Abby Martin – Uganda Dictatorship: Imperialism’s Pearl of Africa

April 20, 2021

Short documentary on Uganda's US-backed dictatorship, the country's freedom struggle from colonialism until today, and the geo-strategic role the regime plays for US Imperialism.

Abby Martin:

Remember that ultra viral video called Kony 2012 about the Ugandan warlord who recruited child soldiers, told through the eyes of some dudes from San Diego?

And after raking in tens of millions of dollars, the founder of the group behind the video, Invisible Children, drunkenly admitted to stealing money from donors?

Then the narrator of the video was caught naked on the street corner in a very public meltdown? But even crazier than all of this, is that the Obama Administration used Kony 2012’s viral video as marketing to ramp up its military actions in Uganda.

Well the big kicker to the story is that the Obama team rallied all this anger and outrage at the Lord’s Resistance Army for their atrocities in support of the US-backed Ugandan army that was carrying out the same kind of war crimes, including mass rape and massacres of civilians, under the command of one of the world’s longest-serving dictators: American puppet General Museveni.

This story is emblematic of US policy in Uganda--where that top US ally just massacred 54 unarmed protesters in November 2020 with bullets supplied by the Pentagon.

It’s a stunning story, and probably one you’ve never heard of, because it wasn’t considered worthy of coverage in US media. FIFTY FOUR protesters mowed down by a government completely supported by Washington, and at a protest that was demanding nothing more than a democratic election--the exact framing the US uses to justify coups, sanctions and invasions all over the world.

Uganda, like every other country in Africa was carved into being by artificial colonial borders. It is home to 32 different local languages and a broad ethnic diversity. It’s lush, fertile land and natural beauty earned it the title “the pearl of Africa” by the British Empire, which declared Uganda its property in 1894.

But revolts from peoples across the entire region against colonial rule marred the British in heavy fighting. So the British officers, commanding armies of Nubian and Sudanese soldiers they conscripted, implemented a “scorched earth” policy, razing villages and massacring women and children of any peoples who resisted. The policy was so brutal, it sparked a mutiny among the Nubian and Sudenses soldiers, who when ordered to continue it, instead murdered all their British commanders. The British had to rush an entire Army regiment to Uganda just to crush the mutiny. 

Since scorched earth alone could not tame the new Uganda for the British crown, they implemented a different policy that echoes to the present day: divide and conquer. With the colonial borders encompassing many ethnic groups, they heaped power and rewards on one, the Baganda peoples, and imposed their language, agriculture and rule over other ethnic regions.

According to Ugandan historian Salomen Bareebe Rukuuka, “The Baganda became the cruel arm of the British.” Sectarian conflict today, used by the US Empire to justify military intervention, has its roots in this history. The colonial era transformed Uganda into a cotton factory for the British, a virtual slave state, while fostering the growth of a local oligarchy for the privileged few who ran the plantations.

Uganda did not gain independence from British imperialism until 1962. This brought to power a key post-independence political figure named Milton Obote, who declared the nation would adopt a version of socialism, and nationalized its resources. He also ruffled feathers by withdrawing suppor...