Saturday, November 06, 2004

More displaced from N. Uganda than Darfur -- Government resumes civil war in Côte d'Ivoire

Ugandan forces are still in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to Human Rights Watch [HRW]. The Ugandan paper The Monitor reported: The UPDF [Ugandan Army] officially withdrew from eastern Congo at a public ceremony in April 2003. HRW however says it has information that the troops returned in May less than a month after the withdrawal. HRW further alleged that a rebel group in Ituri, allegedly backed by Uganda, has recently tortured 24 civilians. Six of them reportedly died later.

Curious, then, that Ugandan strongman Yoweri Museveni has asked the United Nations to grant "provisional immunity" to warlords in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. "Whereas Uganda has been at the forefront of working for an end to impunity, with respect to war crimes and genocide in this region, our experience in the Burundi peace process has convinced us of the need for provisional immunity to achieve peace first," Museveni told UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan,

The alleged implication of Ugandan troops in the eastern DR Congo is odd considering the horrific rebellion in northern Uganda conitnues unabated. Another Ugandan paper, New Vision, reported that the UN raised the alarm over northern Uganda, where it said 20,000 children have been abducted by rebels trying to set up a government based on the Bible's Ten Commandments... In addition to the kidnapped children - who are forced to serve as either soldiers or sex slaves for the [Lord's Resistance Army] rebel commanders - around 1.6 million people have been displaced, more than have been displaced from Darfur, according to the UN's emergency coordinator for the area.

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What's left of the peace process in Côte d'Ivoire has collapsed with yesterday's government bombing of several northern cities. The raids were condemned by the African Union and the United Naitons.

Appropriately, rebel leader Guillaume Soro declared "I am no longer ready to negotiate." He can hardly be blamed in the aftermath of the provocations of which the bombings are only the most flagrant. The power-sharing government never really had much authority. Parliament refused to pass laws to make northerners less repressed. Pro-government militias and mobs (whose control by President Laurent Gbagbo and his allies is questionable) have repeatedly attacked suspected opposition sympathizers and opposition media outlets.

These "Young Patriot" militias criticized the rebels for not disarming fast enough. Can you blame the rebels?

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In late October, Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was re-elected with 94.5% of the vote in the country's highly 'managed' presidential election. Real opposition parties in Tunisia are not, shall we say, welcome with open arms.

Yet, Ben Ali's score in last month's vote is actually less than the 99+% figures he was credited with in previous elections. Such is 'openness' in Tunisia's police state.

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Though in more free elections, Botswana's ruling party was re-elected for the eight time since independence in 1966.

As blogger Chippla noted: Botswana is the longest multi-party democracy in Africa which says a lot as it has a relatively stable economy that has outperformed those of most other countries on the continent.

Longstanding multiparty democracy. Economic growth, relative prosperity and a stable economy.

Coincidence?

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While many Africans aspire for their countries to be like the United States, one country has actually achieved that goal. In a dubious category: fatness. Obesity levels in South Africa are now the same as those in the United States, according to doctors at the first international conference on obesity in Africa.

In South Africa, one in three men are overweight or obese, while for women, it is more than one in two, notes the BBC. Though perversely as many people die of malnutrition in South Africa as of diseases associated with obesity.

(Not that obesity implies proper nutrition anyway)

2 Comments:

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

Hi there, I'm gonna read your article on displacement in Uganda, do you have any tips on where I might find more info on the LRA? Especially ideology/religious aspects, hard to find...
cheers

 
At 11:47 AM, Blogger Brian said...

It's hard to respond since the religious aspect of the LRA's ideology is questionable at best. Most people are hard pressed to attribute ANY ideology to the LRA, which makes the war so intractable.

Radio Netherlands' English service has a quite extensive dossier on Uganda, which might interest you.

http://www2.rnw.nl/rnw/en/features/humanrights/uganda_dossier.html

 

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