Uganda: Time For Museveni To Go
United States must not support Gen. Museveni as he turns his U.S.- supplied weapons against his own people.
[Black Star News Editorial]
In Uganda the writing is on the wall.
What started as a simple act of protest by Ugandans --walking to work as reaction to soaring fuel and food prices-- has mushroomed into national country-wide resistance after the regime reacted with violence, including shooting and wounding on the hand of top opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye in Kampala, today.
Other protests around the country have reportedly been violently stamped down by the army with reports of running battles in the town of Gulu where soldiers are said to have arrested an opposition leader Nobert Mao and indiscriminately fired into protest marchers. After stealing Uganda's Feb. 18 presidential election, and receiving quick endorsement of the fraud by the United States, Uganda's dictator, general Yoweri K. Museveni now faces an Egypt style uprising.
Ever paranoid --and justifiably so-- Gen. Museveni had barred local carriers from relaying any text messages sent within Uganda that contained words such as "Tunisia," "Egypt," and "Tahrir Square." Using creative spelling --perhaps Ee-jeep for Egypt-- Ugandans have clearly been able to get the message out. In any event, Ugandans don't need prompting from Egypt to excercise their most basic humanrights--the freedom of expression, and opposition to tyranny.
Why does the United States back dictator Museveni?
Uganda is the only African country that's provided a sizable army,of 8,000 troops, to prop the discredited and unpopular government in Somalia, on behalf of the United States, which fears that war-torn country could become a haven for Al-Qaeda.
For that reason, the U.S. has handed a blank check to Gen. Museveni for years.
In 2005, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found Uganda liable of war crimes against Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) --massacres, mass targeted rapes of women and men, mutiliations, burning of people alive in their homes, and thefts of mineral and natural resource wealth.
The court ordered $10 billion in compensation to the Congo. The International Criminal Court (ICC) also launched its own criminal investigation but Gen. Museveni may have cut a deal with the Court's compromised prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo. Gen. Museveni and other top Uganda military commanders involved in the Congo atrocities have never been indicted. (Ironically, Ocampo, ever the publicity hound, has been quick to announce an investigation of Libya's Muammar al-Quathafi; meanwhile, he's ignored the atrocities by Museveni's army--5 million Congolese died as a result of Museveni's invasion of the DRC).
In the runup to Uganda's elections, Secretary of State Clinton issued two Congressionally-mandated reports, instead of the four she was required to prepare. Still, Clinton's report condemned the Gen. Museveni government for abuses against opposition party members, including a reported assassination attempt against presidential candidate Olara Otunnu, beating of presidential candidate Dr. Besigye, attacks against opposition party members, barring of the opposition from media and disrupting their campaigns, and the hand selection of the Election "commission" by Gen. Museveni with no input from the opposition or civil society groups.
Clinton said the credibility of the elections, given the partisan pro-Museveni commission, would be compromised. She was supposed to issue two more reports, including one on March 18, 30 days after the vote. In an apparent political deal with the dictator, no report has been issued thus far.
Clinton's predictions in her two reports however were realized on Feb. 18. Museveni had "won" 69% of the vote in disputed elections 10 years ago; he "won" 59% in 2006; many observers saw him winning less than 50% this time around, which would have forced the vote into a runoff. Since the opposition parties were to have then rallied behind one candidate, it was critical for Museveni to award himself more than 50% of the vote.
One day before the vote count of the Feb. 18 election, The Black Star News published the rigged results, provided through a government insider, which claimed Gen. Museveni would win by 67.2%. After the vote "count" the official margin provided to Gen. Museveni was 68% of the vote.
The Commonwealth Observer group derided the election results as did the EU. Yet the United States was quick to endorse the Uganda farce. Many Ugandans believe Dr. Besigye was the actual winner.
Now U.S. credibility is again on the line as it preaches "democracy" elsewhere in Africa, including in Libya, while sustaining a violent despot in east Africa. This is the time for the United States to make it clear it no longer supports Gen. Museveni as he turns his U.S. supplied weapons against his own people.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."
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