Uganda’s Gen. Museveni
[Op-Ed: Letter To President Obama]
July 9, 2014
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
Please accept my greetings on behalf of the Uganda Democratic Federation, the leading organization of Ugandans throughout the world supporting the adoption of just and fair laws, and the eradication of corruption, and the establishment of true democracy in the country where many of us were born and where many of our loved ones still reside.
As sons and daughters of Africa, we are tremendously proud of your accomplishments as President of the United States. We have watched with great gratitude as you have made a priority of promoting policies that would bring human rights, prosperity and peace to families throughout the world, and especially on our continent where so many have suffered for so long.
It is in this spirit of good will, and with deep humility, that the Uganda Democratic Federation asks you to take an especially principled stance during the much anticipated summit of African leaders you are holding in Washington, D.C. August 5th and 6th of this year.
Specifically, we ask that you exclude from this extraordinary meeting Yoweri Museveni, an African dictator and strongman from the old school of bloodshed, corruption and repression who for decades has worked against the very types of reform for which you have called.
Under Mr. Museveni, individuals perceived as threats to the state have been tortured to death even within the last 60 days. Elections have been documented as mere shames. The enormous natural wealth of a county blessed in many ways is squandered and looted daily. Gay men and lesbians in Uganda live in constant fear of imprisonment or worse because of policies Mr. Museveni has promoted with great vigor.
The leaders of the Uganda Democratic Federation deeply believe that to honor Mr. Museveni with a seat at the table in August would enhance his reputation at home and abroad and profoundly undermine the summit’s message of reform and deeply disappoint those working for democratic change. Should he take part, Mr. Museveni would use his participation to advance his own narcissistic, cruel platform and portray his presence as an endorsement of his regime.
We know that to prevent Mr. Museveni from attending would be highly unusual. Nevertheless, we call you to take this step. Please, Mr. President, do not give this ruthless dictator a platform from which to engage in still more deceit.
Please know that you are in the prayers of a great many of the Ugandan people. We have great faith in your ability to help usher in true, democratic change in Africa. Please also know that the thousands of men and women who comprise the Uganda Democratic Federation stand ready to assist you in any way you might ask.
Athanasios Magimbi, M.D.
Uganda Democratic Federation
Tracy, CA 95376