The term crimes against humanity has come to mean anything atrocious committed on a large scale. This is not, however, the original meaning nor the technical one. The term originated in the 1907 Hague Convention preamble, which codified the customary law of armed conflict. This codification was based on existing State practices that derived from those values and principles deemed to constitute the “laws of humanity,” as reflected throughout history in different cultures.Yoweri Museveni is responsible of two major genocides in Africa- Uganda and Congo DRC. 5.2 million dead!!
Yoweri Museveni makes Polpot look like Mother Theresa…
You wouldn’t like it if the Irish government filled the coffers of Robert Mugabe with your hard-earned cash, would you? Neither would think kindly of them bankrolling the Taliban. So how can you be indifferent when they grease the grubby paws of Ugandan tyrant Yoweri Museveni, with over 30 million euro each year?
Yes, our government gives 30 million of your money to a man responsible for more deaths than Pol Pot. Shocked? Chocking on your latte? Well you wouldn’t be if you had listened to John O’Shea of Goal for the past decade.
O’Shea’s tragic tales of Ugandan corruption and oppression since Museveni became president in 1986, would chill your blood. But those gruesome facts are not what the Irish government wants you to hear.
Instead, people like the minister responsible for overseas aid, Conor Lenihan, makes a virtue out of our substantial donation to the monstrous Museveni.
Meanwhile, whenever O’Shea questions the moral sanity of funding such a foul regime, he is attacked across the airwaves by Lenihan. For example, when O’Shea courageously refused to meet Museveni during an Irish visit in 2003, Lenihan accused him of “hit-and-run-tactics.” Nonsense. O’Shea simply wants our money to go directly to the Ugandan poor and not into the pocket of a madman. “What level of crimes against humanity,” he asks, “must the government of Uganda perpetrate before the Irish government decides to cut off financial aid?”
No answer to that from Government Buildings. But we should demand one because Museveni’s crimes exceed even those of his bloodthirsty predecessors, Idi Amin and Milton Obote. Here’s a flavour of his horrors.
In 1998, Museveni ordered his army to invade the Democratic Republic of Congo on the pretext of securing Uganda’s border with Congo against rebels.
The invasion trigged a vicious civil war that lasted five years and cost the lives of more than four million people. And while the mass graves of Congo were proliferating, so too was Museveni’s wealth. In 2002, the UN ordered Uganda to pay the Congo $10 billion for looting its natural mineral resources, and named members of Museveni’s family who benefitted from the plundering.
Furthermore, by failing to stop a decades old civil war in Northern Uganda, Museveni’s government is responsible for the slaughter of 50,000 and the displacement of 1.2 million more. Today, over one thousand refugees are dying every week and, according to one ex-UN official, the death rate in the refugee camps “is twice that of Darfur.”
Museveni allocates twenty per cent of his annual budget on defence spending. The Irish government gives him in excess of nine million euro for what it terms “Budget Support.” So how can we be sure that none of that money goes to finance his crazy conflicts? How can we be certain that we are not contributing to the misery in Northern Uganda or the Congo? And how do we know that our contribution has not paid for the expansion of Museveni’s killing fields? The answer is we don’t.
And what of the one million euro that we donate for, what the government terms, “Election and Amnesty” and “Human Rights” in Uganda? What a joke.
First of all, Museveni bribed his MPs to abolish the two-term presidential limit before setting himself up as President for Life. Second, Human Rights Watch reports that Ugandan elections cannot be free and fair because “of the government’s ongoing harassment of the political opposition.”
Before the February 2006 general election, for example, Museveni had his main opposition rival, Kizza Besigye, arrested on trumped up charges of treason and rape. That in turn led Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands to suspend aid. And Ireland’s response? We increased our overall aid contribution to the Ugandan government.
We did so despite the fact that sixteen people arrested along with Besigye, claim they were tortured while in custody. We did so despite the fact that the Ugandan High Court ordered the immediate release of Besigye, and said that the investigations had been “crude and amateurish, betraying the motives behind the case.” And we did so even though the European Union said the election had been “blighted by government interference.”
In other words, instead of showing solidarity with the democratic forces of Uganda, our government rewarded their tormentors. And what assurances did we get in return for not withholding aid? Absolutely none. Once the elections were over and Museveni reinstated in the Presidential Palace, his thugs were back on the streets shutting down media outlets that had supported the opposition.
In short, even though Yoweri Museveni is one of the vilest despots on the face of the planet, the Irish government continues to prop him up with your cash. And it is not as though our ministers are unaware of the filth at the heart of the Ugandan administration. Last April, Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern refused to appoint a new ambassador to Uganda, citing worries about the government’s policies.
But did Ahern really believe such an empty gesture would help the victims of Museveni’s misrule? Did he honestly think that a diplomatic snub would put manners on a man directly responsible for the deaths of millions? If so, more fool him.
Last Saturday, Museveni announced that he was offering an amnesty to Joseph Kony, the leader of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). For two decades, the LRA has prolonged Uganda’s civil war through hideous acts of torture, rape and murder. Kony believes that he is divinely sanctioned to govern Uganda in accordance with God’s commandments. But that didn’t prevent him from abducting 25,000 children as sex slaves and soldiers. Most were forced to kill their parents, abuse their corpses, and mutilate their siblings, before going on to butcher thousands more.
Earlier this year, the LRA announced that it would sign a truce with the Ugandan government, on condition that Kony and his cronies be given immunity. Museveni agreed, despite the fact that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is tracking Kony on charges of war crimes. “One thing we are offering for sure is no prosecution for Kony,” said Museveni on Saturday.
If ever there was a good moment for Ireland to cut aid to Uganda it is now. By refusing to arrest the evil Joseph Kony, Museveni has once again shown his contempt for the international community. According to Dermot Ahern, “Ireland is a strong supporter of the ICC. We consider it important that the indictments issued by the court in October 2005 against the five named LRA leaders should be acted on.” That is why he must now start listening to John O’Shea, and cease dealing with Museveni’s wicked regime. The Ugandan people deserve nothing less.
Sending aid to Africa makes us feel good about ourselves. But how can you feel good after learning that your money may well have sent many to their graves? How can you rest easy knowing that Yoweri Museveni’s stinking dictatorship survives because governments like ours don’t starve him of cash?
You can’t? So start sending letters to Dermot Ahern and Conor Lenihan, demanding they put principle before politics.
In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your latte.
Mark Dooley, Daily Mail