The Republic of Uganda has not witnessed a period of peace and stability in the entire country. The history of turmoil and instability dates back to the post independence period. Indeed, Uganda has suffered under tyrannical leaders such as Iddi Amin Adada who was responsible for the deaths of approximately eight hundred thousand people. In addition, the country has been rocked by several coup de tats in the government. In fact, even the incumbent president, Yoweri Museveni, ascended to power initially through a coup de tat. He later was democratically elected for the successive terms. Uganda, therefore, has been on the hotspot as an African country that houses guerilla soldiers who fight both internally and externally.
Incidentally, to the West of Uganda, is the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country which has not experienced relative peace and stability since independence, briefly after the assassination of Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba. The turmoil in Uganda has been centered on the war for resources, power and control of the country. Indeed, currently, the larger part of Uganda is experiencing relative peace and stability. However, a section of Uganda, the central Uganda towards the western part is under conflict. Guerilla rebels led by Joseph Kony have been at war with the government led by Yoweri Museveni based in Kampala.
Kony’s activities and effects
The activities of rebels led by Kony are carried out under the auspices of the Lord’s Resistance Army, otherwise known as LRA. The army has committed a number of atrocities and inhumane acts on the populace. The activities are aimed at forcefully capturing the regions of control and bringing the people in these regions under their control and submission. The Lord’s Resistance Army has among other things has occasioned the mass displacement of close to one million six hundred thousand families, led to the deaths of thousands of people, caused severe and minor injuries and incapacitation to thousands of people and raped thousands of women and girls. Kony’s group has conducted its activities in a manner that fundamentally abuses the rights and privileges guaranteed to humanity by virtue of merely being human beings. In the quest for power and control of resources, the Lord’s Resistance Army has killed many, raped several women and conscribed into the military young children. This has led to unplanned pregnancies, spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and aids and the deterioration of the health of the female folk. On the other hand, young boys have been forcefully conscribed into the military and forced to participate in the war. This goes against the United Nations provisions that prohibit the use of children in the military or for purposes of war.
Consequently, Kony and his group have been rightly placed and considered under the category of warlords. The group has also been placed under the category of human rights abusers and criminals of crimes against humanity. For the latter sake, the group would be liable to answer charges which would be pressed in the International Criminal Court(ICC), given that the Republic of Uganda is signatory to the Rome Statute that essentially led to the creation of the criminal court.
The conflict in Uganda has attracted the attention and reaction of several organizations. The entire world through the donor community, the United Nations organization and nonprofit making organizations, have raised concerns and pressured governments to take action towards the reduction of the atrocities committed by Kony and his troops. Towards that end, the organizations have employed different approaches in accordance with their mandate and capacity. It should be appreciated that the sovereign state of the republic does not allow organizations to independently pursue the group in Uganda. Under the law, only the military of the Republic of Uganda has the mandate and jurisdiction to pursue the Lord’s Resistance Army through military action. Most nonprofit organizations have no other choices other than raising awareness all over the world so that the United Nations and especially the Security Council could be pressured into action on the matter. The Invisible Children 2012 is a suitable example of such an awareness nonprofit making organization.
However, it should be appreciated that the Invisible Children took a different approach towards creating awareness to the world. As opposed to the typical approach taken by many organizations, Invisible Children, decided to use children to tell the tales experienced by the actual children in the war torn areas. As such, children are seen in the clip telling the tales of the war in simple language and diagrams. The simplification is not meant to cheapen the matter which is rather complex. Rather, it is intended to bring to the world’s attention, the predicament that faced the children back in the conflict stricken areas in Uganda. The main purposes of Invisible Children include the following: tell the stories of the invisible children who are cut away from the world society by telling the world about them, bridge the distance between the children in the conflict areas and the peaceful and stable world societies by relaying the story to the public, create an awareness that should empower and challenge children and younger people into action and entrench the concept of care on the young people.
Internet campaign Kony 2012
The internet campaign, Kony 2012, essentially refers to a clip prepared by the Invisible Children that was posted on YouTube. The video clip showed the simplified situation that children were exposed to under the Lord’s Resistance Army. It essentially brought to light the activities perpetrated by Kony’s troops on children. It brought to light the criminal activities the children were exposed to. This succeeded in creating awareness to the world. It sufficed for purposes of capturing the attention of the world of the situation in the conflict stricken part of Uganda. The success of the clip ought to be viewed in light of the attention it drew from the entire world. It is reported that the video clip was watched by a total of one hundred million people from the entire world. Today, the world is more in consensus for the capture and prosecution of Joseph Kony. The donor community is more than ready and participatory in efforts to end the Ugandan conflict and the provision of humanitarian support.
The advantages of the actions by groups such as Invisible Children, should, therefore, be conceived in light of the reactions they trigger from across the global divide. The awareness they create essentially awakes the people. In addition, the Invisible Children succeeded in gaining the attention of the younger generations and young children. It served to teach the young children on the need for peace, harmony and stability. It consequently promoted the adoption of peace and love among people.
On the other hand, simplification of the complex issues that resonate around the Ugandan conflict could be perceived in some squatters as an insult to people’s intelligence. The matters at hand, it is opined, are complicated and sensitive. They should hence be handled with the utmost respect and trepidation. In addition, the poor organizational capacities of the Invisible Children, has been cited for its ineffectiveness in achieving its objectives. The organization ought to have planned better and employed a much more professional approach towards addressing the plight of children in Uganda. In addition, the Invisible Children accountability and transparency is at its lowest ebb. The organization is currently unable to account for most of the funds and support. In fact, it is said that only approximately thirty percent of the funds were transferred into direct services while the larger seventy percent was deviated into unnecessary managerial expenses.
Furthermore, the approach taken by Invisible Children has been criticized as unprofessional and exaggerative of the exact situation.
The Invisible Children do not have a clear way forward on how they intend to deal with the children rescued from Kony. It should be appreciated that, in accordance with the international laws and the sovereignty of Uganda, the solution lies in the military pursuit of Kony’s troops by government backed military organizations. Nations and the international community can only assists under the auspices of the Ugandan military. They could donate funds, military aid and humanitarian aid to the Uganda government to help in addressing the conflict.
The Republic of Uganda has not seen peace and stability since the declaration of independence. The struggle by various functions for power, resources and control continues to cause loss of lives, disruption of ways of life and the destruction of property. There have been several campaigns aimed at solving the conflicts in Uganda. Kony2012 by Invisible Children is one such campaign. However, this campaign had misplaced priorities because Kony and his army already left Uganda. The campaign has also been largely unsuccessful. The poor organizational capacities of the Invisible Children, has been cited for its ineffectiveness in achieving its objectives. The organization is unable to account for most of the funds and support with only about 30 per cent of funds being used for direct services. Lastly, the Invisible Children do not have a clear way forward on how they intend to deal with the children rescued from Kony.
invisiblechildreninc. (2012, March 5). Kony2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012, from youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc
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