George Bush, Museveni, Tyrannny, And Africa's Misery

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[International: Africa News Update]

Before looking into the bizarre relationship between President Bush and President Museveni of Uganda.

At this time when Africa is struggling to retain its dignity and shunning foreign influence, we have to note today's announcement that the American General William E. Ward and his 1,300 military and civilian personnel, nominated by Bush to overlord Africa in the name of Africom, is to have his command post structured in Europe and in, of all places, the German city of Stuttgart.

General William E. Ward, Africa's New U.S. Overlord?
Then we have to ask why Uganda today has been converted into a virtual large aircraft carrier from which all types of military and "humanitarian" missions are launched into central and eastern Africa. In addition to Entebbe air base, which is now one of the best equipped and supplied on the African continent, several other military installations exist in Uganda that house Special Forces units and other US  Army personnel.

The answer, of course, is that we have to accept for better or worse that the USA has nominated itself as the world's policeman and needs other military activists as partners. President Museveni of Uganda fills that role. No others, except Liberia, have shown interest in playing host to the Africom HQ. All other major countries in Africa, including South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria, have refused either to host Africom or provide permanent military bases for US troops. The Museveni government, however, is a military dictatorship that has been at war in adjoining states and engaged in internal fighting from the day it took power: a jewel in the US Pentagon planning with a well established CIA structure existing amongst the seven hills of Uganda's city of Kampala. This was made clear last year with the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, meeting the leaders of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to discuss the present conflicts in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa and the Sudan.

She made it clear that Uganda's president was the real power in the region This we have seen with his entire army secretly invading Rwanda, years of battle operations in the Southern Sudan, invasion of the Democratic Republic of Congo and fighting against his own people within the North and East Uganda. Year after year, month in month out, we have been receiving reports such as the one in the London 'Times' of the  14th November 2007 that more than 1.5 million people were herded into camps by the Ugandan Army. Some were beaten, raped and killed; many more fell ill and died from unsanitary conditions. In the worst period, fatalities peaked at 1,000 a week.

Jendayi E. Frazer Ignores The Mountains of Corpses
Yet this week Bushrefers to President Yoweri Museveni  as a leader of strength who has helped to solve conflicts in Africa giving as an example the present murderous battles being inflicted on the suffering Somalis by Uganda troops whose invasion was without a just cause and was made at the very time Somalia had found its own democratic peace. We saw the uniformed President of Uganda in a state of rapture as he waved to his troops bound for the Somali killing grounds. It mattered little to him that the rest of Africa except Ethiopia had scorned the hyped and ill-informed analysis by Jendayi E. Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and that Resolution 1725 on Somalia has all the markings of US strong arm tactics, double standards, domination and manipulation, something all good leaders of today's Africa resist. Frazer admits she has a good friend in the Uganda President: the Pentagon is untroubled by the consequent suffering of the Uganda masses.

We have over the last two weeks been watching an event "Out of Somalia." It reminds me of the old Hollywood  Keystone Cops when one looks at the mighty American fleet unable to dislodge a handful of Somali pirates who have seized the Ukraine MV, commanded by Captain Viktor Nikolsky, loaded with thirty million dollars worth of killing weapons which included thirty Russian T.72 tanks, grenade launchers, anti air craft guns and tons of ammunition, all destined to add to the misery of Africa and no doubt to enforce killings over the modern conquest for oil within the Sudan, supported by Museveni of Uganda.

So we have to ask ourselves why Bush defends Museveni despite his terrible record of violence while even international aid donors, who for years hailed him as part of a "new breed" of African leaders, have become increasingly impatient with his handling of corruption and the slow progress of political transition in the country. These failures are continually being emphasized by the United Nations where the looting of DR Congo's natural resources has been squarely placed on the shoulders of the Uganda military. To prove their case against him the U.N. referred to the discrepancy between the two countries' mining resources and their exports.

For example, Uganda exported six tonnes of gold in the past few years whereas its national production is always negligible.  Then the World Court ruled that the Museveni regime violated human rights. Bush has paid no attention to this ruling which read: "The United Nations' highest court, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, holds Uganda responsible for the killing, torture and cruel treatment of civilians in Congo and ordered reparations. It dismissed Uganda's claims of self-defense and called its actions an "unlawful military intervention" and interference in Congo's internal affairs. For Bush to be blind to the real problems of Uganda and the misery in which its people are now living can only be that he needs such a dictator because of the oil in Uganda's northern neighbour, the Sudan, and Museveni has certainly been consistent in his support of U.S. policy and designs.

Since his rise to political power in Uganda in 1986, the country has served as a principle staging area for logistical and humanitarian support for the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement and Operation Lifeline Sudan, the UN's humanitarian relief efforts to the people of southern Sudan. In a revealing statement made during a banquet in Uganda's capital, Kampala, President Museveni admitted his government had actively supported the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, a longtime U.S. client organization, in its fight against the Sudan government where millions have died as the result of internal war. Furthermore he has visited and met with members of the autonomous Southern Sudan government in Juba without notifying the national government in Khartoum. Sudanese national leaders denounced this act as a deliberate provocation, saying: "We are still one country."

Violence Yesterday, Violence Today, Violence Forever
Looking back over Museveni's career it is fair to say that as a young man, when I knew him, he was a warrior against corruption but he and his close "comrades" were never friends of liberty. He scorns the rule of law, shuns due process and is always willing to run roughshod over people's rights.

He believes in violence as a legitimate means to bring about "revolutionary" political change and in using the army as an important pillar of political power. At the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, Museveni wrote a bachelor's thesis, of which I have a copy, defending Frantz Fanon's calls for the use of violence.

Both before and since becoming president the themes of violence and military action  have played central roles in his speeches and writings. His people have been degraded to a peasant society and have lost the dignity that was the envy of the continent. He is the "lap dog" of America and nothing is going to change except Ugandans will become poorer and have their hopes blocked by the continuing self-serving praise of his presidency by a few powerful people in that country.

Astles was a former advisor to dictator Idi Amin Dada; it's believed that the main character in the film "Last King of Scotland" was fsashioned after his life

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