New York, June 1, 2014 (SSNA) — Prime Minister David Cameron, President Barack Obama, and other leaders from UN Member Countries would be guided and controlled by Mr Kutesa, if he becomes the UN General Assembly President.
Currently, Mr. Kutesa’s boss Gen. Museveni, harbours the leader of the M23 rebels group, Sultani Makenga, already on the UN sanctions’ list. Ugandan government refused to hand over Makenga to the Congolese authorities or to the International Criminal Court to answer charges of crimes against humanity.
Norman Miwambo caught up with Milton Allimadi, who recently launched an online petition against Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Kutesa from becoming President of the UN General Assembly. Here is an exclusive interview Allimadi.
Q. In briefly, can you tell the readers, who you’re and what exactly drove you to the extreme and start this crusade.
MA: I publish The Black Star news www.blackstarnews.com and I hail from Uganda. I live in New York City. I consider myself a Pan-African and care about what happen to African people everywhere. I believe Africa, perhaps the richest continent in terms of natural resources, has been held back due to the culture of political tyranny, impunity and misgovernance. I don’t believe what I’m doing is a crusade or extreme in any measure. This is the type of global citizen activism that people all over the world should engage in. Would you allow the Mafia to guard a bank?
Q. You sound to be in a very good position with vast knowledge about Mr Sam Kutesa. Who is this gentleman?
MA: Mr. Kutesa is a lawyer by profession. By occupation he is the foreign affairs minister of Uganda. That means he is the architect of how the regime of General Yoweri Museveni markets itself to the rest of the world. The outside face of the regime which has been there for 28 years. General Museveni is a ruthless tyrant and Mr. Kutesa is the architect of Museveni’s foreign policy which has been characterized by wars of aggression against neighboring countries, ethnic cleansing, and plunder of resources.
Q. In your petition, you mention lots of incredible human rights abuses and attribute them to Mr Kutesa’s boss. How can you convince the readers that all what you mentioned in the petition are not fiction but facts?
MA: The human rights abuses sound incredible only to those hearing them for the first time and this is often because the Ugandan regime is considered an ally of Washington and London, for geopolitical reasons, so many of the crimes are ignored by establishment media such as The New York Times and the BBC.
All these things are widely known and documented by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The Petition are not just by words but if readers go through the Letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, they will see that there is a link to a reference or sourcing to all the statements of the Petition. The International Court of Justice issued a ruling that Uganda did in fact engage in a war of aggression against Congo. During that war of aggression Congolese civilians were murdered or raped. Congo’s resources were plundered. Congo was awarded from $6 billion to $10 billion, which Uganda has not yet paid. How is this fiction? The Wall Street Journal reported on June 8, 2006 that General Museveni contacted Kofi Annan who was then Secretary General of the United Nations and asked him to block an investigation by the International Criminal Court of the same crime for which the International Court of Justice had already ruled that Uganda was liable for. How is this fiction? Clearly General Museveni feared that he would have been indicted. There is no statute of limitation on those Congo murders and I don’t see why the ICC should not continue the case. But instead of continuing the case against General Museveni and other senior Uganda military officers involved in the crimes against Congo, where some estimates says more than 7 million people may have now perished through the many wars, we are instead talking about General Museveni’s foreign minister becoming President of the United Nations General Assembly? Has the world gone mad? Even George Orwell could not dream up such a scenario.
Q. For those who haven’t seen or read your petition; can you remind us the issues you raised that contained in your petition?
MA: The Petition is found on http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-sam-kutesa-from-becoming-president-un-gen-assembly
The issues are very clear. Uganda, and the country’s foreign minister Sam Kutesa, represent the antithesis of the ideals of the United Nations Organization, which is global peace and stability and the rights of all citizens regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, political beliefs or sexual orientation. A country that epitomizes conflict through wars of aggression, domestic political repressionsm at home and abroad, inciting violence against sexual minorities through the Anti-Homosexuality Act, does not deserve to have its foreign minister as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization. This would be the zenith of hypocrisy. This would be very preposterous.
Q. You specifically petitioned the US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Member Countries, what reactions have you received?
MA: The Petition itself has now been signed over 2,500 people as we speak. The Petition is addressed to Secretary Kerry because he is in a unique position to stop this potential outrage. All he has to do is revoke Sam Kutesa’s visa and he would not be able to come to the United Nations for that post. There is precedent of the Secretary of State using that power as you know. In April when it was revealed that Iran’s newly designated Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Hamid Aboutalebi, was one of the students who seized hostages at the American embassy in Tehran in 1979, the U.S. refused to issue him a visa. Surely the same can be done for the foreign minister of a country found liable for the crime of a war of aggression against a neighboring country with the attendant bloodshed that continues today? Surely the same can be done for the foreign minister of a country that the ICC launched an investigation into its alleged war crimes in the Congo. Surely it can be done for a foreign minister who was named in a memo to the State Department in October 2009 by then U.S. ambassador to Uganda Jerry Lanier as one of three ministers whom General Museveni was unwilling to hold accountable for corruption?
Secretary Kerry through a spokesperson has replied that he has publicly denounced Uganda’s homophobic Anti-Homosexuality Act. We are waiting for him to respond as to his position on Sam Kutesa’s candidacy. The Petition is gaining traction and already two U.S. Senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both of New York and both very influential, have issued strong statements questioning Kutesa’s candidacy. We expect more elected representatives to issue statements and to ask Kerry to do the right thing.
Q. Are you contented with the kind of reaction from John Kerry?
MA: I am please that the momentum continues to build. I imagine Secretary Kerry will take a position soon on behalf of the United States. Either way, the facts against Kutesa’s candidacy will remain the same.
Q . What about reaction from other UN Member Countries?
MA: As you know the United Nations operates in a secretive manner. Representatives of most of the member countries are aware of the Petition. The U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has not responded and we would not expect him to at this point. Kerry’s decision would be most effective. Of course it would be good if the victim of Uganda’s multiple wars of aggression, the Democratic Republic of Congo, through its representatives, made a statement about Kutesa’s candidacy.
Q . A layman would like to know, if succeed and become President of the UN General Assembly, what would be Mr Kutesa’s role?
MA: I think his record speaks for itself as does the record of his boss, General Museveni. Mr. Kutesa himself personally is burdened with numerous allegations of serious corruption and in 1999 he was actually censured by Uganda’s Parliament for corruption. The transcripts of the proceedings are quite chilling, not only in terms of the charges, but the apparent arrogance he displayed. I would advise everyone who takes the United Nations seriously to read those transcripts. At one time after we wrote about the matter on the Huffingtonpost.com we saw that the one transcript that was online was removed. After we mentioned that attempt to conceal information, it was restored. Now there are even more transcripts than before which means there are also people in Uganda who don’t want Kutesa to embarrass the country by getting the post. Kutesa was censured after Parliament heard how, through serious conflict of interest, he essentially siphoned millions of dollars away from Uganda Airlines into his own private company Entebbe Handling Services, or ENHAS. What would you expect him to do at the United Nations?
Q. Again can you remind us over what period Mr. Kutesa would be carrying out this role?
MA: The United Nations General Assembly Presidency is a one-year position. The post rotates among the world’s regions. This year is Africa’s turn. Should Kutesa not get the post I imagine that Cameroon’s foreign minister, who had withdrawn, would resume his candidacy.
Q. With the kind of information and your knowledge about Mr. Kutesa, if you were President Obama’s advisor; how would you advise him before attending important meetings controlled and chaired by Mr. Kutesa?
MA: The fact are known to the United States administration, through the several cables sent by the United States ambassador to the State Department, some of which were published by Wikileaks.
It would be most inappropriate for President Obama and many other world leaders to attend the General Assembly if Sam Kutesa presides as President in September. Secretary of State Kerry should do the right thing and ensure that this does not happen. The U.S. should not feel beholden to Uganda because there are thousands of Ugandan troops in Mogadishu helping to stabilize Somalia. That is not General Museveni’s private army. He always threatens to withdraw them in order to blackmail the U.S. He can’t even afford to do so. How would he pay to maintain them in Uganda? The U.S. pays for their upkeep in Somalia and the U.S. also provides the regime with hundreds of millions of dollars for its upkeep. Museveni needs the U.S. more than they need him.
Q . Morally; what kind of precedent will this set if Mr Kutesa sail through and take charge of such important position?
MA: It would seriously undermine the United Nations and expose it to more ridicule and humiliation.
Q . Now, it’s less than 3 weeks to the D-day date, how successive is your crusade?
MA: That is not how we should assess things. In life one must always do what they believe is the right thing. Even if Kutesa somehow gets the post, we will continue exposing why he is not suitable for the position.
Q. When you step back for a moment; do you have specific evidences to support the issues you raised against Mr Kutesa?
MA: I have already told you about the available documentation. In terms of the crimes against Congo people can access the information through the websites of the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. In terms of Kutesa himself people should start with the transcripts of the Parliamentary censure of 1999 when 152 members against 94 voted to censure him. And this Parliament was dominated and controlled by his own colleagues in the National Resistance Movement ruling party — so imagine that.
Q. What would be an appropriate number of signatures to have your petition considered?
MA: There is no appropriate number. I believe we had about 30 after the first week. We now have 800 as of today. That is tremendous. Of course the more the better. I don’t see that Kutesa’s candidacy is rationally defensible. Perhaps only by Kutesa himself and by General Museveni. They don’t believe in the ideals of the United Nations — global peace and stability and non-discrimination. So why do they really want him as President of the General Assembly of the UN? There can only be ulterior motives including sending a signal to Ugandans that the outside world has no problem with General Museveni’s brutal militarism outside and inside Uganda. That would be wrong.
Q . What do ask of the masses to see this petition sail through?
MA: I am very satisfied with the support coming from people from allover the world. People of various nationalities. The best thing is that more people have now becomed inbecomes thanks to Sam Kutesa, about the nature of the regime of General Museveni.
Q . This sound a very sensitive issue that the subject may feel aggrieved as his space been encroached. Are you not worried about the assets [secret agents] that could be dispatched to deal with you?
MA: Are you referring to assassination or personal harm to me? You cannot stop a person if they are determined to take desperate acts. I would hope that there would be serious consequences. We must never be cowed into silence when faced with serious crimes otherwise we aid and abet such crimes.
Q . Since you started this crusade a couple of weeks ago, what has been the kind atmosphere? I mean voices or messages from Mr Kutesa’s camp into your mailbox.
MA: I have been a journalist for more than 20 years now and stood up for what I believe to be the right thing all these years. I have covered stories where there was intimidation. A story where there was a potential bribe to kill the story, which I never considered for a second, that would have made be very wealthy. I have covered stories for victims that deprived my publication of tens of thousands of dollars in advertising because it was the right thing to do. Nothing intimidates me. Of course I do not invite, or wish for, suffering. But as I said, you always hope there would be serious consequences to anyone who harms you.
Q . What message would you like to pass on the rest of the world before D-Day of June 11, 2014?
MA: Always stand up against injustice and spread the world. You will be pleasantly surprised to find out that there are many people out there who are willing to join the fight against injustice and crimes with impunity.
Miwambo is an exiled Ugandan journalist based in the United Kingdom.