Putin’s men in Africa–Uganda’s Papa Doc Museveni and his son Baby Doc Muhoozi. Photo: Facebook.
[View From Uganda]
Uganda’s Baby Doc, Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba who is essentially the mouthpiece for his dictator father Gen. Yoweri Museveni, welcomed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a tweet. Separately, Uganda abstained when the United Nations voted overwhelmingly against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and called for the immediate withdrawal of its forces.
In an emergency session of the UN’s general assembly, 141 of the 193 member states voted for the resolution, 35 abstained, and five voted against.
“As incoming chair of the Non-aligned Movement neutrality is key,” said Adonia Ayebare, Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. “Uganda will continue to play a constructive role in the maintenance of peace and security both regionally and globally.”
The Non-aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing nations that are not formally aligned with or against any major power blocs. After the UN, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide. The movement once had considerable clout during the era of intellectual presidents and progressives, including India’s Jawaharlal Nehru—and later, his daughter Indira Ghandi—Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and Tanzania’s Julius K. Nyerere.
The movement originated in the 1950s as an effort by some countries to avoid the polarized world of the Cold War between the pro-Soviet communist countries belonging to the Warsaw Pact, and the pro-American capitalist countries belonging to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Papa Doc himself, Gen. Museveni, also tweeted: “We must build a center of gravity for Africa. Many countries in the world have centers of gravity: USA for the Europeans; Russia for the Balkans; China for the Far East; India for South Asia. Where is Africa’s center of gravity.”
Before that, Gen. Kainerugaba, his son, who as a beneficiary of the nepotistic regime is also the Commander of Land Forces of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces, tweeted: “The majority of mankind (that are non-white) support Russia’s stand in Ukraine. Putin is absolutely right! When the USSR parked nuclear armed missiles in Cuba in 1962 the West was ready to blow up the world over it. Now when NATO does the same they expect Russia to do differently?”
Bobi Wine, leader of Uganda’s National Unity Platform (NUP), whom most Ugandans believe won last year’s presidential election, said, “When the world is united in condemnation of the Ukrainian invasion, Museveni and his son are the few tyrants in support of the war, world over.” He said Muhoozi’s tweet proves he’s sadistic and shows how “brutal war mongers” control Uganda.
“From personally overseeing the torture of hundreds of our supporters, to murdering civilians in the DRC and other countries, Muhoozi is now praising the invasion of Ukraine!” Bobi Wine added.
Papa Doc and Baby Doc are hypocrites, in trying to pretend that Uganda is “non-aligned” when in fact the regime serves in the interest of the U.S. in Africa. The UPDF just sent more soldiers to Somalia as peacekeepers to replace an equal number of soldiers who have completed their tours of duty after a year in the Horn of Africa. The newly deployed peacekeepers are called Uganda Battle Group 35. They were sent off by UPDF Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen. Wilson Mbadi, at a function held at the Peace Support Operations Training Centre (PSO-TC) in Singo, Nakaseke District.
The UPDF soldiers are deployed under the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), a peace keeping mission operated by the African Union (AU) in Somalia with approval by the United Nations (UN); yet, the deployments are essentially on behalf of the U.S. which fears Somalia could fall to al-Shabab, which the U.S. considers as a radical force aligned with al-Qaeda.
The dictator duo are just posturing for the public and also sending signals to the U.S. that they can flirt with Russia, following the recent series of strong condemnation of the regime by Washington.
The downslide started after last year’s election which the U.S. said was “neither free, nor fair.” The U.S. also imposed sanctions and travel bans on unnamed Ugandan officials. It’s believed that both Gen. Museveni and Gen. Muhoozi. On December 7, 2021, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed Magnitsky global sanctions on Gen. Abel Kandiho, who was then commander of the Chieftaincy for Military Intelligence (CMI). The U.S. accused him of personally participating in tortures—including sexual tortures—and killings. After the U.S. sanctions Gen. Museveni promoted Kandiho with leadership role in the national police force.
Most recently the U.S. joined other Western nations in condemning the epidemic of tortures in Uganda. The whole world was shocked when one of the most notable victims, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, a PEN International writer of courage 2021, showed the ugly scars on his back as a result of torture he claims was supervised by Gen. Muhoozi.
Columnist Matogo can be reached via [email protected]