Uganda: Weekly Roundup October 23-29: It's time for midterms! Do your representatives make the grade?
It's a busy time in DC! In just 22 days President Obama will release his strategy on the LRA, and we're delighted that two more Members of Congress-Representative John Boozman from Arkansas and Paul Tonko from New York-have shown their resolve to end LRA violence by committing to read and respond to the President's strategy when it is released.
The US midterm elections are also just a few days away, and before you head for the polls, we encourage you to check out your representatives' records on the LRA with our Congressional Scorecards. After reading their report card, click here to send them an email and let them know how much you care about this issue. If they've got a good score, congratulate them! But if their grade could use some improvement, let them know that as your representative in Congress, you expect more from them. And regardless of their score, let them know they can score some major extra credit by committing to read the President's strategy as part of our From Promise to Peace campaign.
The Good: Representatives John Boozman (R-AR3) and Paul Tonko (D-NY21) both committed to read and respond to Obama's LRA strategy.
The Bad: One person was killed and another injured in an alleged LRA attack near Yambio, South Sudan. Local self-defense forces pursued the attackers and killed two.
The Ugly: The UN's refugee agency expressed concern over the massive displacement of civilians due to LRA attacks in the Central African Republic (CAR) and neighboring countries.
* On Monday Barack Obama waived a ban on military aid to four countries that use child soldiers-DR Congo, Chad, Sudan, and Yemen-citing "national interest," and raising outcry from human rights groups.
* In an Enough Project blog, Ledio Cakaj warns against an overly optimistic response to the AU's recent announcement of a joint response to the LRA, noting that they may be overestimating their own military capacity, and that without more engagement with the Sudanese government, a strategy to deal with the LRA is unlikely to succeed.
* Networks of Congolese churches, with support from the UN and our partners at Invisible Children, are working on expanding radio networks to serve as early-warning systems to notify villagers of impending LRA attacks and alert peacekeeping forces.
Northern Uganda and the 2011 Ugandan National Elections
* A probe team is investigating allegations of voter fraud in the recently held primaries for Uganda's ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party. Current President Yoweri Museveni, who won the party's nomination for next year's Presidential elections, said that a re-vote will be held in the contested polling stations and the primary's results will be re-evaluated.
* Ugandan political opposition leader Kizza Besigye, set to run for President against Museveni in 2011, criticized the current government's record on education, saying "Education has been almost decimated by the disastrous policies of the NRM," and promised to do a better job if elected.
* A group of US doctors are working with a hospital in Gulu, northern Uganda, to conduct free reconstructive surgery for victims mutilated by the LRA.
* In a statement released this week, a Congolese bishop expressed indignation against the international community for their lack of attention to the LRA crisis. "The assailants are still present and roam freely given and known to everyone. What is surprising is the silence of the Congolese Government in this terrible affair that has made many victims in our families."
* Human Rights Watch elaborated on their article in Foreign Policy earlier this month, explaining that US logistical and intelligence support for a multilateral operation to apprehend LRA leaders could significantly enhance the odds of success, and urged a strong focus on civilian protection and encouraging LRA defections.