Invisible Children's Propaganda For Gen. Museveni Has Prolonged Uganda Calamity

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[Global: Op-Ed]

For the past three
weeks, I have been receiving questions from all over North America and
Europe asking about Invisible Children's invitation to Diaspora Ugandans
for a meeting. One constant inquiry was why Ugandans were getting this
invitation from third and fourth parties, and not from the Acholi
community in San Diego, the city of the Invisible Children (IC) world
On the advice of the members of Acholi community
in San Diego, and in consultation with Ugandans in San Diego, Los
Angeles, New York, Boston, Seattle, Toronto, London, Copenhagen,
Stockholm, Kampala, Gulu, Johannesburg, and Washington, DC, I am writing
to you to state the following: 
The Acholi community in
southern California find no possible reason to talk to the
Invisible Children
at this
time. We have been trying for the last eight years to work
collaboratively with IC to tell the world the true story of the
humanitarian catastrophes occurring in Acholiland and elsewhere. 
IC has not only effectively avoided us, but on the several occasions
when we did meet with their founders, they mocked our efforts to inform
the world about what the NRM dictatorship in Uganda under Lt. General
Yoweri Museveni has been doing to Acholi and Acholis, Uganda and
Ugandans, Congo and Congolese, Rwanda and Rwandese, Burundi and
In July 2004, soon after the initial IC documentary
came out, Friends of Peace in Africa (FPA) made it the centerpiece of
its annual international peace conference in Toronto, Canada. Jason
Russell and Laren Poole traveled to Toronto to show the documentary and
answer delegates' questions. The Acholi didn't just welcome the
documentary; we hailed it as a fantastic coup for human rights advocacy
and a signal exposé of Lt. Gen. Museveni's hitherto silent destruction
of the Acholi and the people of northern Uganda. 
When Russell
and Poole returned from Toronto, they took the same documentary to the
U.S. State department who advised them to remove segments that portrayed
the government of Uganda in a bad light if they wanted to return to
Uganda safely. IC then took this now edited documentary to the Ugandan
Embassy in Washington, DC. The Ugandan Ambassador Edith Sempala saw that
 anything that alluded to Uganda government, Uganda People's Defense
Force (UPDF), Lt. Gen. Museveni or NRM complicity in the Northern Uganda
tragedy were removed. What remained of the documentary was nothing but a
propaganda piece for the government of Uganda. 
This was when
FPA, Committee to End Genocide in Uganda Now (CEGUN), Acholi Diaspora
Association, several chapters of Amnesty International in southern
California, and their respective supporters started to vigorously oppose
IC. This was also when IC started a constant stream of travels to
Uganda that continues to today. 
The three filmmakers started
going to Uganda as official guests of the First Lady and Lt. Gen.
Museveni. They began to tell the world only what Museveni wanted them
to, including labeling Diaspora Acholi en masse as supporters of the
"terrorist" LRA. FPA and CEGUN began traveling all over southern
California to attend IC events whenever we could and made every effort
to tell attendees the rest of the sad Ugandan story. We were very
successful at this as many never even knew there was another side of the
story because IC consistently refused to tell it. 
Four years
ago, Jason Russell invited me to meet with him, Bobby Bailey and the IC
lawyer to explore collaboration possibilities. I represented Friends for
Peace in Africa (FPA), International Working Committee (IWC), Campaign
to End Genocide in Uganda--NOW! (CEGUN) and members of the Acholi
community in Southern California at this meeting. 
At some point
during the meeting, Russell looked me straight in the face and stated
the following: That he knew what Museveni was doing to the Acholi more
than I did; that he and IC staffers and volunteers had been in nearly
all the camps all over Acholiland; that they saw with their own eyes
what tragedy the Uganda security forces were committing against the
Acholi; that he knew for a fact that Museveni was conducting a genocide
project in Acholiland but blaming the LRA for it; that he knew first
hand that the UPDF soldiers were massacring, raping, torturing, robbing,
and mutilating people in and outside the concentration camps; that
Invisible Children could not tell that story to the world because it needed free access to
Uganda to accomplish its mission; that IC had the ears and eyes of the
American youth, and soon the world youth; that
Invisible Children was going to change
Uganda first, then Africa, then the United States, and finally the
world; that if we were smart, we would stop fighting them and instead
join them in telling their one-sided story; and, that IC had the money
that we didn't, and we could not possibly stop them. 
Invisible Children had opted to tell the truth about Gen. Museveni, the
whole truth and nothing but the truth, hundreds of thousands of deaths
in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and Central African
Republic would have been avoided. 
We believe that if the IC had
decided to use the success it has registered since 2004--including the
Kony2012 viral film--to tell the world what was really happening in
Uganda and who was actually behind it all, the NRM dictatorship would
have folded as far back as 2004. By commission and omission, the
Invisible Children is
therefore directly and indirectly complicit in all the 'excess' deaths
in these countries that are not directly attributable to the LRA. 
our standpoint, we see no other reason why
Invisible Children should all of a sudden
want to talk to Diaspora Ugandans now--after avoiding them for eight
years--except as a ploy to further their agenda, squelch the effects of
withering criticisms of Kony2012, and show the world that it actually
cares about people in Uganda, DRC, CAR and the Great Lakes region. 
any individual, group or community opts to meet with
Invisible Children, we then ask
the following: That the meeting have an agenda; more time be allowed to
publicize the meeting amongst Diaspora Ugandan communities around the
world; an agenda item include IC's explicit commitment to making and
publicize a similar video "Museveni2012" highlighting atrocities in the
concentration camps committed by government security forces, the child
soldiers in Museveni's NRA and UPDF, and the NRM government's active
military and logistical support for the LRA since 1993, and
Invisible Children having
not told the truth from the beginning. 
Invisible Children must
accept and promote Ugandan solutions for Ugandan problems--African
solutions for African problems. It must denounce militarization of the
Ugandan, DRC, CAR conflicts, and promote resumption of the Juba Peace
Talks. Consult with Acholi and Uganda traditional leaders and elders,
Acholi and Community leaders from Diaspora Uganda, and legitimate
political leaders in Uganda before prescribing and implementing
solutions to our problems.

Invisible Children owes us all an apology for refusing to tell the truth from the outset and for misrepresenting the conflict to the world. 
Lakony is with Friends for Peace in Africa


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