Friday March 7 2014

How come culprits of war crimes were not brought to justice?

By Joseph Ochieno

The global attention Uganda and its ruler for 28 years Yoweri Museveni attained in recent weeks is unprecedented, all for a revamped anti-gay legislation (2014) enacted. With it, a section of Ugandans has treated Museveni as a ‘liberator’, from a massive white-man’s-gay invasion.

In reaction, an eminent journalist vowed online, to join President Museveni’s army, should America ‘threaten’ to invade. The scribe in question hails from one of the regions that NRA nearly razed to the ground 26-years-ago, as they built foundation for long rule.

Another claimed opponent of Museveni and alleged witness of NRA atrocities in eastern Uganda wrote on their facebook wall that they could as well ‘now vote’ for Museveni in 2016, as if their opposition had all along been based on Museveni’s perceptions of sex or for that matter moral, and not political track record.

As if to confirm while contradicting this moralist crusade, Museveni told CNN’s Zain Verjee in an interview that homosexuality is ‘unnatural and disgusting’, never supported the practice and nor do Ugandans. A ‘no-go-area’ and the West should not attempt to tread.’

All nice and well and as Ms Verjee correctly asserted, the majority public opinion in Uganda is hugely against homosexuality. Museveni the schemer knows and played it perfectly, only for the West to just aid his theatrics and public opinion, with their selective responses to issues-human-rights in Uganda.

How else can Museveni or the US, the British, Norway, the European Union, Amnesty International and their hypocritical representatives in Uganda explain well documented rape and human rights abuses -akin to war crimes and crimes against humanity- committed in the country over the last 28 years, especially in northern and eastern Uganda?

How can Museveni explain circumstances of sodomy and other male and female rapes reported hereunder? A pregnant mother is repeatedly raped by several soldiers, the pregnancy demises and she later dies. Her husband is male-raped by three soldiers.

Since Museveni has now told the world that Ugandans have never supported these acts, how terrible an experience it must have been, for victims who never consented, many abominably humiliated in front of their families? As double victims; should their culprits face double penalty?

Unless Museveni has used the legislation to manipulate the naturally-sleepy, ever-unsuspecting Ugandans, these rape victims need compensation and justice and Ugandans too, need explanation as to how ‘strange’ acts by men on men became art and weapons of war.

The vigour and ‘leadership’ recently portrayed, should be used to examine the ‘disgusting’ acts 28-years-ago and commission a national enquiry to ensure there are no links between the current perpetrators and promoters of these practices like the ones here-referred:

After reviewing these links, I have nothing but contempt for Museveni’s ‘new opponents and critics’ in the West. They came, entrenched, legitimised, heaped praise and helped in the concealment of human rights abuses in Uganda. They bravely, unashamedly and comfortably lived with the monster, feeding it to now-near invincibility.

And while Museveni’s law makers (all clad in military combat and no one asks why) were clapping for their tummies when he made the announcement, the ‘born-again crusader-against-sexual-abuse’ was lamenting poverty as a critical reason for young people being ‘nurtured’ into the practice.

As usual, most people play bandwagon-politics, rallying African homophobia against those ‘terrible’ gays, and none mentions the billions looted from the exchequer, electoral reforms and significantly, none dares President Museveni on what he is up to, in South Sudan. What a ‘smart’ diversion. And lest we forget, while unemployment is at 83 per cent and the national wealth is restricted to a handful of ‘families and friends’, the moralists-in-charge have legalised gambling enabling some university students to ‘bet’ away their fees, without parental or guardian “knowledge”, thanks to other vices like drug addiction.

Considering that until I left Uganda (for exile) in 1987, I had no clue about the now-legislative ‘definition’ of gay, could globalisation (Museveni has been a top Africa agent) and the increased politicisation of poverty, wealth and resources in Uganda have nurtured and compelled a desperate population to trade their bodies-for-money by any-styles available? Before some defensive, dubious statistics -fudged with the help of IMF and World Bank in America - are scattered over our ‘sleepy eyes’, what has been the constant all these years, Mr Museveni?
Mr Ochieno is former UPC member of Cabinet/Spokesman .