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Archive for the ‘DRC’ Category

Clashes In China’s Xinjiang Leave Nearly 100 Dead

‘Clashes between police and rioters in China’s turbulent Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous region have left close to 100 people dead (3 August 2014)’.

The Reuters report reads that ‘[m]asked militants attacked civilians, police and officials last week in China’s far western region of Xinjiang leading to almost 100 deaths, the government said on Sunday [3 August 2014], giving fresh details on one of the worst incidents of unrest in years. The official Xinhua news agency said 59 “terrorists” were gunned down by security forces in Shache county in Xinjiang’s far south, while 37 civilians were killed in the attacks on 28 July. State media had reported the incident a day later, saying dozens of people had been killed when knife-wielding attackers had staged assaults in two towns in the region. A high-profile Xinjiang imam, Jume Tahir, who had staunchly supported the Communist party, was stabbed to death on 30 July. It is unclear why the government waited so long to announce detailed casualties, though bad news has sometimes been covered up or delayed in the past. Due to tight security, visits by foreign journalists are very difficult, making an independent assessment of the situation almost impossible’.[1]

 

[1] “Xinjiang unrest leaves nearly 100 dead, including 37 civilians, China says” Reuters (03 August 2014). http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/03/xinjiang-100-dead-37-civilians-china.

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Uganda’s 2012 Ebola Outbreak

At the end of July, AP’s Rodney Muhumuza reported from Kampala that the “deadly Ebola virus has killed 14 people in western Uganda this month, Ugandan health officials said on Saturday [, 28 July], ending weeks of speculation about the cause of a strange disease that had many people fleeing their homes. The officials and a World Health Organization representative told a news conference in Kampala Saturday that there is “an outbreak of Ebola” in Uganda”.[1]

The website Prime Health Channel informs us that the ‘period of incubation for ebola virus hemorrhagic fever is usually 5 to 18 days but may extend from 2 to 21 days depending on the type of virus that one contracts. The Ebola virus symptoms hemorrhagic disease that is generally noticed in individuals contracting the viral disease are high fever, nausea and vomiting, headache, muscular pain, malaise, inflammation of the pharynx, and diarrhea accompanied with bloody discharge, and the development of maculopapular rashes along with bleeding at other body orifices. Besides these, abdominal pain, joint pain, chest pain, coagulopathy, hiccups, low blood pressure, sclerotic arterioles, purpura, petechia are the other symptoms that are particular to the species of Zaire ebola virus and Sudan ebola virus. This kind of reference to these two particular species of virus is due to the fact that the other three species of ebola virus are either non–pathogenic to human beings or have very few cases to facilitate the detection of its symptoms’.[2]  

On Sunday, 5 August, the Ugandan reporter Paul Bushariza explains in some detail that it “is just over 10 years since Uganda suffered its first Ebola outbreak. At the time Uganda troops had just been withdrawn from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and a huge contingent was camped at Aswa Ranch in northern Uganda. This and the fact that the outbreak was first registered around that area led to the suggestion that some soldiers may have come across the border with the hemorrhagic fever. I am not aware that attempts to find patient zero – the initial patient, were successful. Last week, the Government confirmed that the virus had resurfaced in western Uganda with a high concentration of cases in Kibaale district. The knee jerk reaction was to attribute the outbreak to the huge influx of refugees fleeing fighting in north Kivu province in the DRC, last month. But the largest influx of refugees was in Kisoro, more than 200km south of Kagadi, where at last count all but one of the country’s 25 isolated patients were registered. Suspicion has shifted to the Kibaale forest which has a high concentration of primates and birds, which act as transmitters of the virus. The last outbreak of the deadly hemorrhagic fever was recorded in Bundibugyo in 2007. The disease takes its name from the River Ebola in northern DRC, where the disease’s first recorded outbreak was identified in 1976. I covered the first Ebola outbreak in northern Uganda and have cursorily followed how the country handled the subsequent outbreak in Bundibugyo and the current one, the response time is nothing but laudable”.[3]

Bushariza’s op-ed continues: “Our health system is creaking under the weight of such preventable diseases as diarrhea, respiratory infections and malaria. But now like it or not we share borders with a country with no health system to speak of, but which, with its largely uninhabited jungle, is a petri dish for any number of tropical diseases, some of which, God knows, have not been identified by modern medicine [, meaning the DRC or Democratic Republic of Congo]. It does not help matters that the areas bordering us are in perpetual turmoil necessitating large uncoordinated movements of people, enough of whom find their way across our borders. The truth is the DRC is a security risk to us in more ways than just rebels straining at the bits to get at Kampala. At the beginning of this century, the George W. Bush’s administration commissioned a study on AIDS/HIV among other things it examined the effect of a runway HIV/AIDS epidemic on the US national security. The report has not been publicly released but it prompted the Bush administration to channel billions of dollars at providing ARVs to up to two million AIDS patients in Africa, prevent seven million new infections and provide support to another 10 million sufferers by 2010. Borrowing a leaf, if the worst comes to the worst, it would be in Uganda’s national interest in the not so distant future to start providing health services in eastern Congo, as the alternative barring Congolese from crossing into Uganda or Ugandans into to Congo is impractical”.[4]

The eastern part of the DRC has been the scene of fierce fighting recently. The Rwandan writer Aninta Kikoto opines that “[c]onflict in the mineral-rich region in Eastern Congo has caused thousands of deaths and up to 420,000 people have abandoned their homes. Rwanda alone, has received some 20,000 Congolese – and the number is rising daily. Despite the different reports from the UN, aid agencies and rights groups, the problem still stands. Apart from mentioning how difficult the situation is for the Congolese people especially those in the war-torn areas, what are the tangible solutions to end this war? Are there suggestions and recommendations under way such as more troops – sufficient enough to end the conflict and restore peace in war torn Eastern DRC?  M23 rebel spokesperson, Lt Colonel Jean Mary Vianney Kazarama, said that continued provocation from DRC government soldiers – while the government remains unwilling to negotiate, will only make matters worse”.[5]  In other words, the civil war in Congo is far from over. Kikoto continues that in “a spate of a few days, the previously unknown group which Kinshasa calls “bandits”, have expanded their control over large areas. They are said to be a few kilometers from Goma, the capital of North Kivu. Many now view M23 as well organised, and arguably one reason why fingers have been pointed at Rwanda as supporting the rebel group. It may sound ambitious hearing that M23 would fight and take over bigger towns – later alone Kinshasa, but the rebels are confident they can. “If our demands are not respected we continue fighting – why not to takeover Goma, Kananga or Kinshasa?,” [the M23 rebel spokesperson, Lt Colonel Jean Mary Vianney] Kazarama said. The M23 spokesperson is keen to reaffirm what pushed them to take up arms; “We want the 2009 agreement to be respected. That is ensuring of democracy. Sixty thousand of our family members are refugees in neighboring countries and need to come back home, we want the issue of military ranks and salaries to be addressed as well” . . . Routine followers of the DRC conflict since 1998 say peace talks will end the war. Dr Omar Kharfan, a political science don at the National University of Rwanda explains the situation using two theories, which he says can resolve the conflict. There is the “zero-sum game” and “non-zero-sum game”. The first describes a situation in which a participant’s gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participant. Here one side is eager to defeat the other and take over. The “non-zero-sum” is where the two parties choose to sit at the table where they share the gains and losses. It describes a situation in which the interacting parties weigh whether the gains and losses are either less or more than zero. It is this approach that Dr Kharfan believes brings more gains”.[6]  So, what will it be . . . a “zero-sum game” or a “non-zero-sum game”???

As for the Ebola outbreak in Uganda, the AP reports that a ‘World Health Organization official said Friday [, 3 August] that the [Ugandan] authorities were halting the spread of the deadly disease. The official, Joaquim Saweka, the W.H.O. representative in Uganda, said everyone known to have had contact with Ebola victims had been isolated. Ugandan health officials have created an “Ebola contact list” with the names of people who had even the slightest contact with those who had contracted Ebola. The list now bears 176 names. Ebola was confirmed in Uganda on July 28, several days after villagers were dying in a remote western corner of the country. Ugandan officials were slow to investigate possible Ebola because the victims did not show the usual symptoms, like coughing blood. At least 16 Ugandans have died of the disease. Delays in confirming Ebola allowed the disease to spread to more villages deep in the western district of Kibale, President Yoweri Museveni said. This is the fourth outbreak of Ebola in Uganda since 2000, when the disease killed 224 people and left hundreds more traumatized in northern Uganda. Mr. Saweka said that organizations like Doctors Without Borders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were helping Ugandan officials to control the spread of the disease’.[7]


[1] Rodney Muhumuza, “Officials: Ebola breaks out in Uganda” AP (28 July 2012). http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-07-28/officials-ebola-breaks-out-in-uganda.

[2] Akshay, “Signs and Symptoms of Ebola Virus” Prime Health Channel (11 January 2011). http://www.primehealthchannel.com/ebola-virus-symptoms-pictures-structure-facts-and-history.html.

[3] Paul Bushariza, “Ebola exposes Uganda’s precarious position” New Vision (05 August 2012). http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/633774-ebola-exposes-uganda-s-precarious-position.html.

[4] Paul Bushariza, “Ebola exposes Uganda’s precarious position”.

[5] Aninta Kikoto, “Rwanda : Is there any alternative to Eastern Congo’s conflict?”  News Of Rwanda (05 August 2012). http://newsofrwanda.com/irembo/11732/rwanda-alternative-eastern-congos-conflict/.

[6] Aninta Kikoto, “Rwanda : Is there any alternative to Eastern Congo’s conflict?”.

[7] “Uganda: Ebola Outbreak Slows, Health Official Says” AP (03 August 2012). http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/04/world/africa/uganda-ebola-outbreak-slows-health-official-says.html.

Ugandans React to Kony 2012 and the Allied Democratic Forces

Some time ago I posted a critique of the propaganda film Kony 2012 and the NGO Invisible Children. Kony and the LRA have left Uganda many years ago, and are spread out over the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): ‘Joseph Kony is a household name, thanks to a 30-minute YouTube video raising awareness about his brutal rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Tens of millions have seen the video after US charity, Invisible Children, released the clip online last week. On Tuesday, a charity organisation showed the film to the people who suffered at the hands of the LRA – Ugandans in the north of the country. Al Jazeera‘s Malcolm Webb reports from the town of Lira after the screening’.

At the same time, Uganda is now facing another threat: namely, the Allied Democratic Forces. The news agency the South African Press Association (SAPA) details as follows: the ‘Allied Democratic Forces, which has emerged as the biggest threat to Uganda’s security in the years since the Lord’s Resistance Army was ousted from Uganda, has opened three military camps in eastern Congo and is actively recruiting in central Uganda, the officials said this week . . . The rebel group was formed in the early 1990s by Ugandan Muslims who said they had been sidelined by the policies of President Yoweri Museveni, who has led Uganda since 1986. The group wants Uganda to be ruled according to Sharia law. The Allied Democratic Forces staged deadly attacks in Ugandan villages as well as in the capital in the late 1990s, including a horrific 1998 incident in which 80 students were massacred in a frontier town.’.[1]

A spokesperson for the Ugandan army Colonel Felix Kulayigye declared that the “ADF is for real. If they have begun military drills, what is the motive? They are not there for tourism”.[2]  Whatever the motivation behind the NGO Invisible Children and the Obama administration’s deployment of U.S. troops in the recently oil-rich declared Acholi region, Uganda now appears to be facing another, more acute menace. Fred Opolot, a spokesman for the Ugandan government, said in turn that the “ADF has over the years used the Congo as a base to attack Uganda. Therefore it is in our interest to enter the Congo to pursue negative forces. This will need close co-operation with the Congolese government, and we are trying to find ways of negotiating with them”.[3]  SAPA further elaborates that ‘Ugandan officials have been warning about the ADF’s resurgence for several months, but they now believe the rebel group exploited turmoil in eastern Congo before and after the November presidential elections to ramp up its activities. They do not know how many rebels are in the bush. Kulayigye said the group now has camps in Mwalika and Bubuchwanga, villages where the rebels are able to conduct military drills and to recruit without the interference of the Congolese national army. The Congolese government has no control of vast territories in the eastern part of the country, where rebel militias including Joseph Kony’s brutal LRA have been able to roam free for years. But with the LRA weakened and it fighters scattered across Central Africa, the Ugandan army has been paying serious attention to the ADF because they believe the group is actively recruiting among Muslim families in Uganda. The force is led by a convert to Islam named Jamil Mukulu’.[4]  The  blog Politics of Growth and Good Governance worldwide indicated last year that ‘JAMIL Mukulu, the master-mind of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels faces arrest and possible extradition after the International Police (Interpol) issued a red notice for him in connection with terrorism. Interpol issued the notice for Mukulu and posted his photographs on its website, adding him on a list of hundreds of international fugitives wanted over terrorism. A red notice, one of the numerous notices that can be issued by Interpol, seeks the arrest or provisional arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition. The issuance of the notice on request by Uganda is a culmination of efforts by the Government to have Mukulu arrested and extradited. The issuance of the notice comes amid reports of the ADF regrouping, according to security sources. The sources . . . intimated that the Uganda Police had been notified about the issuance of the notice for Mukulu, who local security say has more than 10 passports, uses numerous pseudo names and doctors his appearances to evade capture. Uganda’s efforts to have Mukulu arrested go back to as early as 2002 when the then army chief of staff, Brig. Nakibus Lakara, said the Government would issue an arrest warrant for him. Sources said Mukulu is wanted in connection with the June 1998 Kichwamba Technical Institute massacre, in which about 80 students perished. It is alleged that Mukulu, being the commander of the ADF which has been labeled a terrorist organisation, commanded an attack on civilians, willfully killing about seven people. The charge of willful killing contravenes international conventions and carries a death penalty. Interpol also uploaded Mukulu’s bio-data, stating his identity, sex, nationality, date of birth, age and offence. According to information on the Interpol website, Mukulu, who was born in Kayunga district on January 1, 1964, speaks English and Arabic and is wanted for terrorism after a warrant of arrest was issued by the Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court and a request by Uganda Police forwarded to Lyon through the local Interpol office’.[5]


[1] “Uganda rebels ready to strike – officials” SAPA (17 March 2012). http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Uganda-rebels-ready-to-strike-officials-20120317.

[2] “Uganda rebels ready to strike – officials”.

[3] “Uganda rebels ready to strike – officials”.

[4] “Uganda rebels ready to strike – officials”.

[5] “Interpol issues red notice for Ugandan ADF leader” Politics of Growth and Good Governance worldwide (13 February 2011). http://ekimeeza.blogspot.com/2011/02/interpol-issues-red-notice-for-ugandan.html.

The Invisible Scam: Uganda, the LRA, and Yoweri Museveni

Recently I posted the propaganda clip made by the charity Invisible Children, which tells the story of how it was that the US suddenly became interested in the Joseph Kony and the LRA. But, last year, when the U.S. deployed their troops into Uganda, I posted a piece which highlighted the fact that oil deposits had been discovered in Uganda. And by sheer coincidence, or cold calculation, the troops deployment happened to coincide with this propitious find: ‘the Acholi Times [reported] on 3 October [that] “Betty Aol Ocan, the Woman Member of Parliament for Gulu and opposition Deputy Chief Whip has warned that the discovery and drilling of oil in Uganda could fuel conflict that will engulf the entire country. Aol Ocan explained that because of the lack of transparency in the oil sharing deals by the government  and other foreign companies involved in the extraction, oil is a likely potential cause of clash in the country . . . Uganda has discovered at least 1 billion barrels of oil along its western border with Congo. In March the government approved a joint venture deal with UK’s Tullow Oil, China’s CNOOC Ltd. (CEO) and French oil major Total SA (TOT) for the development of oil fields in the three blocks in Uganda, including Acholi sub-region”. And to clarify a bit further, the Acholi  people consitute ‘an ethnic group from the districts of Agago, Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum, Nwoya, Lamwo, and Pader in Northern Uganda (an area commonly referred to as Acholiland), and Magwe County in South Sudan. Approximately 1.17 million Acholi were counted in the Uganda census of 2002, and 45,000 more were living in South Sudan in 2000’, as indicated by Wikipedia’.[1]

 

Did the Invisible Children campaign merely provide a good pretext to deploy troops into Uganda, or is there something more sinister going on???  Is it really just a coincidence that Kony and the LRA happen to be active in the region of the Acholi, which happens to be the area where oil has been discovered??? The LRA has been fighting since 1991, and 20 years later, in 2011, the U.S. government decides to intervene, after having undertaken another “humanitarian intervention” to secure access to Libya’s oil . . . just to provide some context, the civil war in the DRC, which is a war waged to control access to lucrative mines of Coltan, has caused many more deaths and injuries: ‘‘[a] January 2008 International Rescue Committee survey found that 5,400,000 people have died from war-related causes in Congo since 1998 – the world’s deadliest documented conflict since WW II. The vast majority died from non-violent causes such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition—easily preventable and treatable conditions when people have access to health care and nutritious food . . . The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo is arguably the world’s most deadly crisis since World War II and the death toll far exceeds those of other recent and more prominent crises, including those in Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur”, and in addition “45,000 people continue to die every month” in the DRC. As for neighbouring Uganda and the LRA, the BBC’s Martin Plaut gives some background: the Lord’s Resistance Army’s “leaders initially claimed to be fighting to install a theocracy in Uganda based on the Biblical Ten Commandments, but they now sow terror in Sudan and Central African Republic, as well as DR Congo”. On 28 March 2010, The New York Times’ Jeffrey Gettleman declared that the “United States is providing millions of dollars to the Ugandan army – in fuel, trucks, satellite phones, night-vision goggles and air support – to hunt [the LRA] down. It is one of the signature programs of AFRICOM, the new U.S. military command for Africa, which is working closely with the State Department to employ what U.S. officials call “the three D’s” – defense, diplomacy and development – to help African nations stabilize themselves. These efforts appeared to be succeeding, eliminating up to 60 percent of the Lord’s Resistance Army fighters in the past 18 months, U.S. officials said. But that may have been why the fighters tore off on their raid late last year to get as many new conscripts as possible, along with medicine, clothes and food. Human Rights Watch, which sent a team in February 2010 to investigate the killings, said the army killed at least 320 people in the Tapili area in one of the worst massacres in the armed group’s 23-year, atrocity-filled history’. But now, in 2011, Africom is upping the ante by means of putting some American boots on the ground, at a time when important oil reserves have been discovered . . . Coincidence or not???’.

Let me simply repeat some of the salient points raised in the previous paragraph. The U.S. has deployed its AFRICOM since 2010 to hunt down the LRA and Josph Kony – “providing millions of dollars to the Ugandan army – in fuel, trucks, satellite phones, night-vision goggles and air support” – but these efforts have somehow escaped the attention of the charity Invisible Children . . .  or what is going on???

The New York-based Black Star News spins an interesting tale in this respect: ‘Invisible Children’s goals initially may have been to publicize the plight of children caught in Uganda’s decades-long conflicts; lately, IC has been acting as apologists for General Yoweri K. Museveni’s dictatorship and the U.S. goal to impose AFRICOM (the U.S. Africa Military Command) on Africa. IC has produced a brilliant film that’s making the global rounds on Facebook. It’s a classic as propaganda pieces come. The short but overwhelmingly powerful film uses all the best tear-jerk techniques. In the end, the film denounces Joseph Kony, the leader of the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army, while giving the impression that Museveni’s dictatorship and his brutal military, which was found liable for war crimes in Democratic Republic of Congo by the International Court of Justice, has nothing to do with the atrocities committed against children in Uganda. It also doesn’t inform viewers that Museveni abducted thousands of child soldiers to win his insurgency in Uganda in 1986, launching the pattern of child soldier recruitment all over Africa. In fact, Kony’s insurgency against Museveni was launched later, meaning he too learned child soldier-abductions from Museveni. Look at the way Invisible Children exploits American children in the beginning of their documentary; they then transplant the audience to Uganda, where again they take advantage of Ugandan children, who are the victims of both the LRA and the Ugandan government’s army. The imagery are powerful. Dr. Joseph Goebbels’ and Leni Riefenstahl would have been proud of this cinematic coup by Invisible Children. If Invisible Children was in fact a serious organization that has not been co-opted by the Museveni regime and the U.S. foreign policy agenda, the organization would inform the world that General Museveni, who has now stolen three elections in a row in Uganda is the first person who deserves to be arrested. This Ugandan and East African nightmare gets a blank check from Washington simply because he has deployed Ugandan soldiers to Somalia at the behest of the United States. So democracy, human rights abuses, and genocide, become minor nuisances as far as U.S. foreign policy goes and as far as Invisible Children cares. This is beyond hypocrisy. Those members of Invisible Children who may have supported this misguided project to send more U.S. troops to Africa because they were unwittingly deceived, should do some serious soul searching. Museveni does not care for the plight of children in Uganda’s Acholi region. How else would he have herded 2 million Acholis in concentration camps for 20 years where, according to the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1,000 children, women and men died of planned neglect–lack of medical facilities; lack of adequate food; dehydration, and; lack of sanitation and toilet facilities. Does this sound like a person who cares about children? His colleagues have denounced Acholis as “backwards” and as “biological substances.” General Museveni himself revealed an interesting pathology, as a first class racist African when he told Atlantic Monthly Magazine, in September 1994: “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.” Ironically –or perhaps not– the general was even more embraced by Washington after those remarks. Gen. Museveni has been a U.S. ally since the days of Ronald Reagan. So why does Invisible Children only go after Kony while leaving Museveni alone when in fact they are two sides of the same coin? These young folks who run Invisible Children are extremely dangerous to the welfare of Ugandans and other Africans should they succeed in broadening U.S. military presence in Africa. If the United States were truly interested purely in eliminating Kony why deploy now when Kony abandoned Uganda in 2006 when he was negotiating a peace deal that ultimately collapsed, with Museveni. While Kony and his fighters were camped at Garamba in Congo, as agreed upon during peace negotiations, who was it that launched a military attack with planes and helicopters in December 2008? It was Gen. Museveni, with U.S. assistance. The peace negotiations, which had been embraced by traditional and religious leaders in Acholi region, collapsed. According to Jan Egeland, the former U.N Under-Secretary General for humanitarian affairs, Museveni also wanted to pursue a military approach and even ridiculed his own attempts to negotiate peace. Immediately more killings ensued –this time in Congo; and since Museveni and Kony are two sides of the same coin, it’s unclear who committed the atrocities in Garamba after the abortive attack. After the attacks the LRA scattered into the Central African Republic. One would imagine that if the U.S. and Invisible Children were really interested in Kony, the deployment would have been to Central African Republic. The young folks behind Invisible Children don’t understand the conflict in Uganda; yet they have made themselves the spokespersons. They have campaigned and convinced some celebrities, including Rihana and P. Diddy, to tweet their half-truth propaganda film. This is a way to have one-sided or impartial information become the “dominant truth” globally, and drown out critical analyses. It’s like a group of impressionable White youngsters coming to Harlem and saying: we see you have major crises, let us tell you what’s the solution. Who would accept such misguided and destructive arrogance? If it’s unacceptable in Harlem, it must also be rejected in Uganda’s Acholi region. Acholi traditional leaders, religious leaders, and members of Parliament in Uganda, have all opposed further militarization. But they are not in a position to express their views on CNN or in The New York Times, or to make a slick documentary, such as Invisible Children‘s. What’s more, they’re not accorded the presumptive credibility that [is] often bestowed to White analysts when compared to native Ugandans. Yet, rather than listen to the cries of Uganda’s traditional and religious leaders who live in the war-devastated regions, Invisible Children has decided to produce a beautiful documentary with an ugly agenda that only escalates conflict and endorses Gen. Museveni. Who really believes it’s a good thing for the United States to be sending troops to Uganda or anywhere in Africa? Why would these troops act any differently than those sent to Iraq and Afghanistan? The U.S. government and Invisible Children are using the brutal Joseph Kony as a bogeyman to justify the U.S. long-term plan, which is to impose AFRICOM on Africa. Since everyone knows about Kony’s atrocities, who would object if the U.S. sends 100 U.S. “advisers” to help Uganda, after all? Brilliantly devious. Of course it never stops at 100 “advisers.” That was the announced deployment; there are probably more U.S. troops in the region. Even before the deployment some had already been training Museveni’s soldiers. And more will come; unannounced. AFRICOM, the ultimate objective, would allow the U.S. to be able to counter resource-hungry China by having boots on the ground near the oil-rich northern part of Uganda, South Sudan, Congo’s region bordering Lake Albert, and the Central African Republic. The troops would also be near by in case a decision is made to support regime-change in Khartoum, Sudan. After all, the U.S. foreign policy reasoning is that since Sudan’s president Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his defense minister have both been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), few would shed tears for them. The U.S. is aware that African countries oppose AFRICOM. So what does the U.S. do? Go after a “devil” and in this case it’s Kony. Tell the world –with the help of Invisible Children– that our mission is to help rid Uganda of this “devil”; who by the way is hiding somewhere in Central African Republic, while the dictator who most recently stole elections last February, sits in Kampala and meets with U.S. officials and leaders of Invisible Children. If the real target was simply Joseph Kony, the U.S. would have used an armed predator drone; this is how the U.S. has eliminated several suspected leaders of Al-qaeda and the Taleban, after all. It doesn’t seem that Invisible Children is an independent do-good save-the-children outfit. They are paving the way –with Kony, brutal as he is, as the bogeyman– for AFRICOM. Kony is a nightmare, but Museveni has caused the deaths of millions of people in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. In 2005 the International Court of Justice found Uganda liable for what amounts to war crimes in Congo: mass rapes of both women and men; disemboweling pregnant women; burning people inside their homes alive; massacres and; plunder of resources. Congo lost six million people after Uganda’s occupation of parts of Congo. The Court awarded Congo $10 billion in reparations; not a dime has been paid. Congo then referred the same crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague for war crimes charges. On June 8, 2006, The Wall Street Journal reported that Gen. Museveni personally contacted Kofi Annan, then UN Secretary General and asked him to block the criminal investigation. It seems that the U.S. and ICC Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo might have indeed obliged. Gen. Museveni and senior Ugandan military commanders remain un-indicted for the alleged crimes that the ICJ already found Uganda liable; only one side of the same coin, Kony was indicted. Prosecutor Ocampo is also totally discredited; readers should Google “Ocampo and South African journalist case.” There is another documentary that tries to explain the Ugandan tragedy, in a more sober manner, unlike Invisible Children’s slick propaganda piece. Hopefully this commentary will motivate people to do their research and demand that the international community deal with both Kony and Museveni. Hopefully more people will also do their own research and not be vulnerable to slick propaganda such as Invisible Children‘s’.[2]

 


[1] “U.S. Troops in Uganda: LRA or Oil???” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (15 October 2011). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/u-s-troops-in-uganda-lra-or-oil/.

[2] “KONY 2012, Invisible Children’s Pro-AFRICOM and Museveni Propaganda” BSN (08 March 2012). http://www.blackstarnews.com/news/135/ARTICLE/8007/2012-03-08.html.

DRC Elections 2011

While the West and the world at large currently focus on the electoral process in Egypt, war-stricken Congo is also in the throes of an election at the moment: ‘Vote counting is underway in the Democratic Republic of Congo, even as some people are still waiting to cast ballots. VOA West Africa Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Monday’s election was marred by violence, allegations of fraud, and failures to deliver ballots.’.

 

Egypt on Election Day

Egyptians have gone to the polls in large numbers for the first parliamentary elections since Hosni Mubarak’s downfall. Voting was extended for two hours because the turnout has been higher than expected. But Egypt’s new test of democracy brings a bewildering array of candidates and far less unity than during January’s revolution. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party is expecting to play a dominant role in parliament. But many suspect it is in alliance with a military that wants to retain power itself.

The unrest of the past days has apparently not dampened Egyptians’ enthusiasm for the democratic process, however flawed or even futile it might turn out to be eventually. The news agency Reuters reports that ‘Egyptians turned out in big numbers on a mostly peaceful first day of voting for a new parliament, driven by optimism to build a new post-Hosni Mubarak era and the threat of fines if they stayed at home, vote monitors said on Monday [, 28 November]. Democracy campaigners had worried a week of deadly clashes in Cairo and other cities in the run-up to the vote and a history of electoral violence might lead people to avoid polling stations for fear they could get caught up in unrest. Many, especially the illiterate, were perplexed by complex procedures and long lists of candidates, but still turned up early on Monday to wait for hours in queues stretching up to 2 kilometers (more than one mile) at some stations, monitors said. They said it was too early to estimate overall turnout. No figures have been released, but the top election committee official said numbers were more than expected. The military rulers also reported a high turnout and extended voting hours to accommodate this’.[1]  The international Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera also reports that ‘[d]espite serious tensions in the North African nation, unprecedented numbers showed up to cast their ballots, many for the first time’.

But not just Egypt is in the middle of an election, at the same time, in the central African nation of Congo (the DRC or the Democratic Republic of Congo) people are also casting their ballots in an attempt to write history in a peaceful manner. But, Al Jazeera has some troubling news: a ‘presidential candidate in the Democratic Republic of Congo has shown Al Jazeera what he says is evidence of election fraud. Vital Kamerhe says the discovery of pre-marked ballot papers is proof that Monday’s polls have been rigged. Yvonne Ndege reports from the capital Kinshasa’.


[1] Tom Pfeiffer, “Big turnout, scant violence in Egypt vote: monitors” Reuters (28 November 2011). http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/28/us-egypt-election-monitors-idUSTRE7AR1R120111128.