Smoke Screen: Uganda's Museveni Plays The Joseph Kony Card Once Again
Gen. Museveni-- no coincidence that he and Kony have both been around for 28 years
[Black Star Editorial]
Ugandans certainly want to see that Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, is brought to account for the atrocities committed by his army.
Yet, today, Ugandans have a pressing challenge; to dislodge the country's dictator of 28 years, Gen. Yoweri K. Museveni.
Ugandans must see the announcement by the U.S. that more military personnel and equipment is being deployed to "search" for Kony as a diversion. This only deflects attention from Gen. Museveni's own repressive and brutal regime. Kony is believed to be hiding in the Central African Republic with his greatly depleted army.
These "searches" have been announced in the past and Kony has never been eliminated -- if he could be disposed of, the focus would turn on Gen. Museveni's far worse atrocites. It's almost as if Gen. Museveni protects Kony; search for him but don't kill him.
Gen. Museveni needs a good PR-spin since he's been under much political heat lately.
Handing him the Kony card is the best gift he could dream of; provided Kony is not really eliminated of course. Without Kony, whom would Gen. Museveni use as the bogeyman? He would finally find himself staring at himself in the mirror.
The general is having a rough time.
Gen. Museveni's regime has faced several major corruption scandals in recent years and the U.K. has cut off aid, following the theft of millions of dollars sent to rehabilitate the formerly war-torn northern part of the country.
Gen. Museveni, hoping to shore up grass roots support recently signed the anti-Gay bill, which was condemned by the outside donor countries' whose support guarantees his survival. He's incited hatred and attacks against homosexuals or suspected homosexuals, by calling them "disgusting" purely for political reasons.
He knows that at the grass roots most people are un-educated about homosexuality and that by demonizing them he can win votes in the 2016 presidential election. A most cynical dictator.
In another move meant to improve his re-election chances, Gen. Museveni introduced a Public Order Management law, which bans the assembly of three or more Ugandans without prior police approval and permit. This Stalin-era type law is meant to tie the hands of legitimate political opposition parties and to crush any dissent.
Gen. Museveni uses Uganda's army, the Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) like his personnel army, launching invasions of neighboring countries without parliamentary approval. He has been involved in wars of resource plunder in which his army has engaged in massacres of civilians in foreign countries in almost every year since he seized power in 1986.
In December Gen. Museveni invaded South Sudan to take sides in a civil war. It's reported his army likely used cluster bombs, which are banned, and that's it's engaged in massacres of civilian supporters of former Vice President Riek Machar. Gen. Museveni is supporting beleaguered president Salva Kiir.
It was only in November 2013 that M23 Uganda's proxy army, which had invaded Congo, seized the city of Goma, and committed war crimes that were well-documented by Human Rights Watch, was finally defeated by a UN special intervention brigade.
This was not the first time that a Uganda and- Rwanda proxy army had committed war crimes in the Congo, while plundering from the country's immense wealth.
In 2005, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found Uganda liable for what would amount to war crimes in the Congo and awarded the country $10 billion in compensation. The Wall Street Journal reported on June 8, 2006 that Congo referred the same matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) which launched its own criminal investigation.
The Journal reported that president Museveni asked then U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to block the ICC investigation. So in essence Gen. Museveni is an un-indicted war criminal. An estimated seven million Congolese have died in the conflict launched during the multiple invasions of Congo, since 1996, by Uganda and Rwanda.
Why would the U.S. administration and military be aligned with such an individual who has a clear cut history of being involved in war crimes?
Yes, Kony must be brought to justice. But Gen. Museveni must also be stopped from inflicting further injustice and death on Ugandans and on neighboring African countries.
And he too, like Kony, should face justice.