Ugandan official are putting together a military force to capture warlord Joseph Kony, but they would really like to stop hearing about "Kony 2012" from Westerners. Uganda's Prime Minister spent Friday tweeting at American celebrities to correct misinformation about Kony, the subject of the very viral "Kony 2012" video that seriously upped the warlord's public profile in the West last week. Meanwhile, the Ugandan government announced new efforts to find the war criminal, but a defense minister made certain to say their efforts predated the video, lest we think they might be motivated by its success.
Uganda's Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi tweeted at several celebrities who have taken up the cause against Joseph Kony in the wake of the viral video put out by the charity Invisible Children. Tweeting the same message to Oprah, Angelina Jolie, Bill Gates, Bono, Lady Gaga, and several others, he said, "As PM of Uganda, I appreciate your interest & invite you to visit. We have peace,stability & great people.
#KonyisntinUganda." We'd emphasize that last hashtag as the key here. He was trying to get the message "Kony isn't in Uganda" trending on Twitter, likely because one of the most common misconceptions people have walking away from the "Kony 2012" video is that Kony remains at large within Uganda. He's actually thought to be in the Central African Republic.
Even so, Uganda announced Friday that they and three other nations were reviving efforts to find him. Together with governments from three other African nations where they suspect Kony has operated, Uganda is creating a military force of about 5,000 troops to capture him, they announced. It's natural to immediately link renewed efforts to find him with the wild increase in attention paid to him thanks to the video. Not so fast, Reuters reports. "Ugandan Defense Minister Crispus Kiyonga said it had been conceived before the web campaign to hunt down Kony and the remnants of his Lord's Resistance Army took off." Hard to say whether we should believe them, and perhaps we should, but more to the point, their distancing from the video shows that Uganda isn't in the mood to give Invisible Children credit for much of anything. That's not particularly surprising when you recall that when the video finally made its way to a larger group of Ugandans, they gave it some pretty terrible reviews. But hey, "Kony 2012" might not get the credit it thinks it deserves, but it's got to be happy with this news anyway if it brings the world closer to capturing a very bad man.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.