Tuesday, 20 December 2005
-What has happened in the last week is a long overdue breakthrough of gradually changing attitudes and opinions towards the truth value of President Yoweri Museveni´s democratic credentials. One after another, main donors are now turning words into deeds, withholding state budget support and transferring money towards civil society. This is exactly what we have asked for, says HRH´s Niels Jacob Harbitz, right.
The news today that Sweden has decided to withhold a substantial amount of its aid and transfer parts of the withheld money into disaster relief for Northern Uganda can only be understood as a very clear message to Ugandan authorities that the international community´s faith in the repeated assurances from Museveni and others that ´we´re on the right track. Just have patience with us´ have lost their last credibility.
-Aid efforts undermined by a new wave of violence
The news that Sweden has decided to follow in the footsteps of the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway, coincides with the release of a UN report addressing the growing problem, not only in Uganda, but across Africa, that aid efforts are undermined by a new wave of violence. In northern Uganda, Jan Egeland, the United Nations emergency aid coordinator, said, UN was able to reach only 18 of its 200 camps for displaced people without military escorts, and people in the relative safety of camps were increasingly under sige and unable to plant cops because of the breakdown in security.
-LRA now threatening to destabilise Uganda, Congo and Sudan
-Recent violence, Egeland continued, -has hampered assistance efforts, and we have seen a shocking new tactic; the deliberate targeting of humanitarians. Egeland added that five aid workers have been killed in ambushes in Uganda and Sudan, all by the Lord´s Resistance Army (LRA), in October and November. Contrary to Museveni´s repeated claims that LRA´s days are counted, that Uganda People´s Defence Forces (UPDF), his own government forces, are very close to making Uganda´s enemy within extinct, LRA is now threatening to destabilise not only Uganda, but alo Sudan and the DRC.
-UPDF with a very bloody record of its own
-Given this situation, concludes Harbitz, -Uganda as a whole can no longer be seen to be moving towards any kind of democracy. On the contrary, it is quite clear that the claimed national effort to establish peace and prosperity in the north is, at best, honoured only by some, not all, within the state apparatus. This also applies to the UPDF, doing the groundwork, but coming under increasing criticism for having a very bloody record of its own in the areas in which it was supposed to protect the population, not abuse it, violently, materially, sexually and in many other ways.