Pan-African Unity Dialogue members include (far left) Alassane Diop, Matty Njie, Dr. Ron Daniels (sixth from left, backrow) and Sidique Wai (next to Daniels). Holding the poster is Milton Allimadi. Next to Allimadi (right) is Barbara King and slightly obscured is Dr. Nurhussein Mohammed. (262790)
Credit: Contributed

A coalition of Pan-African organizations based in New York Friday called on the Trump administration to place an arms embargo on Uganda, whose military under the dictatorship of Gen. Yoweri Museveni has caused the deaths of millions of Africans in East and Central Africa, the group said. 

Leaders of some of the organizations that constitute the Pan-African Unity Dialogue made the demands during a lunch-time protest May 25, African Liberation Day, outside Uganda’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, at 336 E. 45 St. in Manhattan, right next to the U.S. Mission. 

Dr. Ron Daniels, who is the founder of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century, called on the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus to take the initiative in introducing measures to end any U.S. role in acting as an “enabler” of Museveni’s atrocities. Daniels asked, “Do Black lives matter?” in reference to the outrageous death toll in East and Central Africa as a result of Museveni’s militarism. 

Daniels is also the founder and coordinator of the PAUD, an alliance of African-American, African, Caribbean and Latino organizations and unionized workers based in New York City. The PAUD holds quarterly meetings in New York to strategize and to determine campaigns around issues that have an impact on the entire global African community. The PAUD tackles domestic U.S. and international issues. In 2014, for example, the PAUD coordinated the visit of a delegation of African-American journalists to Algeria and to refugee camps to report on the plight of Saharawis from what is also known as Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. 

The PAUD is involved in the reparations campaign, campaigns against police brutality, a campaign to halt exploitation of land by Robert De Niro in Barbuda, a campaign against the enslavement of Africans in Libya, a campaign on ethical and fair outside investment guidelines for Africa and numerous others. More than a year ago the PAUD decided to focus on “crises points in Africa” and launched its “Stop Museveni!” campaign after concluding that Uganda under the 32-years dictatorship had become the epicenter and originator of the conflict in the entire East and Central Africa region. 

Friday’s protest was part of the ongoing campaign that this writer is involved in.

In December 2017, President Trump announced in his National Security Directive that African rulers who brutalize their citizens would be sanctioned individually, as would their governments and institutions. The directive also says the U.S. would suspend financial aid to corrupt regimes. Museveni and his regime qualify on both counts. 

Millions of Africans have perished as a result of Museveni’s militarism over the past 32 years, including his atrocities in the northern part of Uganda, as told in the documentary film “A Brilliant Genocide”; the massacres in Namukora, Kayunga and Kasese, in Uganda; the invasion of Rwanda in 1990 that exacerbated tensions between Hutus and Tutsis and led to the 1994 genocide when the plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down (the missile reportedly was provided to the insurgent Rwanda Patriotic Front by Uganda); the multiple invasions of Congo that have unleashed a series of wars—in the meantime, Uganda and Western corporations have been plundering Congo’s resources—that have claimed the lives of more than 6 million Congolese; and the December 2013 invasion of South Sudan by Museveni’s military, during which Human Rights Watch reported that cluster bombs—banned by international law—were used. 

The November 2016 Kasese massacre was the most recent mass atrocity by Museveni. He has refused demands by Human Rights Watch for an independent international investigation. 

Alassane Diop, a member of the United African Congress who hails from Senegal, said the “days of dictators in Africa are over.”

Diop is also an adviser on Africa in the office of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. The borough president last year hosted Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow, on his first visit to New York City after he assumed office. Barrow had defeated dictator Yahya Jammeh, who, after first conceding defeat, refused to step down. He fled into exile after forces of the Economic Commission of West African States, the regional body, intervened.

Matty Njie, a member of the Gambian Diaspora community in New York, said her compatriots had suffered under the tyranny of Jammeh and would collaborate with Ugandans in U.S.-based campaigns against Museveni. She said Jammeh was a megalomaniac who used to tell Gambians that he was the only leader in the country with a vision, which is exactly what Museveni has told Ugandans. 

Sidique Wai, president and national spokesperson of the UAC, a New York City-based organization that represents the interests of continental Africans in the United States, called on members of Congress to pass a resolution barring the sale of weapons to Uganda. He called Museveni “Africa’s destabilizer in chief.” There are an estimated 8 million African immigrants in the United States. Wai is from Sierra Leone. 

Ethiopian-born UAC Chairman Dr. Nurhussein Mohammed also called for a halt to the sale of U.S. weapons to Museveni. 

Barbara King, who heads the Africa Committee in the City of Newark, one of the most impressively revitalized cities in the country, under the leadership of Mayor Ras Baraka, son of the late legendary author and poet Amiri Baraka, echoed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” She said the City of Newark would lend its voice in supporting any campaign that leads to halting Museveni’s atrocities. 

At one point, a Ugandan official in a brown suit emerged from the building, pretended he was just walking by, and then turned around and snapped some pictures with his cellphone camera. Security agents are notorious for doing that in Uganda, and then later picking up some demonstrators for torture in so-called safe houses.

The organizers of the protest plan to inform the New York Police Department and the State Department about the official’s behavior.

Milton Allimadi is an author and a publisher.