The Ugandan dictator Museveni arriving in Washington this week. Photo: Twitter
The State Department has praised “members of civil society in Uganda working at the forefront to raise awareness and seek an end to ongoing human rights abuses,” while separately, another official deflected blame for the invitation to dictator Yoweri Museveni to the D.C. summit with President Biden to the African Union, since the country is in “good standing” with the organization.
Museveni is one of Africa’s most corrupt rulers, his human rights abuses and militarism has led to the deaths of millions across East Africa—in Uganda and in the countries he’s invaded, Rwanda, Congo, and South Sudan.
Gen. Museveni has also made very ugly statements in the distant past about slavery and once praised Hitler, according to a Ugandan publication.
Before the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit kicked off this week, after a meeting with State Department officials, one of the diaspora leaders of the National Unity Platform (NUP), the party headed by Robert Kyagulanyi, a.k.a. Bobi Wine, who’s widely believed to be the winner of the 2021 presidential election, said in a video statement, “We want abductions to stop in Uganda…We want equal justice under the law in Uganda…We want to make sure that when we have elections they are free and fair…”
Ugandans in the D.C. area also organized protests and were joined by those in Boston, New York, New Jersey, and other parts of the U.S. to protest at the White House and in front of the State Department.
In the run-up to the 2021 vote which was rigged by Gen. Museveni, more than 100 Bobi Wine supporters were massacred by Museveni’s security forces between Nov. 17 and 18, 2020. Secretary of State Blinken later rejected the results of the Jan. 14, 2021 vote as “neither free, nor fair,” and announced sanctions against unnamed Ugandans.
Yet here was dictator Museveni, who is directly responsible for the killings, being allowed to pose for a photo-op with Biden here in the U.S. this week. Ugandans have taken to social media and to the streets in Washington D.C. this week to condemn the presence of Gen. Museveni amongst the dozens of African presidents invited by the Biden administration to the summit from Dec. 13 to Dec. 15.
Gen. Museveni seized power in 1986 when Ronald Reagan was still U.S. president. Four years ago, a U.S. court convicted a Chinese wheeler-dealer, Patrick Ho, for bribing Museveni and his then foreign minister Sam Kutesa $1 million, on behalf of CFC China Energy, a Chinese conglomerate seeking rights to oil blocks and other businesses.
The U.S. gained jurisdiction over the case when Kutesa insisted that his cut be wired to a Ugandan account he’d created for a foundation; when an FBI agent went to Uganda he discovered that the charity was fake. Ho wired Kutesa’s $500,000 using a New York bank, landing both of them in hot waters. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Museveni’s $500,000 was delivered wrapped as a “gift,” Mafia-style, when Ho flew in a Gulf-stream jet to Uganda in May 2016, to attend the dictator’s swearing-in after he’d stolen the election from then challenger Dr. Kiiza Besigye. Ho was accompanied by top CEFC China executives where they met with Museveni and other senior officials to
discuss the returns-on-the-bribe (ROB). CEFC China also promised a private joint-venture business between the company and the families of Kutesa and Museveni, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Ho was arrested at JFK airport in New York nearly 18 months after meeting Museveni. (Ironically, Ho also reported had business dealings with Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son—at the time of the deals Biden was former vice president and was no longer in the White House—and made payments of about $3.8 million. Ho also paid Hunter Biden $1 million to represent him in his criminal case after his arrested according to media reports in YahooNews and The Washington Post. Biden never represented Ho during the trial which led to his conviction and a prison sentence of three years although he served a shorter sentence for good behavior).
The Ugandan dictator in the past has made highly offensive comments about slavery and praised Hitler in comments he made before the legal fraternity in East Africa.
“I have never blamed the whites for colonizing Africa: I have never blamed these whites for taking slaves. If you are stupid, you should be taken a slave,” Museveni, perhaps playing the race-card in reverse in order to ingratiate himself to white conservatives in the U.S. told The Atlantic magazine in September, 1994.
In April 1998, The Shariat, a Ugandan weekly no longer in publication quoted Museveni saying, “As Hitler did to bring Germany together, we should also do it here. Hitler was a smart guy, but I think he went a bit too far by wanting to conquer the world.” Just “a bit too far,” according to the Ugandan tyrant; never mind the gas chambers that exterminated millions of Jews and a war that led to the deaths of an estimated 50 million people.
David Duke, the neo-Nazi KKK leader would be impressed with such ugly comments.
It’s unclear whether senior officials like U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, responsible for the invitations to African presidents, including the Ugandan dictator, were aware of the Ugandan tyrants remarks.
Reacting to questions about the appropriateness of Biden inviting Museveni to the White House this week, a U.S. official said, in a statement, “President Biden extended invitations to leaders of African Union member states who are currently in good standing with the African Union. Currently four countries Burkina Faso, Guinea, Sudan and Mali—are suspended by the AU and were not invited.”
As if good standing with the AU makes it okay for anyone to denigrate the legacy of slavery and praise Hitler.
Separately, in the statement to Black Star News, a State Department spokesperson said, “The United States remains focused on addressing racial discrimination, inequity, xenophobia, and intolerance worldwide, and this Summit is an important opportunity to reaffirm with African partners our shared commitment to respect human rights and strengthen democratic institutions. The United States will continue its efforts to advance democracy and promote respect for human rights and commends the members of civil society in Uganda working at the forefront to raise awareness and seek an end to ongoing human rights abuses.”