Need to prosecute both Kony and president Museveni

While the rest of the world jumps onto the Kony2012 bandwagon — wrongly assuming that the main problem in Uganda is the Lord’s Resistence army . The world needs to know that massacres and atrocities were done by  both LRA  and  NRA (later UPDF) that  dressed up in the rag-tag appearance of the LRA, in order to further destroy Kony’s reputation.

I therefore call upon the world to make sure that both Kony and president  Museveni commander in chief of NRA (later UPDF) are brought to book, Let the international criminal court investigate the alleged crimes committed by both NRA and LRA rebel forces during the two decade war.

I believe that grave crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the court were committed in Northern Uganda,many victims are still suffering from social stigma and a number of them were infected with HIV virus as they were raped by both UPDF and LRA these people will be relieved if the perpetrators of these acts of humiliation appear in court to be charged for what they did. I therefore request Moreno Ocampo to act.

Coming back to the “Kony 2012” video and its celebrity endorsements, what are the consequences of unleashing so many exuberant activists armed with so few facts? Defining Uganda in the international conversation by issues that are either geographical misfires (Save northern Uganda!) or an intentional attempt to distract the international community,  do a disservice to the many critical problems Uganda has.

In addition to the problems of poverty and nodding disease Izama highlights, Uganda is barely (if at all) democratic, and the president Yoweri Museveni ushered himself to a 4th term last year, taking him to over 25 years in power. Corruption is rampant, social services are minimal, and human rights abuses by the government common and well documented. Oh, and oil is on the way. Stopping Kony won’t change any of these things, and if more hardware and money flow to Museveni’s military, Invisible Children’s campaign may even worsen some problems.

Here’s to hoping Kony hands himself in tomorrow and that the fear of the U.S. “cancelling” its LRA-hunt support is misplaced. But if the most impactful the result of Invisible Children’s campaign is to cause millions of viewers to think Northern Uganda is a war zone, even if it’s not their intent, it’s hard to defend

Ugandans are worrying about the much more urgent problem plaguing their country: nodding disease. The cause of the disease is unknown. It affects thousands of children in Northern Uganda, causing symptoms similar to epilepsy, but with more severe mental and physical retardation. (The photo above shows 12-year-old Nancy Lamwaka, a victim of the disease.) Yet the Ugandan government has been notably slow to deal with the problem. A lot has happened since I last blogged about the government’s strange priorities.

As I noted at the time, the Ugandan president’s office requested additional funding for its own needs that amounted to nine times of what the Health Ministry had specified for its first response to the disease. The government’s failure to allocate resources to this threat raises serious questions about its competence and its commitment to dealing with crises.

So the Hon Beatrice Anywar, an MP for Kitgum District, decided to take action: she ferried a number of children from her constituency to Mulago National Referral Hospital in the capital, Kampala. There were reports that the police tried to stop the bus from leaving Kitgum for fear that she would parade the children before Parliament.

When the sick children arrived in Mulago, journalists had a field day taking pictures. While the ethics of this display are questionable, I think it was necessary in order to shock our leaders into action. And Anywar did exactly that by bringing nodding disease to our doorstep. The issue can no longer be ignored, In the spirit of International Women’s Day, women activists in Uganda tied themselves to trees today in solidarity with Northern Ugandan mothers whose children are afflicted by the disease.

Parents are often compelled to tie their sick children to trees to protect them from falling down or wandering off.The gravity of the problem has been aptly described by women’s rights activist Jackline Asiimwe: “It is not acceptable for any parent to think that the only option left to save their children is by tying them to trees when they have a government whose mandate is to ensure that the citizens exercise their right to good health and access to medical attention wherever and whenever necessary.”