“The cynicism and utter disregard for the lives of millions of Africans in Congo, Uganda, and South Sudan must end.” -Milton Allimadi
By Ann Garrison
KPFA Weekend News
KPFA Weekend News Anchor: Earlier this week, President Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. The NSC then released a statement about their conversation. The statement said that they had “discussed the devastating humanitarian as well as regional economic costs of continued conflict in South Sudan and agreed on the need for the international community and South Sudan’s regional partners to work quickly to achieve peace.” Ugandan American journalist Milton Allimadi, writing in the New York City-based Black Star News, called the NSC release “Newspeak on steroids.” KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Milton Allimadi.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Milton, before we talk about this conversation between Susan Rice and Yoweri Museveni, could you say something about why the news from this part of the world is so often, as you said, like “Newspeak on steroids”? But no one seems to react. Or, only a few people like yourself.
Milton Allimadi: Yeah, and that’s the sad thing about it, Ann, particularly because Africa news, particularly from the region referred to as Sub Saharan Africa, does not garner much attention in the United States. It’s not taken seriously by the major news organizations. So that’s why Susan Rice is able to say preposterous things concerning the region and, basically, get away with it. She would not be able to make similarly preposterous statements concerning the Middle East, or the conflict in the Ukraine, or any other part of the world.
KPFA: OK, could you deconstruct this statement that Susan Rice and Yoweri Museveni sat down to talk about the need for regional cooperation to achieve peace in South Sudan, Uganda’s neighbor South Sudan?
Allimadi: Look at it, she’s sitting there with General Yoweri Museveni, who, as we know, is actually the principle architect for the humanitarian as well as the economic devastation. The South Sudan conflict, the recent version of it, started in December 2013 when there was a power struggle between President Salva Kiir, and Riek Machar, his vice president. He tried to arrest Riek Machar and failed. And then said Riek Machar had tried to conduct a coup d’état. That does not seem to be true because much of the army then deserted Salva Kiir and went to Riek Machar’s side. But at that point, Yoweri Museveni intervened militarily on the side of Salva Kiir. And that’s where the mayhem started. And now we’re sitting down with this same Museveni and saying,’Lo and behold, look at all this devastation in this region,’ as if he did not play a role in it. It’s mind boggling and it’s preposterous.
KPFA: A few months ago the Sudan Tribune reported that there were 7000 more Ugandan soldiers in South Sudan. Uganda immediately denied it. The US certainly knows whether or not this is true, but they didn’t even comment.
Allimadi: Well, because it’s true. I mean, if you read the Sudanese papers, the South Sudanese papers, if you see the social media where South Sudanese are commenting, it’s quite clear that what we have in South Sudan is not really a civil war anymore, since a substantial part of the army has already abandoned Salva Kiir and accused him of mortgaging the country to Uganda. So what we have in South Sudan is actually a conflict between an invading army, General Museveni’s army, and a South Sudanese army. They’re fighting against occupation, and Salva Kiir is merely a puppet of General Museveni right now.
KPFA: And that was Milton Allimadi, New York City-based Editor of the Black Star News. Allimadi ended his essay by saying that “the cynicism and utter disregard for the lives of millions of Africans in Congo, Uganda, and South Sudan must end.”