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Wednesday 10 November 2010

Diversionary Tactic? Uganda and Its Civil War

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 23rd December 2009

Is the Museveni regime's Anti-Homosexuality Bill a diversionary tactic to mask its real impotence against Lords Resistance Army insurgents?

Yoweri Museveni - the President of Uganda
Granted, the Museveni regime has a damning record itself in terms of unregulated army violence, suppression of human rights, civil liberties and opposition parties. The governing National Resistance Movement's "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" can be seen as part of this miserable patchwork of depredations in this dire country.

However, there may be another side to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Since Yoweri Museveni seized power in 1986, he has been battling an insurgency from Northern Uganda, known collectively as the "Lords Resistance Army." After that happened, many Acholi tribal community members gravitated toward Alice Lakewenya, a spiritualist, who founded an anti-regime "Holy Spirit Battalion" slightly later. The movement practices a blend of Christianity and popular spiritualism and animism and although it was initially defeated after it marched on Kampala, the survivors regrouped into a new paramilitary organisation, the Lords Resistance Army. Despite its anti-regime nature, the LRA are no saints. They routinely abduct children, forcing them to become soldiers or child prostitutes, often through killing their own parents.

The LRA is a cult. When its child soldiers are inducted into the army, they undergo rituals that consecrate them to the service of Joseph Konya, the LRA leader. They are then starved, beaten and sexually abused until they submit to his will. Although the LRA has its roots in Northern Uganda's Acholi communities, the latter rejected their tactics and have been exposed to its ravages as a consequence of Konya's anger at his former tribal community. Many international humanitarian and child relief agencies have drawn attention to the particular plight of children within this tragedy. What's worse, the insurgency is spreading. The LRA now has outposts in neighbouring Congo and Sudan.

As much as we despise the Museveni regime for its actions against LGBT Ugandans, it is worth remembering that this is but a single aspect of a wider ordeal for that wretched nation's inhabitants. The international community needs to offer assistance to end the grim toll of death, displacement, abuse and civil conflict that the regime and LRA engage in, heedless of its peoples enduring misery at the hands of both.


Steve Rabey: "Terrorising the Innocents in Uganda: Religion Plays a Role in the Lords Resistance Army" Christian Research Journal 28: 2: 2005: 6-8:

[NB: Although this is a fundamentalist resource, the quality of its news coverage of this issue is excellent. Read with that caveat in mind]

Craig Young - 23rd December 2009

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