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Many Ugandans frustrated, suspicious of Kony 2012 [Video]

March 8, 2012 | 12:21 pm

The viral video campaign that put the name “Joseph Kony” atop Google searches and Twitter trends has stirred up frustration in Uganda, where the crimes of the infamous guerrilla leader are nothing new.

"The war is much more complex than just one man called Joseph Kony," Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire argues in the YouTube video above, saying the campaign gives a dated picture of Uganda. She added, "This is another video where I see an outsider trying to be a hero, rescuing African children."

Some Ugandans complained that with Kony out of the country, problems like nodding disease were far more important than capturing the militia leader. Others were suspicious of the aims of the San Diego-based nonprofit Invisible Children that put out the wildly popular video.

Here are some more Ugandan takes on the campaign by Invisible Children to stop Kony:

Angelo Izama, journalist and founder of the Fanaka Kwawote think tank based in Kampala: "The Kony 2012 campaign will primarily succeed in making Invisible Children, not Joseph Kony, more famous. It will also make many, including P.Diddy, feel like they have contributed some good to his capture. For many in the conflict prevention community, including those who worry about the further militarization of Central Africa, this campaign is just another bad solution to a more difficult problem."

TMS Ruge, co-founder of online platform Project Diaspora: "This IC campaign is a perfect example of how fund-sucking NGO’s survive. “Raising awareness” (as vapid an exercise as it is) on the level that IC does, costs money. Loads and loads of money. Someone has to pay for the executive staff, fancy offices, and well, that 30-minute grand-savior, self-crowning exercise in ego stroking — in HD — wasn’t free. In all this kerfuffle, I am afraid everyone is missing the true aim of IC’s brilliant marketing strategy. They are not selling justice, democracy or restoration of anyone’s dignity. This is a self-aware machine that must continually find a reason to be relevant."

Julian Mwine, communications consultant: "Kony is a terrible man, everyone knows that. But it doesn’t go beyond raising the issue, something that has been around for a really long time. ... Whatever intervention is suggested, there needs to be more focus on keeping the army accountable. To monitor their activities. Armies from all these three countries have their own issues. If you are not watched or held accountable, you’re making a situation that is already bad worse."

Fred Opolot, Ugandan government spokesman, quoted in the Telegraph: “It is totally misleading to suggest that the war is still in Uganda. I suspect that if that’s the impression they are making, they are doing it only to garner increasing financial resources for their own agenda.”

Musa Okwonga, British-born writer of Ugandan descent, blogging in the Independent: "[T]hough President [Yoweri] Museveni must be integral to any solution to this problem, I didn’t hear him mentioned once in the 30-minute video. I thought that this was a crucial omission. Invisible Children asked viewers to seek the engagement of American policymakers and celebrities, but -- and this is a major red flag -- it didn’t introduce them to the many Northern Ugandans already doing fantastic work both in their local communities and in the diaspora. It didn’t ask its viewers to seek diplomatic pressure on President Museveni’s administration."

Stephen Obeli, poet, via Twitter: Alan Kasujja, radio host, via Twitter: John Kimbe, radio host, via Twitter: Timothy Kalyegira, journalist, via Twitter: Sarah Akelly, student and blogger, via Twitter:


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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Video: Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire responds to the Kony 2012 campaign. Credit: YouTube