Uganda Embassy To Milton Allimadi: Awareness with misinformation is very destructive.

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In the last ten years, the number of tourist who visits Uganda has grown to over a million. This is clear proof that Uganda is a free, safe and stable country worthy of visiting and doing business with. Reputation makers of ‘Kony 2012’ attempted to taint this with the lie that Uganda was still at
conflict with LRA still within.


 [Global: Africa] 

 
(Response
to March 22, 2012 article by Milton Allimadi, “WE MUST REJECT ‘KONY
2012’, THE PRO-AFRICOM” Propaganda in The Amsterdam News). 

 
Thank you Mr. Milton Allimadi for shedding some light on issues raised by the “Kony 2012” video and Uganda. 

However,
just as the attempt by the Invisible Children to bring awareness caused
massive damage than good especially to Uganda, your attempt to clarify
IC’s misinformation is highly misleading and brings many question to
right thinking Ugandans why one of Uganda’s enlightened sons of your
caliber should mislead the world the way you continue to do through your
publications, especially against the country.

One fact must be
clear; you can never equate Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army
to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Uganda President and Commander in
chief of the Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF). Joseph Kony raised a
band of blood thirsty rebels who went along committing atrocities
against their own people in Northern Uganda and now in the Central
African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Sudan for
now years. On the other hand, president Museveni is well known for
raising the most disciplined, professional and civilian friendliest army
in Uganda, well respected and admired in the region and
internationally.

Wherever UPDF have operated, the civilians are always safe, free and find them the friendliest force.

It
is a laughable assumption to think that President Museveni believes in
foreign intervention, right from his bush war times President Museveni has relied on locally raised support by local people as
opposed to use of  mercenaries to fight as freedom fighters. He led the
people's revolution with grass-root support from indigenous Ugandans to
liberate the country against dictatorial regimes. While open to foreign
assistance by friends and allies, like those offered by the United
States and the African Union led coalition to help in bringing an end to
the madness of Joseph Kony and his LRA, President Museveni has always
believed that African problems should be solved by Africans and that we
should always find homegrown solutions to our problems as Africans. 

This
should put your mind to rest with the assumption that President
Museveni is colluding with the United States to promote foreign interest
including schemes to sneak the U.S. Africa Military Command (AFRICOM)
onto the continent. Never!

President Museveni can never do that. He is a
pan Africanist who will not sell his own people in favor of Western or Capitalist Interest. On
the Internally Displaced Peoples’ Camps in Northern Uganda, allow me
clarify to you that the Acholi, the Lango, Teso and others who suffered
in the camps were not confined in the camps by Museveni, they went to
the camps to seek protection against the atrocities of the valiant
Lord’s Resistance Army who were killing people indiscriminately.
Abducting children and turning them into child soldiers, sex slaves and
carriers of their loots. Children used to walk from the villages to the
camps and town centers like Gulu, Lira, Kitgum, Oyam etc. to seek safety
in the nights in order to escape abductions by the LRA. 

The
night commuters are those who later became known as ‘Invisible
Children’, a trade name the makers of ‘Kony 2012’ now uses for their
Non-for-profit organization. It was not Museveni and the UPDF sending
the children to the camps or town centers.

The conditions in the
villages were just unbearable as the LRA were abducting, maiming, raping
and brutally killing people daily. The UPDF provided protection for the
people in the Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) Camps BUT in some
instances Kony’s soldiers fought through the military ranks and
massacred peoples even from the camps like the massacre incidences at
Atyak in Acholi, Bar Lonyo and Abia in Lango to mention but a few. Was
that Museveni and the UPDF killing people? NO!

True, camp life was hard,
some of us saw it first-hand. This is not inconsistent with any other
camp situation where populations are concentrated together with little
if any facilities at all. It became an emergency and humanitarian
crisis once described by a United Nations official who visited Kitgum at
the height of the crisis as the worse ever unreported humanitarian
crisis in the world. Health issues comes up, and yes it did had a great
toll on the people of Northern Uganda.

This was however aggravated by
Kony’s men who could come and burn down the camps killing people
indiscriminately and destroying the meager resources they had been given
by humanitarian agencies. Besides civilian deaths, Uganda lost so many
soldiers in the ranks of the Uganda People Defense Forces who were
deployed to fight against the LRA, this you cannot mention, yet so many
people, sons and daughters of Ugandans from all regions of the country
died in the hands of Joseph Kony and his LRA in the over 25 years’
war since his rebellion, madness and atrocities that has now moved out
of Uganda and sons of Ugandans in the Military continues to pursue and
suffer in the tough jungles of Central African Republic in a bid to
bring peace to the region. We must be fair.

Option has always been
given in designing strategies for combating the LRA, these includes
re-engagement option besides military and other options. But where is
Kony to be talked to? He has always abused such opportunities and wasted
both time and other resources. I don’t think he is such a person to be
trusted and whom you can negotiate with. President Museveni has always
given open hands to peace talks and negotiated not only with Joseph Kony
BUT also with many other rebel leaderships and factions since 1986.

Those who are sane and who were interested in peace and stability gave
in and have continued to work together with all Ugandans towards the
development and progress of the country. Kony on the other hand has
proved to be more elusive and unpredictable. So, the ICC issued an
arrest warrant to have him and some of his commanders arrested and
tried for war crimes and other crimes against humanity. It is no longer
Uganda’s sole problem BUT an international problem with international
concern that is why the United States have come in to assist, NOT by
going to combat but offering elite tactical assistance, surveillance
technology, other logistics and mobility to facilitate the operation to
combat the LRA and bring an end to human suffering associated with their
activities.

Finally it worth appreciating that the Ugandan Forces
whom President Museveni should be given credit for raising into the most
professional and disciplined force in the region has been and continue
to be involved in cross border and international mission to stabilize
the region on demand and the interest of ensuring a stable, peaceful,
free and prospering region. President Museveni has always believed that a
stable Uganda with unstable neighbor is not safe, besides it is inhuman
to see your neighbor suffering and you don't give a hand to help. This
is what drove Uganda to intervene in regional military mission to ensure stability.

Uganda’s
fight and partnership with the United State in the fight against terror
to ensure a safe world is commendable., In the 1990s, the United States
developed the Front Line States Initiative, in which Uganda, Ethiopia
and Eritrea were identified as linchpins in containing Sudan. These
states were provided "defensive, nonlethal military assistance" against
Sudan-backed insurgencies and Sudanese sponsorship of international
terrorism. 

The Uganda Military has been active in many
international peacekeeping missions with both the Africa Union and
United Nations. It has provided troops to many African Union
Peacekeeping missions along with providing civilian police for the
United Nations Peacekeeping missions.  

Uganda was among the many
African nations that have deployed troops as part of the Africa Union
Mission in Sudan, established in 2004 to provide for security and
peacekeeping in the Darfur region. The current leader of the Africa
Union Mission to Somalia, established on the 19th January 2007 to
provide security and peacekeeping in the region during the Somalian
Civil War, is a Ugandan General. Uganda has currently deployed over
15,000 troops in the region. Everywhere Ugandan forces has operated as
part of the missions described above, their record has been commendable,
very disciplined. 

Well, as someone noted, Mr. Allimadi you might
not be responsible for your articles especially against Uganda, the
United States and president Museveni on this site, but looking at the
ground rules on the site of this New York Amsterdam News, it states -
"be truthful". There are a number of gaps in your "story" where you fail
to meet the requirement of the ground rules. I wish you had the nerve
and guts to support the people of Uganda, understanding where Uganda is
from and the far she has come to a point where one can now move freely
both day and night anywhere in the country. 

Today Uganda is voted
the best tourist destination in Africa, Uganda continues to maintain its
top position as a tourism destination after it came third at the biggest
tourist exhibition in Germany recently. In the last ten years, the
number of tourist who visits Uganda has grown to over a million. This is
clear proof that Uganda is a free, safe and stable country worthy of visiting and doing business with. Reputation makers of ‘Kony 2012’
attempted to taint this with the lie that Uganda was still at 
conflict with LRA still within.

Throughout
history we have seen thousands of humans that think it is ok to get
away with using and sacrificing human life for their own ego and
personal gain. Let's be counted among those who will resist the
temptation to be used for evil and pursue good in all we do.  

For God and my country -God bless Uganda!


Milton Allimadi responds: My column, shown below, speaks for itself. You will notice that the embassy did not address any of the serious issues including: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) finding Uganda liable for war crimes in Congo, where an estimated over six million Congolese perished after Uganda occupied Congo from 1997 to 2003; and, The Wall Street Journal's June 8, 2006 article revealing that Gen. Museveni personally contacted then U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and urged him to block an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation of the same alleged Uganda crimes in Congo; and, the racist comments made by Gen. Museveni and published in The Atlantic Monthly, in September 1994.


[Op-Ed]
 
We Must Reject KONY2012 The Pro-AFRICOM Propaganda

 
By Milton Allimadi
 
KONY2012, the viral film viewed by more than 80 million people, is destructive propaganda. 
Invisible Children (IC), the San Diego-based organization that made the film may have once wanted to publicize the plight of children caught in Uganda's conflicts. But IC has been co-opted by Uganda's dictator Yoweri K. Museveni and the United States whose goal is to sneak the U.S. Africa Military Command (AFRICOM) on the continent to check China's growing influence.
IC's film is a cinematic coup. Even Dr. Joseph Goebbels' and Leni Riefenstahl would have been proud. The overwhelmingly powerful film uses the best tear-jerk techniques and exploits images of children in the U.S. and in Uganda. KONY2012 presents half-truths.  It correctly denounces Joseph Kony, leader of the brutal Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). But it omits the even larger role played by Gen. Museveni in the bloodshed. 
By offering the Ugandan army, and militarism, as a solution, KONY2012 exonerates the Ugandan regime which is allied with the U.S. This sets up the groundwork for the solution offered by KONY2012; which is to send more U.S. armed forces to fight side-by-side with Museveni against Kony. A preposterous proposal based on half-truths and falsehoods. 
The Ugandan army has committed gross human rights abuses in both Uganda and in neighboring Congo. Six million Congolese died after Uganda occupied that country's mineral and oil rich Ituri region, from 1997 to 2003. During that time, Heritage Oil company was exploring in Ituri, according to Human Rights Watch. The U.S. was aware that its ally Gen. Museveni was committing genocide on behalf of oil interests. 
In 2005 The International Court of Justice (ICJ) found Uganda liable for the Congo crimes. The court awarded Congo $10 billion in reparations. Uganda's army plundered Congo's wealth and committed: mass rapes of both women and men; disemboweled pregnant women; burned people inside their homes alive; and, massacred innocents. When Congo referred the same crimes to be investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which can indict individuals for war crimes, Gen. Museveni personally contacted then U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and urged him to block the investigation according to an article in The Wall Street Journal on June 8, 2006. 
Most major corporate media, including The New York Times and CNN have ignored these atrocities thereby allowing Gen. Museveni to operate with impunity.  
In Uganda itself Gen. Museveni's army massacred civilians in Uganda's Acholi region during its war with Joseph Kony.  The Museveni regime also confined the entire Acholi population of 2 million into what was officially called Internally Displaced People's Camps (IDPs). These were concentration camps --squalid, with no sanitation or medical facilities and lacking sufficient food and hydration. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that there were more than 1,000 excess deaths per week in these camps. The camps lasted 20 years; so 1 million Acholis may have perished.
Why does KONY2012, which has been endorsed by the U.S. administration, only target Joseph Kony while sparing Gen. Museveni? Because the U.S. needs the existence of a bogeyman such as Kony to justify its broader agenda, which is to impose AFRICOM on Africa. The U.S. wants to counter resource-hungry China by having boots on the ground. In recent years there have been significant oil finds in the northern part of Uganda, in South Sudan, in Congo's region bordering Lake Albert, and in the Central African Republic.   
Since everyone knows about Kony's atrocities, who would object if the U.S. started off by sending 100 U.S. "advisers" to Uganda, as it did a few months ago, purportedly to help fight Kony? This is a brilliantly devious maneuver. It's likely that there are many more U.S. troops in the region than the announced figures. The Associated Press reports that U.S. troops are now deployed in Uganda, South Sudan, Congo and the Central African Republic. Meanwhile, according to media reports, Ugandan troops are once again committing atrocities, this time in the Central African Republic; raping women and looting resources, including diamond.
So Washington, using Gen. Museveni and Invisible Children, has brought AFRICOM to Africa through a back door. People who love the continent must denounce this deployment and demand that U.S. troops pull out of Africa. 
Gen. Museveni welcomes such deployment of American troops alongside his own discredited Army. It legitimizes his dictatorship and diverts from the fact that he's stolen the last three presidential elections in Uganda and that he's been in office for 26 years. When he visited Ghana in 2009, President Obama denounced African dictators. Now the U.S. has embraced Uganda's brutal Museveni. 
Yet the people and leadership in Acholi region, which bore the brunt of the war between Kony and Gen. Museveni, reject militarism. Members of parliament and religious leaders from the region, such as Archbishop John Baptist Odama and Bishop MacLeord Baker Ochola II, want a resumption of peace talks. These were abandoned in December 2008, when the Ugandan army, supported by the outgoing Bush administration, attacked the LRA's camps in Congo with helicopters and planes. The LRA had assembled as part of the negotiations. After that U.S.-backed attack, the LRA scattered all the way to Central Africa. So the LRA is not even in Uganda today; this is another crucial fact disingenuously omitted by KONY2012. 
It's a shame that the U.S. administration would use Gen. Museveni and Invisible Children's KONY2012 to mask Washington's true designs on the region. Sadly, the U.S. has a long history of working with brutal leaders who are destructive to Africa's interest. In the past, it was Mobuttu Sese Seko, in what was then Zaire. Gen. Museveni has been a close U.S. ally since he made bizarre remarks published in September 1994, in The Atlantic Monthly Magazine. The Ugandan dictator told the magazine: “I have never blamed the whites for colonizing Africa: I have never blamed these whites for taking slaves. If you are stupid, you should be taken a slave.”  
Now the dictator seems determined to facilitate the re-colonization of Africa.
In recent days media have reported that Jason Russell, the maker of KONY2012 suffered a personal meltdown, with peculiar public actions on the streets. It's possible that Russell may be having second thoughts following the criticism of Invisible Children for participating in the Ugandan and U.S. government's propaganda campaign to pave the way for AFRICOM in Africa.   
Two other such so-called non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Resolve, led by Mike Poffenberger and The Enough Project, led by John Prendergast, have been promoting militarization and war in Africa. Both are fronts for Western business interests on the continent. The Ugandan debacle must be a lesson to all so-called non-governmental organizations like IC to either let Africans take the lead when they go to the continent or to stay out of Africa completely.  
Invisible Children must do the right thing and apologize for presenting half-truths. It must help undo the damage done by KONY2012 by making a new film.  It must use its marketing skills to present a documentary that shows the role that both Gen. Museveni and Kony have played in the Ugandan calamity. 
The new film must reject militarism and call on the millions of new viewers to demand that both Gen. Museveni and Joseph Kony come to the negotiating table to bring to an end their bloody and destructive war of 26 years. At the end of the day, both men deserve arrest and prosecution by the ICC.

 

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