Even as Rosa Whitaker is detached from the realities of the Ugandan people, she has miraculously made herself an expert on Uganda’s affairs.
To begin with, Whitaker needs to humbly disqualify herself from the position of an expert on Africa because her lack of knowledge and disinterest in the plight of the African in this case Ugandan people deny her the title. Unknown to her, the Ugandan voters braved long queues under the scotching sun or under heavy rains to choose their leader only to be denied of their victory. The aftermath of the general elections are a clear manifestation of what sham the election was.
Now in Whitaker choosing to rely on “officially tallied votes” and independent opinion polls to claim the election was not stolen is an insult to the Ugandan voters. If Whitaker cared to know, she would have informed herself that the tallying process was largely questioned for lack of transparency and the discontent with the tallied results is not hard to find if you search for it. For instance election materials were delayed in opposition strongholds with ill intention and many voters were denied the chance to vote or their vote was falsified in the tally but that does not matter to Whitaker. Perhaps it would have done Whitaker some good to study all the Election observers’ reports and also acquaint herself with the situation pertaining in Uganda before rushing to endorse the stolen election.
The people of Uganda have unresolved issues concerning the rule of law, human rights and governance of their country and that is why there are relentless calls for dialogue and reform. There would be no calls for change if the majority of the Ugandan people were happy with the breakdown of the social services amidst human rights violation, flagrant abuse of law and poor governance.
Whitaker seems to suggest that she knows what Ugandans voted for, apparently peace and stability. If Mr. Museveni had not overthrown a validly elected government in 1986, perhaps there would have been no political instability to talk of. He is the very one who having lost the 1980 election declared war on the legitimate government basing on mere allegations of vote rigging that have never been independently confirmed to date. Therefore Mr. Museveni’s claim of delivering peace and stability when he is the very one who caused the instability is self defeating. Aware that Uganda has never had a peaceful change of government, Ugandans rather largely voted for peaceful change of government since thirty years down the road; Mr. Museveni has not delivered the peaceful change of government that Ugandans deserves.
The ignorance of Whitaker needs to be put to rest. Dr. Kizza Besigye, the Opposition’s flag bearer has never expressly or impliedly threatened even in the slightest form to overthrow the regime through violence. It is for statements such as these that expose Whitaker’s sheer lack of knowledge on the situation in Uganda.
Personalising the fight against terrorism in Somalia and making it a Museveni issue is absurd. A peaceful Somalia is not a one man cause. Just as the Ugandan troops are fighting to pacify Somalia, so are the armed men and women of the Kenya Defence forces who are fighting as well to pacify the region. In any case it is the good will of the people of Uganda that has contributed to the accomplishment of the US interests in Somalia.
Whitaker was quick to criticise the American diplomats who followed the European Union and walked out on the inauguration of Mr. Museveni, whom she refers to as a respected African leader. Well, if the so called respected African leader commanded respect, then he would have conducted himself so respectfully that there would have been no need for the walk out. In all honesty, a verbal attack on one’s own invited guests using local dialect reeks of disrespect, should be frowned upon and is alien to the African culture and values. In Africa, we warmly welcome visitors but if for any reason they feel unwelcome they do not have to pretend and be hypocritical to keep up appearances. Thus the walk out was far from theatrics. Whitaker would have preferred that Bruce Wharton and Ambassador Debora Malac sit through an unwelcome environment, in simple terms to pretend that all is well, very hypocritical.
Whitaker ought to know the implications for a State to ratify a treaty. Uganda ratified the Rome Statute and the people of Uganda have never through Parliament declared that they want to get out of operations of the International Criminal Court. In fact Uganda handed over Dominic Ongwen, one of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel leaders to the Court and he is currently being prosecuted in the same court for war crimes. If Uganda cooperated with the Court in that regard, why not cooperate with the Court when it comes to the Crimes against humanity that were committed in Darfur region of the Sudan? By sheltering Omar al-Bashir from the Court isn’t the so called respected African leader exhibiting double standards?
According to Whitaker when she was in government, she had explicit instructions to lobby African countries not to sign the Rome Statute. It seems she was not up to the task and largely failed in her job to lobby to the African countries because not just Uganda signed the Statute but a whole host of African countries.
For Whitaker’s information the walk out on Mr. Museveni’s inauguration was no insult to Africa and certainly not to Mr. Museveni. The lawyers have a saying that those who come to equity must come with clean hands, meaning if you want good to be done to you, do good. If you want fairness, be fair. So Mr. Museveni’s undesirable remarks squarely entitled him to the actions that followed.