonizing a rather weakened Kony and LRA, is not the right call at all. Once again Westerners are playing cynical games with our misery and fate. May the demise of Kony be soon but, more importantly, may the end of the anti democratic regime of Museveni be soon and the solutions to the basic political problems of Uganda an actuality. In the meanwhile, Invisible Children will for sure make millions with the help of its U tube, American chauvinists, actors, the ICC and duped African fellow travelers.