Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s 76-year-old leader who has been in power since 1986, won another five-year term in the January 14 presidential election, writes Yanis Iqbal.
A video put together by Paul Benedek, seeking to expose the dangerous myths behind Invisible Children's viral film "Kony 2012". Is the focus on Kony justified? Should we support the Ugandan army? Will US intevention help? "Kony 2012": viral activism or viral imperialism?
Invisible Children's “KONY 2012” film, which supports US military intervention in Uganda and has gone viral on the internet, has caused widespread outrage in the central African nation, Al Jazeera said on March 14. The article pointed out that most Ugandans have been excluded from the “internet revolution”. It said this means most of the victims of Joseph Kony, on whose past crimes the film focuses, have never heard of the film ― or even YouTube.
Ugandan newspapers carried front-page reports in recent weeks from the highly respected Social Science Research Council of New York, accusing the Ugandan army of atrocities against civilians in Central African Republic while on a mission to fight Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The army denied the allegations. Many in the civilian population, especially in the north, were sceptical of the denial. Like all victims, they have long and enduring memories. See also:
Ugandan newspaper the Observer reported on March 2 serious allegations against Ugandan troops in the Central African Republic (CAR), where they have been present since 2007, chasing the remnants of the Ugandan militia, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The allegations include rape, child prostitution, arms dealing and the plunder of CAR’s timber and diamonds. Similar allegations have been made concerning the Ugandan army’s (the Uganda Peoples Defence Force, UPDF) 1997-2003 intervention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Observer said.
A telling quote in the film KONY 2012 says: “Who are you to stop a war? — the question is, who are you not to?” I think the question that the people behind KONY 2012, which went viral on the internet on March 7, need to be asked is: “Who are you to start one?” Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in eastern Africa, is a bad man. He should be held to account for his crimes. But we should be wary of any campaign that says the solution is to send in US troops to Uganda. And that is the take-home message from the campaign.
The Kony 2012 film, produced by the Invisible Children NGO, has gone viral over the internet. Viewed more than 14 million times, and widely hailed in the mainstream media, the film targets Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony for his crimes -- but backs forces in the Ugandan military guilty of similar crimes and supports US military intervention.
United States President Barack Obama announced on October 14 that he was sending US special forces troops to Uganda to join the civil war there. In the next few months, US combat troops will be sent to South Sudan, Congo and Central African Republic. They will only "engage" for "self-defence", says Obama, satirically. With Libya secured, a US invasion of the African continent is under way. Obama's decision is described in the press as "highly unusual" and "surprising", even "weird". It is none of these things. It is the logic of US foreign policy since 1945.
David Kato Kisule, described by The New York Times on January 28 as the father of Uganda’s lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender rights movement, was murdered in his home on January 26. Kato was advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda. The killing came as increasingly violent homophobic tensions continued to escalate in the east African nation. Kato, aged 46, was bludgeoned to death with two blows to the head from a hammer in his Kampala home. The attack was carried out by one or more male attackers.
A rising tide of homophobic aggression in Uganda has divided religious leaders. At the root of the problem, Western missionaries have been spreading anti-gay sentiment and dividing the community. Homosexuality has been illegal in Uganda since British colonisation in the late 19th century. However, many Ugandans trace the current crisis to March 5, 2009, when right-wing evangelical missionaries from the US held a three-day conference at the Triangle Hotel in Kampala.
Frank Mugisha, chair of the NGO Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMU), is no stranger to receiving threats because of his sexual orientation, a November 5 Amnesty International statement said. “But when a Ugandan tabloid published his personal details in October and called for him and others to be hanged for ‘recruiting children’”, the statement posted on Amnesty.org continued, “he knew there would be a struggle ahead — on the streets and in the courts”.