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In my last post I said KONY2012 is wrong. This one is about a few ideas on how we can deal with the Konys of the world? I am not making an artificial distinction between warlords and dictators. Most of the latter started as warlords. Also important to understand first that most, if not all, warlords come into play initially as crusaders. They started their ‘careers’ fighting against a perceived wrong.

  • Osama bin Laden came into prominence as a mujahideen fighting against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.
  • Robert Mugabe came into prominence as a fighter for rights of black Zimbabweans against the apartheid regime of Ian Smith.
  • Joseph Kony himself came on to the scene as a crusader who took up the cause of the marginalised Acholi people in Uganda.

Some of them make it to head of state, if they manage the movement well. Some remain warlords.  Whatever their origin, they end up as tyrants whose ultimate aim ends up being continued power at all costs. We all remember Gaddafi saying that he would fight till the end. Fight against what? Why? When all people are against you, why the hunger for power?

I believe that no external agency / government has the right to decide the political fate of a sovereign country. That mandate lies entirely with the people of that country.  If they want change, they need to mobilise and fight for it like the Egyptians or Tunisians. The recent history of the world is awash with example of failed interventions of foreign powers in the internal politics of a country.

What (sh)could the developed world do?

  • Use the muscle they have in actually ensuring that criminals indicted by the  ICC are actually arrested and brought to trial. Let us start with those who are in power and freely moving around and then look at those on the run. If this cannot be done, why the farce of the ICC? When the indictee is a head of state, this mandate must lie with the UN or a specific agency created for that purpose. If the indictee is a warlord, then the State is responsible. The Ugandans are responsible for Kony (if he is there) not the Americans. May be we need international agreements allowing cross border pursuits of indicted criminals. That way the Ugandan army can chase Kony across the DRC and S Sudan and CAR.
  • Support the legitimate government with advise and materiel, if needed, to go after the warlord. Key word here is ‘legitimate’.
  • Facilitate dialogue of warring factions – like the
    • British did between Ian Smith, ZANU / ZIPRA in Zimbabwe and
    • Americans did between the PLO and the Israelis at Camp David

Then there are things that the developed world should NOT do. It should not

  • Prop up regimes of dictators and human rights abusers with continued aid and military support. It is an open secret that aid provided from an humanitarian imperative but most of it gets diverted.
  • Ignore human rights abuse and continue with aid on the grounds that these States are in the front line of the war against terror.
  • Look at business in the midst of war.
    • Someone purchasing the blood diamonds of Sierra Leone fuelled the conflict that moved from control of the country to control over the diamond fields. So also in Angola.
    • Developed countries are, directly or indirectly, providing arms to warlords. Where else would Kony get weapons?

Romantic balderdash. I can almost hear the mutters. I know that some of these are romantic notions. But then when everything has failed, might as well try a bit of romance. No?