Saturday 17th March2012
Today Saturday the 17th of March 2012, The Prime Minister of Uganda Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi responded to the “Kony 2012”video posted on YouTube by the Invisible Children organization.
In his address he saluted the interest of the international community saying ‘It is particularly welcome to see so many young people uniting across barriers of nation, race, religion and culture to stand up for justice.”
The Prime Minister reaffirmed the commitment of the government through the police, defense forces and security services to track down Joseph Kony from his current location in Uganda’s neighboring countries to attain his arrest and prosecution.
The video posted by the Prime Minister points out that the Kony 2012 campaign failed to make one crucial fact clear. “Joseph Kony is not in Uganda” and correcting the false impression created by the video that Uganda is a war torn, unstable country. Rather he states that it is “a modern, developing country which enjoys peace, stability and security”.
Prime Minister Mbabazi today issued an invitation to not only each of the 20 “celebrity culture makers” identified in the Kony 2012 video but extended to all the opportunity to visit Uganda for themselves. Here the Prime Minister has said “You will find a very different place to that portrayed by Invisible Children”.
For God and my Country
TRANSCRIPTION OF THE PRIME MINISTER’S MESSAGE IN RESPONSE TO THE “KONY 2012” VIDEO
My name is Amama Mbabazi.
I am the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda.
In recent days there has been a massive wave of interest in Uganda as a result of the “Kony 2012” video posted on YouTube by the Invisible Children organization.
As I speak to you today almost 80 million people have watched the film. It has been shared across social media and been widely discussed throughout the globe.
The 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 hear of innocent children suffering. I must say that it has been inspiring for me despite the cynicism and solipsism of the modern world to be reminded once again of the innate goodness which is at the heart of humanity.
It is particularly welcome to see so many young people uniting across barriers of nation, race, religion and culture to take a stand for justice.
I salute you and I thank you.
That is not to say that this goodness is all pervasive. One point made in the Kony 2012 video is undeniable – Joseph Kony is truly an evil man. He has been responsible for the death and mutilation of tens of thousands of people – many of whom were children. What’s more he has been responsible for the death of innocence for many many more through forcing children to take up arms and join his so-called army or become sex-slaves; repeatedly raped and defiled.
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. It is a tragedy which we have been dealing with for many years; and the scars of which we Ugandans will bear for many years to come.
Our police, defence forces and security services are all fully committed to the arrest and prosecution of Joseph Kony. We have been working with the agencies of our neighbours and allies to bring about precisely that scenario – but the Kony 2012 campaign fails to make one crucial point clear.
Joseph Kony is not in Uganda.
Intelligence and security agencies throughout the world are in accord. The United Nations and the CIA agree that Joseph Kony has not based his criminal organization in Uganda since 2006.
Current intelligence suggests that the LRA has been all but defeated. Far from boasting tens of thousands of illegal combatants, there are just a couple of hundred. They are believed to be based in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The LRA were forced out of Uganda by our police, defence and security services six years ago – a fact recognized by the Norwegian NGO, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre which noted the return of those forced from their homes by the LRA. They commented that this was as a result of “lasting peace” in the previously effected areas; and so I must correct the false impression created by the Kony 2012 video.
Uganda is not in conflict.
Uganda is a modern, developing country which enjoys peace, stability and security. Only a couple of months ago Lonely Planet declared Uganda as the best country to visit in 2012!
Invisible Children has called on 20 “celebrity culture makers” to take an interest in their Kony 2012 campaign. I welcome this. In fact I have gone further. Today I personally contacted each of those 20 international celebrities and invited them to visit Uganda.
I would take great pride in showing to them the beauty of our country and sharing with them the warmth of our people. I would particularly like to accompany them to visit the areas of Northern Uganda which did suffer so much at the hands of Joseph Kony and the LRA. They will see the efforts which the Government of Uganda and our partners have made to regenerate these areas through investment in schools, healthcare, transport and infrastructure. More important than that, they will meet the people who lost family members to the murderous gangs of the LRA, whose children were abducted – never to be seen again and those who were forced to flee. I am sure they would come away from the experience sharing my deep and abiding respect for those who have rebuilt their homes, communities and lives with such determination and pride.
Joseph Kony is a villain. But this story also has heroes. Chief among those are the people who survived the LRAs campaign of terror and refused to be beaten by them.
We still face massive challenges in regenerating and developing the areas which the LRA decimated in northern Uganda. We have begun the process of improving the infrastructure and social services, but there is a great deal left to do. Fortunately, we benefit from great support from our international partners and NGOs. I hope that this focus on Uganda will assist us in raising funds to assist in rebuilding these previously ravaged communities.
Once again, I thank you for taking an interest in our proud nation and I extend the invitation not just to the 20 celebrities, but to you all – come and see Uganda for yourself. You will find a very different place to that portrayed by Invisible Children.
Prime Minister of The Republic of Uganda Rt. Hon Amama Mbabazi.