Web star born: Kony video gets millions of views

By Rodney Muhumuza

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 8 2012 2:01 p.m. MST

Invisible Children posted rebuttals to the criticism on its website, saying that it has spent about 80 percent of its funds on programs that further its mission, about 16 percent on administration and management, and about 3 percent on fundraising. The group said its accountability and transparency score is currently low because it has four independent voting members on its board of directors and not five, but that it is seeking to add a fifth. The group said the three workers in the photo thought it would be a good "joke" photo for family and friends.

Kony's Ugandan rebel group is blamed for tens of thousands of mutilations and killings over the last 26 years.

Rear Adm. Brian L. Losey, the top U.S. special operations commander for Africa, told reporters last month that U.S. troops are now stationed in bases in Uganda, Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic as part of the anti-LRA fight. Losey said there's been a decrease in the lethality of LRA activities attributable to U.S. and partner nation efforts.

Ruhakana Rugunda, the Ugandan diplomat who led the country's failed peace negotiations with Kony in 2006, said the work of organizations such as Invisible Children preserves the memory of an insurgency whose brutal legacy should never be forgotten. The talks with Kony, mediated by South Sudan, ended in 2008 after the rebel leader refused to sign the final peace agreement, saying he could not guarantee his security once he left the bush.

The last known images of Kony show him shaking hands, and sometimes smiling, with dignitaries visiting his camp. Some images showed him wearing a suit and shiny black shoes.

"Kony gives you the impression that he is harmless, that he cannot catch a fly," Rugunda said, recalling his conversations with Kony, who was an altar boy before he became an elusive rebel leader.

Rugunda last saw Kony in a forested camp in eastern Congo before the rebel leader and his men fled to the Central African Republic, where they have retained the capacity to harass villagers for food.

Rugunda said that capturing Kony alive would set in motion a "full accountability mechanism" in which the world would get to know how it came to be that Kony committed the many crimes he is accused of.

Straziuso reported from Nairobi, Kenya. Associated Press reporters Elliot Spagat contributed from San Diego and Mike Corder from The Hague.

On the Internet:

www.kony2012.com

Invisible Children's reaction to blog accusations: http://s3.amazonaws.com/www.invisiblechildren.com/critiques.html

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