UPDATE: This post brought a strong reaction from a couple of readers who believe I am overstating the threat of Kony to Northern Uganda. Indeed, this article at Foreign Policy makes the case that Kony is not in Uganda currently. I am researching this more and will correct anything I have gotten wrong. For now, in addition to Okwonga’s piece, please read Michael Wilkerson’s piece at Foreign Policy.
Apparently, the Invisible Children video is not playing well in Uganda.
If you tweet, you know that Uganda has been trending on Twitter this week. The reason for the interest in Uganda is an effort by The Invisible Children group to make Joseph Kony a household word. The idea being that if he becomes well known, people will push the powers that be to end his reign of terror. Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army has been terrorizing Central Africa for over 20 years, stealing children and making them slaves.
As the knee jerks, some have found fault with the simple effort of the Invisible Children folks to use social media. I don’t have a problem with it, because anything that puts some light on the subject could help. Doesn’t mean it will, but it could help.
One thing that I hope happens is that the world starts asking the leadership of Uganda about their response to the situation. For a response that seeks to expand the interest of observers to Ugandan leaders, I point you to this essay by Musa Okwonga I read yesterday in the UK Independent. Here is his conclusion:
I don’t think that Invisible Children are naïve. I don’t think that President Obama was ever blind to this matter either: his own father, a Kenyan, hails from the Luo, the same tribal group that has suffered so much at the hands of Kony. My hunch – and hope – is that they see this campaign as a way to encourage wider and deeper questions about wholly inadequate governance in this area of Africa.
And as far as President Museveni is concerned, my thoughts are these: if thousands of British children were being kidnapped from their towns each year and recruited into an army, you can bet that David Cameron would be facing some very, very serious questions in the Commons. You can bet that he would be grilled on why, years after the conflict began, there were still about a million of his citizens slowly dying in squalor in ill-equipped refugee camps. You can also bet that, after twenty-odd years of this happening on his watch, he wouldn’t still be running the country.