Kony film will hurt tourism, says Uganda
Kampala - Tourism in Uganda might suffer as a result of a viral video about Joseph Kony, the leader of the brutal rebel Lord's Resistance Army, a minister warned on Friday.
Tourism Minister Ephraim Kamuntu told reporters that the country's embassies have been instructed to repair any "damage" to Uganda's reputation abroad caused by the Kony 2012 film.
"Kony has been out of Uganda for years. The reaction we get from people outside is that he is still in Uganda and this is negative. Tourists are likely to fear that misinterpretation and cancel their plans. The film is put out of context," Kamuntu told a press briefing.
The film, made by the US-based group Invisible Children, campaigns for stopping Kony, who waged a brutal war in the north of Uganda for more than two decades. He and several hundred fighters are believed to now be in the Central African Republic (CAR).
"Kony is no longer a threat to Uganda," said Kamuntu.
The Ugandan military, backed by US army advisors, is chasing the LRA through the Democratic Republic of the Congo and CAR. Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The video has been viewed more than 70 million times, drawing international attention to the LRA's war, which left thousands of people dead while tens of thousands of children were abducted and abused by the rebels.
Tourism is Uganda's second largest foreign exchange earner - worth some $660m in 2010. The East African nation expects to receive more than 1 million visitors in 2012, according to ministry officials.
"This film has a potential to destroy our tourism industry. We have got complaints from tour companies about tourists getting scared," Patrick Mugoya, the ministry's permanent-secretary, told journalists.