Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Museveni stirs up trouble in Sudan

Ugandan strongman Yoweri Museveni is stirring up trouble again. The death of John Garang, the Sudanese vice-president and former rebel leader, was almost universally seen as an accident. Not only did Garang's movement, the SPLA/M, acknolwedge that his helicopter crash was an accident, but so did his widow Rebecca.

Museveni decided to inflame things by insisting that the cause of the crash was 'not clear'. The crash occured as Garang was returning to Sudan from a meeting with Museveni.

"Some people say accident, it may be an accident, it may be something else," he provocatively and without evidence told a group of mourners in southern Sudan.

As if Sudan didn't have enough trouble with the riots that followed Garang's death, the last thing it needs is Museveni criminally reckless comments. It's not entirely inconceivable, though highly unlikely in my estimation, that the Sudanese regime had a hand in Garang's death. However, if Museveni has the slightest evidence to that effect, he should present it.

There are few governments to whom I am less likely to give the benefit of the doubt than the genocidal regime in Khartoum (which I've attacked more times than I can count). But if Garang's movement AND his widow both accept that it was an accident, Museveni should refrain from reckless speculation unless he has something concrete to present. To simply imply as much without backing up his inflammatory assertions only serves to destabilize Uganda's already shaky northern neighbor.


At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[James R MacLean]

It's embarrassing to admit that once upon a time I held a high opinion of Museveni. One source of information on his early career is Coups and Army Rule in Afric, Samuel Decalo (Yale University Press, 1990). Pp.185-187 are esp. revealing. Basically, after the Tanzanians liberated the country from Idi Amin Dada (notice the lack of quotes around liberated) in May of '79, there was a one-year phase in which Milton Obote's former atty general, Godfrey Binaisa, was made "president" by the committee that now ruled Uganda. This Binaisa chap was totally doomed from the start, since the Tanzanians had failed to establish order in Uganda. Museveni, chosen by the military commission to serve as Binaisa's defense minister, made Binaisa's job impossible and caused his sacking.

Then Obote came to power and Museveni went into the bush to launch a new civil war. When I was reading this just now, I noticed (p.191) that Museveni's arch- arch- arch rival in the military commission, the guy whose ouster he had failed to pull off, and who had gotten Obote into power (viz., Tito Oyite-Ojok), was killed in a helicopter accident during the guerrilla war against Museveni's and Kayiira's NRA (Dec '83). Without Oyite-Ojok, Obote was doomed and the regime fell just over a year later to a cabal of Acholi officers. This coup, in turn, made the non-Acholi refuse to resist the NRA and Museveni rolled into Kampala victorious 16 March 1986.


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