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Attack On LRA: Acholi MPs Oppose Renewed Offesive

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Acholi MPs oppose renewed offensive

Risdel Kasasira
Kampala

The chairman of Acholi Parliamentary Group, Livingston Okello-Okello said last night that the Acholi sub-region is against the renewed offensive against the LRA rebels because many of the rebel fighters are abductees. “Over 99 per cent of the LRA fighters are abductees,” Mr Okello told Daily Monitor, “therefore we oppose and condemn [the attack].”

Mr Okello said Kony has been a problem to the DRC after fleeing northern Uganda and being forced out of Southern Sudan “I wonder why they had to follow him in Garamba”.

Mwambutsya Ndebesa, a political scientist from Makerere University, described the joint operation between UPDF, SPLA and DRC as a new era in the region’s geopolitics. “It is something new and positive to see a concerted effort against negative forces,” he said.

Yesterday’s attack follows a decision reached at a high-powered meeting of all security chiefs in the region held last June in an undisclosed venue in Uganda.

Uganda’s Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Aronda Nyakairima chaired the meeting that was attended by his Congolese counterpart Gen. Amuri, other Congolese generals, a MONUC officer and SPLA military chiefs.

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Written by torit1955

December 17, 2008 at 9:50 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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Uganda: How Assault on LRA Was Executed

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How the attack was planned, executed

Grace Matsiko, Risdel Kasasira & Paul Amoru

Kampala

Sunday’s lightning raid by a joint force of Ugandan, Congolese and South Sudanese forces on Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army rebel camps was the culmination of months of preparation by the UPDF as a Plan B in case the Juba peace talks failed, Daily Monitor can reveal.

UPDF Attack of LRA Bases in Garamba National Park - 15 December 2008

UPDF Attack of LRA Bases in Garamba National Park - 15 December 2008

Many of the military drills for the exercise were done in Barlege in Lira, in Kitgum, in Gulu and Singo military training camp in Mubende, according to officers who participated in the preparations spanning over six months.

The crack unit now deployed in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo to hunt for Kony comprised several elements of the UPDF. The combat troops were picked from the air force, armoured brigade, intelligence, commando unit, marines and paratroopers.

Military sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, told Daily Monitor that preparations for ‘Plan B’ began in June when President Museveni issued an order recalling Brig. Patrick Kankiriho from the UPDF 3rd Division in Moroto, where he was a division commander, to camp in Pader.

He was later followed by Lt. Col. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the First son who is also the commander of the Special Forces after he was discharged from the Presidential Guard Brigade to join the regular forces. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Col. Moses Rwakitarate, an equally young and energetic officer was drafted onto the team.

Meanwhile, the troops on the border regions, including those inside Sudan, were put under a new group in the UPDF that has come to be called the “new generation”. Most of the commanders in this group are said to be in their 40s and fairly better trained and educated than the older generation of army officers.

The military preparations were boosted by defections from the LRA ranks and bloody internal purges among its officers which saw the execution of Kony’s erstwhile deputy, Vincent Otti.

Under pressure from the international community, especially the United States, Kampala, Juba and Kinshasa then signed an agreement that would allow joint cross-border operations against rebel groups in the region.

This meant that the UPDF could follow the LRA across the border into DR Congo where the rebels had set up camp in the jungles of Garamba National Park, protected by the harsh terrain, the several thousand kilometres from Uganda’s borders, and the incompetence of the poorly armed, trained and paid DR Congo army.

At a meeting of regional security chiefs earlier in the year, different tasks were given to different actors and other countries in the Great Lakes region affected by activities of the LRA. Monuc forces pledged medical, food and other logistics for the foot soldiers of the United Front against Kony and his commanders, sources told Daily Monitor, while the UPDF and SPLA were tasked to provide intelligence for the mission. The Congolese forces were to take part in combat operations against the rebels.

With the pieces of the puzzle finally coming together, only one piece remained elusive; a peace deal had been agreed and a date – November 30 – pencilled in for Kony to sign. The more pacifist countries among the international community involved in the talks insisted on giving peace one more chance.

The United States had already shown its impatience with the stop-go nature of the talks earlier in the year when its top diplomat on Africa, Ms Jendayi Frazer said Washington would not sit by and watch while Kony re-armed in Garamba.

After one of his numerous no-shows at a signing ceremony in South Sudan, the US ambassador to Kampala, Mr Steven Browning said: “This latest failure to sign, combined with recent atrocities committed by the LRA in eastern Congo, indicate that the LRA leadership is not committed to peace. This in turn calls into question the value of continuing the efforts of regional and international facilitators to advance the Juba peace process.”

After Kony failed to turn up, yet again, on November 30 the pin finally dropped.
Early on Sunday, months of military preparation gave way to action when UPDF fighter jets took off from Yambio in the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA)-controlled territory of South Sudan and attacked LRA bases in Suke, Pilipili, Nyere, Garamba park and Bayoute, all in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Other attack helicopters swooned in from Dungu, where a DR Congo army brigade under the command of Col. Muhindo Mundosi has a base. As the air raids pounded rebel bases, infantry units closed in from Dungu, Yambio, Iba, Yei and Maridi, military sources said.

The rebel camps that came under lightning attacks were covering a distance of close to 100km.
Capt Chris Magezi, the operation’s spokesman, said Central African Republic was supportive of the UPDF operations in the area but could not commit forces because of internal problems.

Details of casualties on either side were not available by press time yesterday but this latest offensive, with its regional support and international backing, albeit covert, offers countries in the region the best chance to defeat one of the most notorious armed groups in the Great Lakes region. If successful, it could offer a working model for joint cross-border operations against other armed groups in the region.

Case Study from Uganda:Land (Amendment) Bill will divide Uganda, literally

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Land (Amendment) Bill will divide Uganda, literally

Livingstone Okello-Okello

Since the National Resistance Movement (NRM) shot its way to power in 1986, the land question has exercised the minds of Ugandans. The country has moved from one land controversy to another, ranging from the grabbing of private ranches to sub-dividing Lake Mburo National Park to the invasion of the east, north, central and part of the west by Balaalo herdsmen, to the Land (Amendment) Bill 2007, the land give –aways to the Temangalo land saga!

The concerns of the people of Uganda are not misplaced. To the majority of Ugandans, land is not just a factor of production. Land is the only means of survival; it is life; it is culture and above all, land is the basis of all power. It, therefore, follows that whoever wants to take away or grab your land, wants to take away your power and bring you under his/her direct control. In short, to enslave you.

As far as land is concerned, the behaviour of the NRM government is not completely different from that of the colonialists, who on arrival in Africa did everything they could to gain control of the best lands, using their powers to suppress and push the ‘natives’ to marginal areas. This happened in many countries including Azania (South Africa), Zimbabwe and Kenya. Land in Uganda is privately owned. It is difficult to understand why government insists that land should be its major pre-occupation.

The colonialists who took over the best lands in Africa did not do so without meeting some resistance. For example, the Chief of Khoi in Western Cape, in a land dispute with Jan Van Riebeeck, the first colonialist to arrive in Azania in 1652, asked: “who … with the greatest degree of justice, should give way to land; the natural owner or the foreign invader?”

Again in 1859 King Moshoeshoe had this to say: “I consider it most barbarous custom to alienate the land of the nation which they hold sacred. To us, all the property reared or nurtured on the land stolen from us, remains our property…”

Similar resistance to colonialists was put up here in Uganda. Omukama Kabalega of Bunyoro fought to the last drop of his blood; in Acholi, two clans, Lamogi and Paimol fought the white men and many people were killed.

The controversial Land (Amendment) Bill 2007 will soon be part of our laws despite an overwhelming opinion that it should be halted to give time for more consultation and the formulation of a land policy. Its sailing through Parliament can be taken for granted for basically one reason only: the enormous concentration of power in the Head of State, which makes it appear to me that Uganda is once again being ruled by decree, albeit indirectly. If the President decrees to the NRM caucus, who are the majority in Parliament and the caucus ratifies that decree on the floor of Parliament, what does it mean?

And yet the Land (Amendment) Bill 2007 if passed into law as it is, will divide the country down the middle. Those in customary land areas, about three-quarters of the country, will not accept the law. Equally, those in mailo land areas will as well reject the law, because it nationalises their interests in land without compensation. Any law which does not find acceptance among the citizenry will remain a dead law on the shelf. Idi Amin’s Land Reform Decree of 1975 is a good example.

The Bill is a clear indication that there is a north-south evil axis on land.
It should, however, be pointed out that more often than not, controversial land policy, land law or land grabbing results in loss of life. Examples are many in land studies. I will only mention two to illustrate the point.

The Land Law 1908, enacted by the Lukiiko imposed restrictions on the mailo owner’s ability to dispose of his land to one who was not of the Protectorate such as churches, foreign companies and other societies, except with the approval of the Lukiiko and the Governor. The mailo owner was also prohibited from leasing his land to one who was not of the Protectorate for a longer period than “one European year,” except with similar approval.

On July 25, 1945 Katikiro Martin Luther Nsibirwa, announced in a statement to the people of Buganda that a Bill had been tabled in Lukiiko for the sale of 2,200 acres of land at Namulonge to a British Company called Empire Cotton Growing Corporation (ECGC). The land was occupied by some small-holding families.

This Bill caused a lot of controversy and debate in Buganda, just like the Land (Amendment) Bill 2007 has done.

In spite of this, Lukiiko went ahead and in the afternoon of September 4, 1945 passed the Bill into law, sparking off spontaneous protests and demonstrations almost throughout Buganda. The demonstrators in Kampala mounted broadcasts on motorcycles and trucks and moved in all directions with the message. “They have sold the land”.

Within less than 24 hours from the passage of the Bill, the Katikiro was dead. His assassin, George William Semakula, a displaced lorry driver, shot him four bullets at close range in the morning of September 5, 1945 as he was about to enter Namirembe Cathedral for early morning prayers. Semakula was later arrested and arraigned in court charged with murder. His plea that he did not know how to shoot a gun did not save his life. He was punished with death.

In 1966, Dr Louis Leakey, a renown wildlife conservationist, invited Dian Fossy, a nurse from the United States of America to come to Africa and be in charge of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Forest, shared by Uganda, Rwanda and Zaire (now DR Congo). She came and stationed herself on the Rwanda side of the forest.

Dian Fossy soon clinched a financial deal with National Geographic Society for purchase of gorilla pictures at prices varying from $50 to $200 a piece. Any article she wrote about mountain gorillas and was published in a magazine or newspaper would fetch her $2,000.
As the business became more and more lucrative, Dian Fossy, without any authority, grabbed large chunks of land on the Rwanda side, bordering the forest for the expansion of the gorilla park. She then “persuaded” the gorillas on the Rwanda side to move to this newly “acquired” land.

When this was done, she attracted colonies of gorillas from both Uganda and Zaire (Congo) side to cross the borders and occupy the areas formerly occupied by the gorillas moved inside Rwanda.

Soon, stiff competition for land ensued between the gorillas and the people of Rwanda. The people of Rwanda having discovered that the white woman had expanded the gorilla park without authority, constituted themselves into a village court, arrested, tried, convicted and punished Dian Fossy, a millionaire, by execution.

In conclusion, it suffices to say that under the NRM administration, the land sector is, by design, in crisis. If not handled properly, the land question may permanently divide the country. Some parts of the country may be forced to seek self-determination, which is a human right.

Mr Okello Okello is MP, Chua Consituency, Kitgum

Written by torit1955

December 15, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Sounds Familiar?The Madhivanis’ thirst for Land in Northern Uganda must be shelved

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Readers,

Obargot Paabwola, a Ugandan writing about land policy and economic governance in Uganda, thoroughly analyzed the land policy is Uganda which is skewed to privatization of land in Northern Uganda thus leading to dispossession of the local communities who are yet to recover from two-decades of war. This is an excellent case study to our policy makers in South Sudan as external investors such as UAE, Egypt, Chinese and British invetors are now shirting their investment focus to farming to underdeveloped counties such as Sudan, Madagascar and Uganda.

Administrator

The Madhivanis’ thirst for Land in Northern Uganda must be shelved

Monday 15 December 2008 03:11.

By Obargot Paabwola

December 15, 2008 — I must begin by making an apology to readers for the length of this article which I am putting together. I am writing this long article because the issue I am addressing is of extreme importance: the question of land giveaways in Uganda, especially the land in Northern Uganda – Amuru District – where it is being alleged, the government of Uganda is scheming to take land away from the displaced locals in the area and give it to the Madhivanis to establish sugar plantation. So bare with me, and please take the time to read what I am going to say because I strongly believe and very strongly suggest Amuru land should not be given to the Madhivanis. There are better ways of bringing about development in Northern and Eastern Uganda which apparently Museveni’s regime has overlooked due to corruption and miss-governance. For many Ugandans, the name Madhivani does not invoke a lot of search in the back of their minds to know who he is. The Madhivani business gurus have been in Uganda for very long time; as long as anyone of my generation or even of the generations before me can remember. The Kakira Sugar plantation in Jinja, Busoga District, is owned and run by the Madhivanis; they have been running this plantation for ages; probably close to a century. The only time when the Madhivanis ran into trouble runing their investments in Uganda it was when General Idi Amin came to power in 1971, and for his nationalist penchant, booted all East Indians out of the country by 1972. General Idi Amin may have been an illiterate leader, but when it comes to nurturing and empowering indigenous population, he may have blundered kicking the East Indians out of the country, but putting his action in context, at least he delivered compared to Museveni who has been in power for 23 years so far. To General Idi Amin, one may argue that economically, Ugandans came first no matter the consequences – Uganda economy basically collapsing under his leadership. However, despite the collapse, had he stayed away from using brute force on some sections of Ugandan populations out fear of their disloyalty to his government, and also not provoked Tanzania’s government by attacking it in late 1978, the general may not have died in exile in Saudi Arabia even if the economy of the country was collapsing around him. I am not Amin’s apologist by any stretch, but when it comes to economic nationalism, I believe the man did the right thing. After all, before 1972 Ugandans were basically beggars, literally, in their own country. Most businesses then were run by East Indians. Their businesses were well established; spread out into even small towns across the country. Some of them were even selling stuffs in local markets. The indigenous populations, whom then were not savvy enough – as far as business acumen is concern – were basically reduced to consumerists of the East Indian goods. Their local economic activities, the proceeds of which, ended up into the coffers of these East Indian business moguls, making these people richer and richer by the day while the natives, poorer and poorer. It was only after General Idi Amin booted the East Indians out of the country when Ugandans began to taste what it means to run their own economy. After the 1972 revolution which saw many East Indians driven out of the country, shop ownerships among the indigenous population spread like wildfire. From Kampala, the capital city, to small village centres across the country, shop owners became none other than the indigenous people. Many Ugandans, who plunged into businesses head-on, commenced acquiring wealth despite the fact that they were not savvy enough to conduct sound businesses. At the time, what was important to them was the fact that they were now running their own economy despite the inefficiencies and level of corruption; the rest did not count very much. The honey moon however was short lived. For, by 1986 when the NRA/M came to power, after fighting a five years guerilla war, the populations of Uganda were set to be disenfranchised once again. It was therefore not long after the NRA/M came to power that the same East Indians who had been booted off the country by General Idi Amin – most of them had taken up refuge and citizenships in countries like Britain, Canada, The US, Australia, et cetera, were invited to come back. Today Uganda economy is basically back in their hands. Some of them are now running big businesses in the country – virtually controlling the economy. The likes of the Madhivanis control sugar productions in the country almost exclusively. Given their extensive connections in countries like Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, The US, the indigenous population are no match to these people as long as there are no government intervention on behalf of the indigenes. Uganda economy is therefore falling back into their hands perfectly – just like it was before General Idi Amin booted them off the country. Taking advantage of the NRA/M disdain for Ugandans generally – considering that 23 years has elapsed without any tangible development in the country – the East Indians are wasting no time to disenfranchised Ugandans one more time, and the Madhivanis are at the forefront of these disenfranchisements. Not only are the indigenous populations being disenfranchised in the area of business, land as well is becoming a very contentious issue, for some of these people are now scheming on taking even land from the indigenous populations. Currently there are claims that the Madhivanis are now venturing further and deeper into the countryside; into places they never dreamt of establishing their Sugar plantation businesses in before. Of particular concern and the reason for this lengthy write-up is the question of Amuru land in Northern Uganda. There are of course land wrangles almost all over the country. For instance, in Buganda region, the Baganda are furious that the government of Museveni is trying to take their land away and give it off to foreign investors. Recall the contentious issue of Mabira forest land giveaway the galvanized almost the entire nation into action, protesting violently, the giveawy of which Museveni’s government had to back down? It is therefore a foregone conclusion that the fallouts from these land wrangles are going to be dire should the NRA/M government proceed to dispossess the population of the country of their land. In that light therefore, I will like to touch on the confrontation between Northern Ugandan population and Museveni’s regime, over the question of giving away Amuru land to the Madhivanis. The question of Amuru land thus far has been in the news for some time now despite the fact that the local population also, who have for the last 20 years suffered immensely due to the war between the NRA/M government and the LRA/M, made their position very clear they do not want their land given away to any foreign investors. Just like the Baganda in the South, the locals in the North are also furious and do not want their land tempered with or simply forcefully taken away from them and sold to foreign investors; at least not now. The important thing to note on this contentious issue is that what the Madhivanis and the government of Uganda are up to in Northern Uganda is, trying to buy off land from the locals, especially in Amuru District so that the subjugation and despoliation of the population in the region continues. Recall that these are people who have been under war for the last two decades and the entire populations were forcefully herded into camps. Recall also that the very tactics being used currently by the Democratic Republic of Congo rebels, the CNDP, of shooting on sight, any able bodied young men the rebels come across were also used by the NRA on the population of Northern and Eastern Uganda. I personally lost a few of my classmates that way; they were simply gun down because they were deemed potential recruits into the rebel ranks. With such gruesome crimes on the populations, why would someone want to take advantage of the population’s situation – majority of who still live in the dilapidated camps – and dispossess them of their ancestral land? There is nothing the government of Museveni is up to save, to try and take advantage of the diabolical situation in the region given the over 20 years of war that virtually rendered the entire population of Northern Uganda the poorest in the country, to dispossess them of their land. It appears, to the government, whatever the position of the people of Northern Uganda, the land must be taken away and given to the Madhivanis. The people of the North have made it abundantly clear, and on many occasion – through their leaders – that they do not want their land sold to any foreign investors! Members of parliament from the region have communicated this message many times to both the Madhivanis and the NRA/M government. Yet the government of Museveni keeps pushing the envelope so the land are taken away and given to the Madhivanis to establish a Sugar plantation in the area. What part of ’we do not want our land given to any foreign investors’ do the Musevenis and the Madhivanis not understand? The people of Northern Uganda have said “NO!” to this venture and that is what must count; not pushing the envelope and provoking the population. The bogus arguments by the Museveni’s regime that the government of Uganda in collaborations with other players are engaged in bringing in development through wooing foreign investors into the country to come and invest, are at best mediocre arguments. First of all, the Madhivanis have been in Uganda for almost a better part of a century. If foreign investors bring development into a country, what development have the Madhivanis brought, for instance, to Jinja municipality to begin with, let alone Busoga District where they own Kakira Sugar works and have owned it for decades? Despite years and years of running Kakira Sugar works, the Madhivani investments in Jinja have brought absolutely zero development in the area. Jinja infrastructures are still the same old infrastructure left behind by colonialists. The Owen falls dam for instance where hydro electric power station is built, and that supply the country with electricity – situated right beside Jinja town – is falling apart because of ware and tears. These ware and tears are the reasons why electricity supply in the country is quite erratic and in many cases, the country goes without electricity for weeks! Does it make sense that a country like Uganda, which has no manufacturing base that would consume high volume of electric supply, goes for weeks without electricity yet it has hydro electric power station situated in her second largest city? Also, poverty in Jinja and surrounding area are as high as that of Northern Uganda where 20 years of war has devastated the populations. Transportation alone is terribly lacking in Jinja. People who work in Kakira Sugar plantation cannot live in Jinja town; they must live in the plantation for various reasons including lack of adequate transport systems. What kind of foreign investors are the Musevenis and their NRA/M government talking about then when even streets in Kampala are potholed to the max, enough to attract foreign tourists? The merely labour employment in Kakira Sugar works cannot be considered gainful employment; their meager incomes don’t even contribute to one-tenth of Jinja economy. The overwhelming majority of the populations of Jinja who support Jinja economy do not work in the plantation. The plantation workers are merely people who are being used, abused and exploited by the Madhivanis. What kind of employment and development are the Musevenis talking of then with their grand plan to establish another plantation farm in Northern Uganda? There is no such thing as “foreign investors bring development in a country”. Such blanket statement is misleading. In UAE where foreign investments are bearing fruits, the foreign investments are carefully attracted and sedately designed and tailored – through rules and regulations – towards particular industries, in this case, promotion of tourism. Besides, the UAE had to make sure, by law, that their citizens are accorded utmost treatments such that when it comes to providing services, the UAE citizens must always come first. This means foreign investors must play by the rules or get kicked out of the country. Foreign investments in UAE are not merely wooed into the country in jumble; they are tailored for particular industries, while the government of UAE handles the rest of the economic sectors. This is true as well of Macao in the Philiphines. Foreign investments in Macao are tailored toward promoting tourism. Consequently most investments in that Island are directed towards putting in place infrastructure that support gaming and casino industry. If you look at Macao and UAE economies today, you will find that they are the fastest growing. This is because of prioritizing foreign investments based on the locations and situations of these countries. In Africa, leaders like Museveni would rather, foreign investments be invited anyhow, and are granted rights in all sectors. Governments therefore absolve themselves of any responsibilities to their citizens. Yet foreign investors always work to maximize their profits and not to cater for citizens of a country. Where laws are lax like in Uganda therefore, foreign investors do quickly take advantage of the laxity in laws to rapidly build their wealth. Whether citizens are suffering or not, is none of their business. That is why the plantation workers in Kakira Sugar works owned by the Madhivanis are suffering to this day under dilapidated working environment and meagre wages. For, as long as the Madhivanis pay whatever money they agreed to pay to the government, what they do with their plantation workers is none of the government’s business! That is why up to today, the plantation workers in Kakira Sugar works are still the same armies of poverty-stricken men and women who came from all over the country in search of employment many years past but ever since have never developed beyond cutting sugar cane in the plantation farm! Some of them have even failed, for all these many years, to travel to their home villages because they cannot afford transportation costs. How could they when Museveni’s regime has privatized public transport system as well? Despite the fact that these people are employed by the Madhivanis, their conditions have not changed in all these decades. The work environment has not changed; the pays are as meager as ever; probably the same pay as it was before General Amin took action to reclaim Uganda economy. The plantation workers therefore live like slaves literally. Even worse is the fact that these plantation workers’ rights are being violated or trampled upon left, right, and centre. Recently when the workers embarked on exercising their workers’ rights through protests and demonstrations, demanding that there be improvements in their work environment, including pays, what happened? Museveni’s government instead chose to dispatch gun wielding security forces into the plantation settlement in order to forcefully bring the protests to an end as if Kakira Sugar works is the last remaining plantation of the infamous American plantations of the slavery era where African slaves suffered gross inhumanity. The government of Museveni took this action because they believe there can never be consequences; after all they have for all these years been using heavy handedness on the populations of Uganda with impunity. Second, if foreign investments bring development in a country why is it that Uganda, under the current pro-foreign investors regime, failed miserably in the last 23 years from registering development of any kind? It has been 23 years since Museveni took power yet there are no tangible development in the country. All indices that show whether a country is developed or developing, point to the opposite – that Uganda is not developing. The human development index for instance indicates that Uganda is terribly underdeveloped. People are suffering from all kinds of diseases including malaria and aids. No tangible development has been made in this area to help ease the sufferings. Uganda health industry is in shamble. Referral hospitals like Mulago in Kampala operate without drugs and medical instruments; sometime the hospital carries expired drugs! Outside the cities and towns, health centres don’t exist. People suffer all kinds of sickness like animals; others die and others survive due to their immune systems resisting and fighting off the diseases. Yet we have leaders in Kampala who gloat about wooing into the country foreign investments. Also, the economic development index is as dismal as it can ever get! Uganda does not manufacture any kinds of goods. So the manufacturing industry does not exist. In the area of agriculture, the country does not seem to have any policies governing agricultural industry. There seems to have been attempts to promote private large scale farming in the past. But the country does not have anything to show for that. Most agricultural productions are therefore carried out on the basis of subsistence agricultural. Because of this, the people are barely feeding themselves. In places like the North and East where wars have been raging on for two decades, even subsistence agriculture is dead. People in these areas are being fed by NGOs. Further, infrastructure wise, the government of Museveni has put in place absolutely nothing in 23 years. Roads almost do not exist. Access to places outside the city simply is impossible in many cases. The very roads that were prepared by colonialists are the very roads that are still being used today. Even worse, most are not tarmarcked and become out of use whenever it rains heavily. Even roads within the cities and towns that are tarmarcked, potholes have eaten them off to the point of being useless for human use. Also, Uganda railway is still the same railway system left behind by colonialists. There has never been improvement or expansion of the railway system. The railway wagons are still the same including the railway tracks. Now, here is a government that is fighting tooth and nail to promote foreign investors’ businesses and is hell bent on selling Amuru land to the Madhivanis. A government that, on its own, cannot provide basic, simple but necessary services to its citizens! How can such a government claims to be working with foreign investors in order to create jobs and bring in development? They have failed to create jobs on their own, 23 years of the time, and the plantation workers of Kakira Sugar works owned by Madhivani cannot even afford to feed their immediate families! By what magic are they going to change the conditions in Northern Uganda through establishing the same kind of sugar plantation? And to crown it all, out of all these, we should not forget that the country’s budgets are, year after year, being propped up by donor nations to the tune of 50%. If foreign investors bring development into a country why is it that Uganda government is unable to meet its budgetary requirements? Why is it that foreign investments that the Musevenis keep singing about have failed to help eased all these dire conditions stipulated? Are the foreign investments the Musevenis talk about wooing into the country a different kind of foreign investments? Although corruption is fraught in the country, it would be advisable to note that foreign investors always look for their own interests through profit repatriations, which might explain why the Madhivanis have not been able to transform Kakira Sugar plantation. The question then is, why would Museveni, if the president really has sound judgement, wants to give Amuru land to the Madhivanis when the same Madhivanis have done absolutely nothing in terms of econmic and gainful employment development in Jinja? The resume of the Madhivanis are a matter of public record for all to see. Why is Museveni’s regime failing to see glaring failures in the resume? Matter of poor jugdement? Can the NRA/M government explain the apparent dilapidated state of economy of the country to the populations therefore before talking of giving Amuru land to the Madhivanis? We have an entire population of Northern Uganda rendered unproductive after having killed so many in a war they did not understand the reasons for! How then can the Musevenis and the Madhivanis keep pushing for an already overburden population in Northern Uganda to be dispossessed of their land when the same Madhivani has nothing to show out of Kakira Sugar plantation? What moral authority do the Musevenis and Madhivanis have to keep on insisting on the notion of acquiring land in Amuru for another Madhivani Sugar plantation when the Madhivani Sugar works in Kakira cannot even provide acceptable working environment and conditions for the armies of poor Ugandans working the Kakira sugar plantation – they have not been able to provide acceptable working environment for years and years? The people of Uganda cannot be disenfranchised through hypocritical claims of bringing in foreign investors. The history of NRA/M government is replete with failed economic policies because of poor judgement, and the increased number of poverty-stricken populations is proof. Ugandans know all these. Foreign investment does not bring development for a country. Foreign investment only suplements a country’s economy, which can lead to speeding up the country’s economic growth provided there are favourable conditions. Things like infrastructure and skilled population must already be in place for any foreign investments to contribute to economic development. Unfortunately in Uganda, all the above are lacking. There is therefore nothing NRA/M regime can do as from today that can bring about miraculous economic development in the country. Foreign investors do not bring developments in a country, especially a country like Uganda where even infrastructure do not exist; the populations largely illiterates; and means of communications are basically none existence! How can foreign investments bring about economic developments in such a country? In Northern Uganda, the 20 years war has even worsen the already dire conditions in the region. Almost 100% of the population is unskilled. How can the NRA/M leadership even think of taking advantage of the population? What the North need are heavy investments in educational and skill training! Not exploitations. What the Musevenis and the Madhivanis are looking for in Northern Uganda are merely continuation of the same old, tired exploitations of Ugandans like it was and still is the case in Kakira and Lugazi Sugar plantations, nothing more nothing less. And as a people who want to see more than the exploitations of our people, we cannot accept this hypocritical, capitalist informed venture. Therefore, the idea of giving Amuru land to the Madhivanis must be shelved; we do not need it, for it is informed by the same old, tired capitalist ideology that has continued to impoverished many Ugandans without end. The people of Uganda are poorer and suffering tremendously today to the extent that there is need for an effective and ideologically sound and informed policy implementations – which the government of Museveni has failed to put in place for now 23 years. Unfortunately the same can never be ushered in the country 23 years later; NRM-O leadership who are quasi Marxists today, and flat footed capitalists without capitals tomorrow – depending on which direction the wind is blowing, have failed. Such leaderships therefore only facilitate the dilapidation and destruction of our populations. Ugandans can do better. The Musevenis’ and the Madhivanis’ thirst for land in Northern Uganda therefore must be shelved; we do not need such unscrupulous investments at this material time when especially rampant ideological bankruptcy in the country is the order of the day. It would cause more damage to the populations than good. The writer can be reached at: Obargot@hotmail.com

Written by torit1955

December 15, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Military options against LRA will end in fiasco.

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In response to the tripartite military operations involving Uganda, Congo an South Sudan forces against LRA in Garamba forest Congo, Boutrus Biel present a grim scenario of the possible reactions of Joseph Kony through the resort to his gruesome tactics of spreading his forces out thinly, return to Sudan and targeting soft targets including poorly defended areas and citizens, a repeat of his usual modus operandi.


Military options against LRA will end in fiasco.

By: Boutros Biel

December 14, 2008

E-mail: bboutrosb@yahoo.com

For those who won’t let mine be part of their analysis, I will have names forged or invented, however, at the end of the opposition, truth will emerge for this argument and that is my belief and along with other optimists here and there. “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it” said George S. If only to best recall my experience of the Lord Resistance Army’s alleged crimes while in Uganda. Those painful days when Mr. Opio of the UNHCR Pakelle-Adjumani base was gunned down by the same Konyi’s Last Ruthless Aim {LRA}.

LRA soldiers keep guard at the assembly point in Ri-Kwangba on the Sudan-Congo border, Western Equatoria, April 10, 2008. (Reuters)

LRA soldiers keep guard at the assembly point in Ri-Kwangba on the Sudan-Congo border, Western Equatoria, April 10, 2008. (Reuters)

As if that was not enough, my own teacher, Engineer Tobia Odwa from ‘Kocoa Seminary’ was let permanently go along the same Gulu-Adjumani road. Those series of atrocities were committed by the LRA in the face of so called Uganda People’s Defence Forces {UPDF} and I don’t think if there’s anyone to convince the Southern Sudanese exile returnees from Uganda that dealing with LRA militarily is an easy ride solution to the regional atrocities committed. Madi of Nimule or those who had been to Eastern Equatoria in places like Parjok, Magwi, name them and of late the Kajo-Keji citizens plus Western Equatorians combined, in honesty, can be perfect witnesses to my assertion. LRA led by the same man Joseph Konyi has not changed anything per se. The group is still as it was in the beginning and now as it shall always be with its terror without end.

The former Catholic man’s army is tuned to wipe whoever his spirits direct to hook off {I wonder why the Catholic Church doesn’t revoke his Christian name ‘Joseph’ and equally excommunicate him from the mother church}!. The ICC arrest warrant is a possible obstacle to the Final Peace Agreement expected between Museveni-led government and Kony-manuveuvred group however, Joseph Konyi, the man would have challenged Museveni to the greatest heights had he{Konyi}signed on November 29th, 2008 the Final Peace Agreement. Museveni would have no excuses over withdrawing the ICC thing from the Haque. For Joseph Konyi, as of now whichever way, the risks on his own life are very high. If he doesn’t sign, he would remain in the bushes of Southern Sudan exchanging the location with that of DR. Congo and Central African Republic and not as a free as he assumes but as the most insecure man ever known on earth.

LRA as usual kills indiscriminately and that’s why Konyi didn’t spare his own right hand man Vincent Otti———his own deputy over years who managed to survive with him under worst UPDF hunts even when those LRA members like Sam Okolo their spokesman betrayed their cause. Otti remained loyal to Konyi and LRA command but unfortunately Konyi slaughtered him instantly. GoSS Vice President Riek Machar has been one of the patient guys to see sense of persuading LRA through diplomacy other than barrel of the guns but there are majority in Juba and Kampala who doesn’t see the wisdom of this tactful dealing emphasized by Dr. Machar. The impatient and incalculable group had long wanted to deal away with Konyi militarily little did anyone imagine what would be the repercussion of dealing gun-fully with a mafia of confused and objective less group whose composition leaves a lot to be desired.

When the SPLA and the Uganda People’s Defence Forces{UPDF} plus that orphan army left in the hands of young Joseph Kabila so desire to attack LRA militarily as they have just done, then the entire Equatoria region and Juba itself ought to prepare henceforth to meet the real devil. LRA would go back to its old evil tactics of moving in series of twos, twenty, threes, etc. They will cause havocs between Nimule-Juba road, Yei-Kaya and Yei-Juba roads. They will also stage ambushes to civilian and humanitarian vehicles along Torit-Juba road. Places like Gulu-Attiak-Adjumani, Pakwach-Karuma roads in Uganda would become insecure again. Abductions will become the order of the day. South Sudan, DR Congo and Central African Republic combined will become battlefields. Neither the SPLA nor the UPDF would be able to contain the situation. One would ask simply; ‘how can big and well equipped armies like UPDF and SPLA fail to defeat the tiny ill-armed rebel group led by uneducated former catechist Konyi? The answer is simple, LRA if came directly to fight, either the SPLA or the UPDF would wipe them in very short time but that has not been the case. The styles used by LRA are ever of amusement to both armies.

The LRA uses methods like ‘shoot’ ‘kill’, ‘spoil’ and ‘go’! How many UPDF soldiers had the LRA killed in Northern Uganda? How many SPLA soldiers did the LRA murder in Nimule and most parts of Eastern Equatoria? Honest answers can be frankly found with the SPLA and UPDF soldiers who one day witnessed the LRA atrocities. Therefore, it’s my humble opinion that Museveni-Konyi Peace Talks brokered by South Sudan number 2 Dr. Riek Machar must not be left. This Last Ruthless Aim {LRA} is worst than corruption in Southern Sudan and will take many lives if allowed to go back to its many years’ madness. Those non analysts who mislead GoSS leadership must not discourage its Vice President Riek Machar. General Salva Kiir must not be misadvised to discard his own child {Museveni-Konyi Peace Initiative} which the General had much worked to make available through his deputy Riek Machar. History has shown that only few managed to take pride to outnumber rebel movement through the barrel of the gun. As we are all aware of, war is very expensive and dealing with LRA militarily is very expensive business which neither South Sudan nor Uganda, DR Congo and CAR combined will escape its evil fruits if so desired to choose the unknown side of the coin.

When the first bullet is re-fired on LRA, then Bashir-Konyi relationship would take double face. Janjaweed in form of Ambororo being in Western and Central Equatoria lands will by Khartoum be armed to teeth and may probably join hand with any devil for the worst. South Sudan will be engaged in avoidable unnecessary wars. It will be difficult for the GoSS leadership to function effectively in Juba. As consequence, citizens would lose interest in their government due to rampant insecurity much as prevalent circumstances will portray GoSS as being incapable to protect its own citizens . Cattle rustlings would be rampant in Jonglei, Lakes and Eastern Equatoria states simply because insecurity will be very high as SPLA will be engaged in non objective war with LRA. Those being non patriotic and irresponsible nationalists will double their grab for public property—by that point in time, it will be very difficult for General Salva Kiir Mayardit to clear-cut whether to continue declaring war on LRA or on corruption. VP Machar would have been discouraged very long time ago and would just sit in the towel to exercise his gentlemanship for the sake of peace and order within the SPLM and GoSS.

Those drunk now to fight LRA in order to cause insecurity and increase corruption in the South shall have gotten their lion share and already turned pretending to join the discontented citizens to level GoSS as if ‘a failed Government’——–hence critics would thus come up to say; ‘you see, didn’t we talk of it that GoSS under Salva Kiir and Riek Machar is unable government?’. The likes of Dr. Turabi would have been on the stage preaching slogans such as ‘look, southerners can’t manage to govern themselves’. Discontented Southern citizens due to insecurity and corruption plus other circumstances may consider 2011 referendum a forgone conclusion if not approached it with mixed or unprepared hearts and minds.

Against all this background, it’s now better to pursue LRA peacefully till they sign the Final Peace Agreement with their archenemy Museveni other than South Sudan being falsely lured to war that will later be hard to extinguish. The slogan that ‘’if you want peace, prepare for war’’ is irrelevant in the LRA case. The group has had no relevant objective and therefore, be handled with care—–peacefully and tactfully. Fellow Southerners, believe it that military option against LRA, will be a great miscalculation and unforgivable boomerang to South Sudan and GoSS which’s the sitting government of the day will leave to regr. ———–For president of the Republic of Uganda General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, his country and his presidential guards have nothing to worry this time round as the most unpredictable war of LRA has been technically transferred to Southern Sudan and be fought here henceforth. However, it’s no of underestimation that the LRA will sneak back to Uganda and will possibly cause insecurity under the ‘hit’ and ‘run’ tactics with frequent roaming to and fro as the main battles will be wrestled in South Sudan. Is GoSS through SPLA really prepared to fight the war for others and moreover in Southern Sudan? It’s unfortunate indeed, that only a few of Southern Sudanese who are able to see while sitting what others are unable to project even when they are standing. Anybody listening there????? Let’s kick well, the ball is still up and the rest is left to the conventional wisdom of concerned Southerners!

Written by torit1955

December 15, 2008 at 9:28 am

Uganda:Governments launch military offensive on LRA rebels

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Governments launch military offensive on LRA rebels
Sun 14 Dec 2008, 16:11 GMT
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KAMPALA (Reuters) – The governments of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan on Sunday launched a joint military offensive against northern Ugandan rebels in Garamba, eastern Congo, an army spokesman said.

“It’s a joint operation … We have attacked Lords Resistance Army bases. The operation began this morning,” Uganda army spokesman Paddy Ankunda told Reuters.

Ankunda said they had attacked “several” camps, and no casualties had been reported so far.

Written by torit1955

December 14, 2008 at 6:49 pm