Ugandans criticise Kony campaign

2012-03-10 09:24
Video

Kony 2012

2012-03-08 08:34

An online video to capture alleged Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony has gone viral. Critics, however, have questioned it. Join our debate by leaving your comment.WATCH

kalahari.com

Kampala - The wildly successful viral video campaign to raise global awareness of a brutal Central Africa rebel leader is attracting criticism from Ugandans, some who said on Friday that the 30-minute video misrepresents the complicated history of Africa's longest-running conflict.

The campaign by the advocacy group Invisible Children to make militia leader Joseph Kony a household name has received enormous attention on YouTube and other internet sites this week.

But critics here said the video glosses over a complicated history that made it possible for Kony to rise to the notoriety he has today.

They also lamented that the video does not inform viewers that Kony originally was waging war against Uganda's army, whose human rights record has been condemned as brutal by independent observers.

"There is no historical context. It's more like a fashion thing," said Timothy Kalyegira, a well-known social critic in Uganda who once published a newsletter called The Uganda Record.

Ugandan govt accused of genocide

Kony's Lord's Resistance Army began its attacks in Uganda in the 1980s, when Kony sought to overthrow the government. Since being pushed out of Uganda several years ago, the LRA has terrorised villages in Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. The group takes young women into sexual slavery and forces children to commit heinous attacks.

In the years when Kony's men roamed northern Uganda, the Ugandan government was often accused of failing to do enough to capture or kill Kony, with some government investigations showing that army officers profiteered from a protracted war.

Olara Otunnu, a former UN diplomat who worked on children and armed conflict, has long accused the Ugandan government of committing genocide in northern Uganda as it pursued Kony.

Invisible Children said in a statement posted on its website that it does not defend any of the human rights abuses committed by the Ugandan government.

But it said: "The only feasible and proper way to stop Kony and protect the civilians he targets is to co-ordinate efforts with regional governments."

A ‘narrow perspective’

Ogenga Latigo, a politician from northern Uganda who previously led the opposition in Uganda's Parliament, said Invisible Children's perspective was too narrow to be allowed to define the popular understanding of an insurgency that displaced millions and in which thousands were killed or abducted.

"Theirs is a narrow perspective," he said of Invisible Children's work. "They just want the war to end so that children can go back home. That's all."

Latigo said that the Ugandan government, by failing to deploy enough soldiers to prevent the LRA from abducting children over the years, had been partly responsible for the rebel group's success as a recruiter of children.

"Our position was clear. We told the government, 'There are not enough soldiers'," he said.

A positive viewpoint


Invisible Children said that in its quest to garner wide support of a complicated issue, it tried to explain the conflict in an easily understandable format. It said that many nuances of a 26-year conflict are admittedly lost or overlooked in a half-hour film.

Not everyone is critical of Invisible Children's campaign. Maria Burnett, a researcher on Uganda for Human Rights Watch, said the video has helped draw attention to an issue the rights group has long been working on.

"We hope it will be helpful," she said. "What it leads to remains to be seen, but the goal to bring pressure on key leaders, to protect civilians and to apprehend LRA leadership is important, absolutely."

Burnett added that while the LRA issue is important, Uganda's military also needs to be accountable and professional - "and there's still a long way to go in that regard".

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, where Kony is wanted for war crimes, told AP he thinks the attention Invisible Children has raised is "incredible, exactly what we need".

Kony is now thought to be hiding in the Central African Republic, where he fled before an aerial assault on his forested base in Congo in 2008. Ugandan officials say the LRA - with some 200 core fighters at most - is weakened and is merely trying to survive.

Invisible Children's new campaign comes five months after President Barack Obama sent 100 US forces to help regional governments eliminate Kony and his lieutenants.

American troops are now stationed in Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Congo, and South Sudan, countries where Kony's men operate.

Other motives for campaign?

Ugandan officials say that, with the help of US troops, the hunt for LRA leaders has intensified in recent months.

Asked what the chances were of eliminating the LRA, Rear Admiral Brian L Losey, the top US special operations commander for Africa, told journalists last month: "I don't see failure."

For some Ugandans, the timing of Invisible Children's campaign is suspicious. Nicholas Sengoba, a political analyst, said there was something "sinister" about Invisible Children's campaign.

"The issue has been around for ages," he said. "We have to ask ourselves why suddenly there is this uproar. I believe that these people have other motives that they are not putting out in the open."

- SAPA

Read more on:    lra  |  joseph kony  |  uganda  |  east africa  |  social networks
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
45 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Saturday Cape Town - 07:38 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
  • Saturday Constantia - 07:19 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED between Constantia Nek and Canterbury Road until 1300
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.