Canada's Hub for International Affairs

Uganda Reacts to #Kony2012

| March 11, 2012

Much of the criticism of Invisible Children, the NGO behind the #Kony2012 campaign, has focused on its depiction of African children as invisible. Canadian development expert, Chris Blattman, writes, “There’s also something inherently misleading, naive, maybe even dangerous, about the idea of rescuing children or saving of Africa… It hints uncomfortably of the White Man’s Burden.” Somewhat ironically, in the critique of #Kony2012, African voices have also been largely invisible. Here, a list of some of the best critiques from Uganda of #Kony2012:

  •  Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire explains why #Kony2012 describes a situation that no longer exists.
  • The Ugandan government responds to the #Kony2012 campaign, insisting that it should be preceded with a disclaimer noting that this is how things used to be.
  • Anywar Ricky Richard, a former child soldier in the LRA and founder of Friends of Orphans, explains how negotiations from 2006 to 2008 have brought relative peace to Northern Uganda in a piece for National Geographic.
  • TMS Ruge, Ugandan co-founder of Project Diaspora, describes how #Kony2012 hijacks the voices of those we are trying to help in an op-ed for the New York Times.
  • Musa Okwonga, a Ugandan journalist and musician, writes about Invisible Children’s “top-down prescriptiveness” in an op-ed for The Independent.
  • Jacob Acaye, the protagonist of the #Kony2012 film, in an interview with The Guardiandefends Invisible Children. 
  • Victor Ochen, Director for African Youth Initiative Network Uganda, sees four major problems with #Kony2012.
  • Charles Okwir, abducted by Joseph Kony’s LRA 20 years ago, explains why a military solution will not solve the Kony problem. 
  • Stephen Oola, a peacebuilder in Uganda, poses a series of questions about Invisible Children.
  • Angelo Opi-Aiya Izama, a journalist and researcher in Uganda, says calling the #Kony2012 campaign misleading is an understatement.
  • Ugandan-born, London-based consultant Ida Horner argues that #Kony2012 has opened up old wounds in Uganda. 
  • Frank Odongkara of Kampala wrote a poem, “Mocking a Mocking Bird” about how #Kony2012 makes him feel. 
  • Evelyn Apoko, a Kony victim, reacts.

Photo courtesy Invisible Children.