Uganda’s government took to the internet to correct a ‘false impression’ about the country which was created by a US celebrity-backed online campaign to hunt down fugitive warlord Joseph Kony.
“Uganda is not in conflict. Uganda is a modern, developing country which enjoys peace, stability and security,” officials said, insisting that the Kony 2012 video did not represent the current situation in the east African nation. A video shot by the Invisible Children group about Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army has achieved 100 million views.
“The Kony 2012 campaign fails to make one crucial point clear. Joseph Kony is not in Uganda,” Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi said in a 9-minute video posted on YouTube.
Wanted by the International Criminal Court, Kony is accused of abducting children to use as fighters and sex slaves and is said to have a fondness for hacking off limbs, writes The Independent.
Having created his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the 1980s, Kony terrorised large parts of Uganda but his reign of terror has subsided since 2005. Now Kony is now reported to have at his disposal only a few hundred followers, scattered in remote jungle hideouts in neighbouring countries.
‚ÄúThe campaign has not just been an impressive indication of the power of social media, far more importantly it has demonstrated the fundamental decency which unites in concern right-minded people throughout the world when we see innocent people suffering,‚ÄĚ added Mbabazi.
‚ÄúIt is particularly welcoming to see so many young people uniting across barriers of nation, race, religion and culture to take a stand for justice,’ he added.
Mbabazi added Uganda was on Kony’s trail. “You may all be assured that the Government of Uganda is acutely aware of the grievous damage which has been caused to our people by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army. We do not need a slick video on YouTube for us to take notice.”
Jason Russell, the author of the Kony 2012, was detained in San Diego on Friday for disorderly conduct after reportedly being drunk, naked and masturbating in public. He is reported to be taken to a mental facility for observation.
His wife, Danica Russell revealed that the filmmaker took criticism of the film very hard. She said Jason’s family will take care of him, but has urged people to continue the work of searching for Ugandan-born warlord Joseph Kony.¬†Russell and his group have been criticised for errors in the film and questions about the campaign’s goals.
‚ÄúThere is no historical context. It‚Äôs more like a fashion thing,‚ÄĚ said Timothy Kalyegira, a well-known social critic in Uganda who once published a newsletter called The Uganda Record.
‚ÄúAll this hoopla about Kony and his murderous activities is good in a sense that it helps inform those who didn‚Äôt know the monster that Kony is. But of course, this is too late,‚ÄĚ Uganda‚Äôs defence ministry spokesman Felix Kulayigye promised earlier.
‚ÄúIt might take long but we‚Äôll catch Kony, dead or alive. How many years did it take to end the conflict in Northern Ireland? So our hunt for Kony can take long but it will end one day,‚ÄĚ he added.