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Africa’s elite and the elite internationally have concluded the African Development Bank’s 50th anniversary celebrations and annual meeting under the theme: “The Next 50 Years: The Africa We Want.” Over 3,500 delegates, seven African heads of state, the governor of the Central Bank of China and the U.S. deputy secretary of treasury were among the dignitaries. Beneath the confident calm, Africa is on edge, and the participants in Kigali were aware.
The Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan all share borders. Each of these three countries is now engulfed in tribal or religious sectarian violence, and Uganda, a longtime U.S. military partner, has troops in both the Central African Republic and South Sudan. U.S. Special Forces have been on the ground with Ugandan troops in both countries since 2011.
An AP newswire posted to outlets all over the world said that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has sent 500 troops to join a Uganda-led military effort to hunt down Joseph Kony, the fugitive head of the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA rebel group, bringing the number of African soldiers deployed against the LRA up to 3,350, assisted by U.S. Special Forces.
Joseph Kabila was in Kampala Nov. 20 meeting with Rwanda’s Gen. Paul Kagame and Uganda’s Gen. Yoweri Museveni as the Congo city of Goma fell. Why would Kabila be in Uganda when the UN in a report by a group of experts found that M23, the army that seized Goma, was created, trained, financed and is sustained and commanded by Rwandan and Ugandan officers?
Cholera has broken out in the internally displaced persons camps growing again in eastern Congo, as Congolese people flee the war which, with backing from the Kagame regime in Kigali, Rwanda, resumed in April. The cholera outbreak has sparked fears of an epidemic. Now drenching rain is adding to the refugees’ misery. U.S. Special Forces are in the region, but not to hunt for Joseph Kony. It’s a military operation to secure oil and other African resources and limit Chinese access.
The Congo conflict and human catastrophe has continued despite a 2003 peace treaty. It entered a new phase with the Rwandan backed CNDP rebellion in the Kivu Provinces in April 2012. Ugandan reporter, television producer and broadcaster Paul Ndiho told KPFA that everyone knows who is doing what in Congo, but that regional and international powers are unwilling to stop it.
The Kony 2012 campaign is still taking heat over its portrayal of Africans as victims whose only hope lay in the actions – and wallets – of white saviors. And critics say it’s that centuries-old narrative that’s in part responsible for the campaign’s viral success. The white savior complex isn’t just a familiar narrative – it’s a lucrative one.
The LRA is a raggedy bunch of a few hundred at most, poorly equipped, poorly armed and poorly trained. Addressing the problem called the LRA does not call for a military operation. Rather than the reason for accelerated military mobilization in the region, the LRA is the excuse for it. Alas, this message has no room in the Invisible Children video that ends with a call to arms.
A vicious land grab is being carried out in Uganda, pairing the country’s dictator with an ‘investor,’ and the targets are the Acholi, genocide survivors who live in the northern part of the East African country, on abundant, fertile and mineral-rich land.
Sen. Barbara Boxer co-sponsored the LRA Disarmament Act, even though it strengthens the hand of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, whose human rights record includes not only war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, but also the criminalization of homosexuality, with a penalty of 14 years to life.
If a person really cared about human suffering – torture, mass rape, pillage, torching of homes with people alive inside, targeted rapes to spread HIV/AIDS, burying people alive, chopping off of limbs – then such a person would condemn these acts wherever they may occur and demand that the perpetrators of the crimes be brought to justice.
Now while all these militias, rebel groups and armies have been causing horrific wars at great cost to human lives in central Africa, so-called developed countries have been enjoying a lifestyle that is sustained in large part by the resources that come from Africa. The DRC supplies the world's diamonds, coltan, tantalite, oil and so forth.