Kony is the infamous head of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA). Since Conor Godfrey wrapped up the LRA history almost two years ago in this space, Obama has sent 90 quite visible and public special forces to hunt Kony down through Africa, and America has placed a multi-million dollar bounty on his head.
Tuesday Kony circulated a letter to the people of Uganda demanding the world stop trying to track him down and urging a negotiated peace with the Government of Uganda.
Which may not be out of the question, as unbelievable as that sounds. Kony’s more-than-a-generation of terrorism structured mostly by child and female abuse in central Africa has become legacy.
In September Uganda’s Youth Minister, Ronald Kibuule, told police to prosecute the victims of rape rather than the rapist if the victim was “indecently dressed” when the abuse took place.
The remark continues to ignite worldwide protest, although little within Uganda or neighboring countries. When pressed the day after he made that remark to affirm or qualify it, Kibuule added:
“Most women currently dress poorly especially the youth. If she is dressed poorly and is raped, no one should be arrested,” Mr Kibuule said. He added any suspect should be released.
Uganda is a miserable dictatorship where police reign in rural areas like feudal lords. In the north of Uganda where the LRA once reigned instead, LRA culture has now infused the era although warring has abated.
If you think an American female soldier is reluctant to report sexual abuse, imagine an 11-year old victim in Gulu, Uganda. And yet nearly 8,000 of them annually muster the courage to report their abuse to authorities although never directly.
They would likely then be killed.
The United Nations, which first monitored and later actually operated the refugee camps for more than 1½ million displaced persons during the reign of the LRA, coordinates the abuse reporting through a variety of agencies.
In 2011 nearly 8,000 little girls found the wherewithal to report their abuse. According to one monitoring agency, not one was actioned by authorities.
Throughout much of Uganda, today, sexual abuse has become men’s new weapon to discipline’ women, the executive director of one of the NGOs in northern Gulu told a pan-African newspaper. “People learned abusive ways from the war; rebels and government soldiers raped women, and men who have become frustrated, do it as a way of life,” she said.
So long as Kony lives and prospers this isn’t going to change. He is living proof to those who believe in him as something near divine, invincible.
Although U.S. special forces chased him into the center of the continent, and that certainly contributed to the current implosion of the CAR, he remains at large, feasting on ivory, chaos and little children.
But worse, as he lives, his legend becomes legacy.