Monday, 19 March 2012

Uganda belatedly reacts to Kony 2012 video

Two weeks after a video, Kony 2012, by the American-based NGO Invisible Children was posted on the Internet and has since gone viral, Uganda government has belatedly come out to condemn some of its content. The Uganda government argues the video is in a way out of touch with reality on ground as far as the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels [led by Joseph Kony] war is concerned. For Uganda it is a case of better to correct the inconsistencies in the video late than never. But damage is already done and currently there are fears tourists may be cagey to come to Uganda.

So the leader of Government business in Parliament, Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi's voice was supposed to come out loud to put the record straight. Never mind that Ugandans on social media like Twitter and Facebook had been countering the Kony 2012 video. Mbabazi  has described the Kony 2012 as misleading on the true picture of Kony's senseless war in Northern Uganda. So Mbabazi said the video appears to state that "Kony is still in Uganda, as if Uganda is still at conflict and yet of course we all know this is not true," he said. 

Joseph Kony
Kony is on the run and is reported to be hiding in the thick forests of Central African Republic (CAR). In fact the LRA were pushed out of Uganda since 2006 though they remotely remain a threat to the people of Uganda and a real threat to people in DR Congo, CAR and South Sudan. The Kony 2012 documentary largely ignores this fact. The Premier argues that the video gives the impression that Ugandans are still displaced, "those many children are still out sleeping on the streets in Gulu town; and of course this is not true."

Since the Kony 2012 video went viral, with over 80 million views on YouTube, Ugandans have been divided in opinion regarding the 30 minute documentary produced by Jason Russell, who has recently suffered a mental breakdown. While local politicians have welcomed the video as a move that would advance efforts to capture Kony and his lieutenants, the people adversely affected by Kony's war have dismissed it as offering a simplistic solution to the complex conflict that has lasted over 24 years.The local people accuse Invisible Children of taking advantage of their misery to mint money since the NGO reportedly spends only 32% of the money it gets from its funders on projects in Uganda . Last week residents of Lira town attacked a local NGO that was screening the Kony 2012 video for the victims of LRA war.

Be that as it may, the spokesman of Uganda's military, the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF), Col. Felix Kulayigye says Kony and his rebels are at their weakest point; arguing that deployment of a joint African Union army and 100 U.S Special Forces military advisors to assist in the hunt for the LRA rebel leader the war will soon be history.

By Mubatsi Asinja Habati

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