A Museveni Agent Incites Hatred Of Acholis

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....even when innocent civilians were being murdered, maimed, raped, abducted, forcefully conscripted, bombed, and forced into the concentration camps; Acholi bore responsibility to provide “their kith and kin” protection.

[Global: Africa Commentary]

Arguably, it is not far- fetched to say that, the Museveni regime has one of the most highly educated cabinets and “presidential assistants” in Africa.

But alas, what comes out of the mouths and pens of these presidential appointees amounts to intellectual dishonesty girdled by the wisdom of “for god and my stomach” as opposed to the national motto of “for god and my country.”

A typical manifestation of this form of stand-up political comedy is the recent ramblings, “Acholi should be humble and learn to live peacefully with other Ugandans,” penned by Richard Todwong to humor Yoweri  Museveni and published in the government mouthpiece, New Vision, New Vision on July 6.

If anything, such writing, in this case by the “special presidential adviser on northern Uganda affairs,” demonstrates that an endemic naiveté not only persists in contemporary modern spin but goes deeper into an almost pathological denial of everyday realities. 

Todwong is an obsequious sycophant per excellence; gleefully imagining himself strutting the mass media stage like an intellectual and political colossus, with all the confidence of one who has thoroughly learnt his lines, and fervently hopeful for the applause and adulation that he believes such a performance deserves. He plays to a gallery beyond the impoverished masses in the northern part of Uganda. And his mission is all-consuming.

 “It is arrogant for us to assert that what we say and do must be copied by others without question,” he proclaims, abrogating for himself the right to speak for Uganda’s Acholis, without disclosing from where he draws his mandate.

He adds that: “The Acholi should avoid the temptation of fighting to remove President Yoweri Museveni from power before the Acholi question is addressed. This is a task that Mao, Otunnu and others should help bring to the political scene.” 

The reference to Mao is to the Gulu District Chairman; Olara Otunnu is a former Uganda foreign affairs minister and former Under Secretary General of the United Nations.

Clearly, such utterances not only personify the precarious position that the Acholi people have found themselves in over the last 23 years of dehumanization; but equally explains how Museveni is being held hostage by his columns of advisors at the expense of the country; which is unlikely to change soon, than get worse.

It is true that power is sweet and intoxicating and equally misleading and destructive; otherwise how could Todwong reach the conclusion that “Acholi need to desist fighting Museveni”? 

Acholi have always been victims under Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) regime; it was always said that the task of ending the NRM-LRA war and bringing peace to Acholi was “an Acholi” and not a national government affair; even when innocent civilians were being murdered, maimed, raped, abducted, forcefully conscripted, bombed, and forced into the concentration camps; Acholi bore responsibility to provide “their kith and kin” protection. 

It is true that Acholi individuals have played pivotal roles in the running of governments (past and present); while others have equally played key roles in their downfall. There can be no question that the relative semblance of normalcy (not peace) that currently prevails in the Acholi sub-region must be guarded jealously, and any talk of rebellion in the offing must be condemned and dismissed with the contempt it deserves. 

Todwong’s opinion seems intended to incite and generate contempt for the suffering people of Acholi; which is disgraceful and should equally be dismissed with all the contempt it deserves. 

There is no doubt that he is passionately driven to do whatever it takes to make his delusions fit neatly into the lies and manipulations so prevalent on the Uganda “Military-multi party” politico scene.

Coupled with the determination to have a piece of Museveni’s "divine blessing", Todwong harbours an egotistical vision that is partly driven by an intense obsession with the illusion of being “a presidential assistant.” In this role, all truth must be put through the filter and clustered into centres of self-importance and delusions of grandeur, where any grains of truth are plucked from their original hypothesis and reinvented according to the inner mechanism of "feeding the need."

This is what happens when sycophants become the chief’s councillors; the state is always bound to be eaten up in a feast at the convocation of political errand-boys, scavengers, cannibals and vultures. 

Lastly, the victors of the Luwero war have always preached to Ugandans that those Acholi who were in the army “were an illiterate and backward lot”, which means they didn’t know how to read and write. In which case which “Acholi illiterate” etched the writings “Remember Okello from Kitgum,” or “Okerwa from Gulu” on the walls of government administrative buildings.

No self-respecting Acholi is interested in shooing Todwong off the carcass of the state that he and his colleagues are so busy pecking for crumbs. So he must stop trying to incite the people of Uganda against the Acholi, whom the state has for the last 23 years left to the mercy of God, the charity of international well-wishers, and their tenacity to survive against all odds.

However, Todwong is well advised to inform his masters the truth: Acholi as a people have never fought any government. Moreover, they have not historically fought without a clear lapii (casus bellis). But should people like Todwong impose a lapii on the Acholi, they –the Todwongs and their henchmen- will not have the time and frame of mind, to write about it.

The writer is a human rights advocate and can be reached at olarasamuel@hotmail.com

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