About one week ago, Invisible Children, a US based organisation launched a campaign dubbed Kony2012. The campaign has since attracted the attention of millions of people worldwide. As Women Civil Society groups in Uganda, we have watched the campaign video and we believe that at the present time, it is out of context regarding the real issues of the conflict in Uganda.
We therefore want to draw the world’s attention to the issues that we believe are of importance to the sufferers and survivors of this conflict.
- For the last twenty six years, a lot has been done by different stakeholders in Uganda including the women’s movement, human rights organisations, the academia, International Development Partners, and bilateral agencies in response to the atrocities of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The government of Uganda took an effort to end this war through the Juba peace process. Even when Kony failed to sign this agreement, government put in place a recovery framework that has been collectively implemented by the stakeholders.It is therefore not correct to say that nothing has been done in the last 26 years.
Some of the work by the civil society movement includes supporting the reconstruction efforts for the victims and advocating for holding the government of Uganda accountable while working towards ending the conflict. Women Civil Society groups in Uganda have been pushing for gender sensitive programs in the affected areas that put women at the centre of all reconstruction and recovery efforts.
- While the idea of this campaign against the LRA leader Joseph Kony is welcome, the steam it has created overshadows the real concerns of the sufferers and survivors of this conflict in Uganda. Many former child soldiers and former abductees, women and girls are now struggling with so many challenges such as reproductive health problems, post traumatic stress disorders, food insecurity and livelihood support among others. Due to war, there are many infrastructural challenges facing the entire population and health problems like the nodding disease now affecting children in North and North Eastern Uganda. Capturing or killing Kony however does not put an end to the suffering of these survivors immediately.
- We do realise that a lot of money has been/may be raised through this campaign dubbed Kony 2012. As the women’s movement, we believe that the biggest percentage of this fundraising should be used to support the various recovery efforts mentioned above.
In addition, we urge the people behind this campaign to focus on the countries where Kony is operating at the moment. Young children, women and men in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and Central African Republic are facing similar atrocities suffered when Kony was still active in Uganda. It is important for this campaign to emphasise redeeming the affected population where Kony is presently active.
Kony no longer abducts children on the soil of Uganda