Cable by Dazzlepod US Embassy Diplomatic Cables from WikiLeaks Released 251287 Cables (Sep 2, 2012)
SECRET (11322)
Reference ID 09KAMPALA1276 (original text)
OriginEmbassy Kampala
ReleasedAug 30, 2011 01:44
CreatedNov 4, 2009 08:39
DE RUEHKM #1276/01 3080839
R 040839Z NOV 09
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/29/2019 
REF: A. KAMPALA 01055 
      B. KAMPALA 00979 
      C. KAMPALA 01196 
      D. KAMPALA 01271 
Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Aaron Sampson for 
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
1.(C) Summary: President Museveni urged the African Union 
mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to go on the offensive, said the 
Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) was "finished", and expressed 
support for revitalizing the Tripartite Plus process during a 
meeting with Assistant Secretary Carson and other senior USG 
officials on October 24.  Museveni acknowledged the crucial 
importance of free, fair and peaceful presidential elections 
in February 2011, and dismissed concerns about the partiality 
of Uganda's Electoral Commission and the need for electoral 
reform.  Museveni also discussed Uganda's relations with 
Southern Sudan, promised to "discourage" the author of 
legislation that would criminalize homosexuality from moving 
forward with the bill, and assured the Assistant Secretary 
that Uganda would use its impending oil revenues wisely.  End 
Somalia and AMISOM: Let's Get Moving 
 2. (SBU)  President Museveni met with Assistant Secretary 
Carson, Ambassador Lanier, Africa Command Commander General 
Ward, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense Huddleston, and 
USAID/Uganda Director Eckerson for two and a half hours on 
October 24 in Entebbe.  Also present were Minister of Defense 
Crispus Kiyonga, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa, 
acting Minister of Finance Ruth Nankabirwa, Chief of Defense 
Forces General Nyakairima Aronda, and MFA Permanent Secretary 
Ambassador James Mugume. 
 3. (C) Assistant Secretary Carson delivered a letter from 
President Obama expressing condolences for the September 17 
attack on AMISOM headquarters in Mogadishu that killed 
several Ugandan soldiers, praised Uganda as central to the 
survival of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), 
and assured President Museveni of continued U.S. support for 
Uganda's contribution to AMISOM.  Assistant Secretary Carson 
said the U.S. is encouraging TFG President Sheikh Sharif to 
make the TFG more inclusive, more focused on service 
delivery, and better able to amplify its message to the 
Somali people.  The U.S. is also pressing other countries to 
provide troops and financial support to the TFG and AMISOM, 
and is leaning on Qatar to curb assistance to Eritrea. 
 4. (C) President Museveni said Uganda remains fully committed 
to the mission in Somalia, but that AMISOM's presence does 
not equal a solution, and the status quo cannot continue 
indefinitely.  He warned that prolonged paralysis will 
undermine confidence in the TFG and said AMISOM should either 
"move forward or get out."  To this end, Museveni recommended 
increased funding and equipment for both the TFG and AMISOM 
to push extremists out of Mogadishu, Kismayo, Baidoa, and any 
town with an airstrip or a seaport.  He said Uganda was ready 
to provide additional forces to AMISOM, and expressed 
confidence that with additional manpower AMISOM could push 
extremists into the "bush."  Museveni also said the TFG 
should articulate an electoral time-line as a means of 
boosting confidence in the government and providing a 
political mechanism for resolving internal conflict. 
 5. (C) Museveni praised TFG President Sheikh Sharif - 
observing that he is young, flexible, willing to engage in 
dialogue without precondition, and is easier to work with 
than his predecessor - but said Sheikh Sharif needs a 
political movement to build an army around.  Museveni was 
unaware of Kenyan plans to create a buffer zone in Jubaland, 
and agreed that this is a non-starter with the potential to 
further balkanize Somalia and upset Ethiopia.  The President 
attributed the Jubaland idea to Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi 
and said Qadhafi would like to break up Somalia. 
The LRA is Finished 
 6. (C) Assistant Secretary Carson praised Uganda's pursuit of 
the LRA through the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and 
Central African Republic (CAR).  He encouraged Uganda to 
accelerate development in northern Uganda, noting that the 
other side of military action against the LRA is developing 
KAMPALA 00001276  002 OF 003 
the north to stave off the emergence of any successors to 
Joseph Kony.  Proclaiming that the LRA is "finished," 
Museveni said the LRA cannot return to Uganda and that the 
Ugandan military (UPDF) will soon finish the job if it is 
allowed to continue operations in the DRC and CAR.  Museveni 
assured Assistant Secretary Carson that northern Uganda will 
recover and rebound from decades of war and instability. 
Tripartite Plus 
 7. (C)  Assistant Secretary Carson commended Uganda's 
continued rapprochement with neighboring Rwanda.  He 
recommended revitalizing the Tripartite Plus process to bring 
together leaders from DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and key 
observer partners like the U.S. and the EU to discuss 
regional stability, security, economic integration, and 
development for the Great Lakes region.  He noted that 
Special Advisor Wolpe is traveling to Uganda in November to 
discuss Tripartite Plus and expressed hope that Wolpe would 
be able to meet with Foreign Minister Kutesa.  Museveni said 
Uganda and Rwanda have resolved previous differences over the 
DRC, and agreed that revitalizing tripartite plus is a good 
idea.  He said Uganda's relations with Rwanda and the DRC are 
good, but that when they meet Uganda does not discuss 
anything beyond its specific bilateral relationships with 
these Great Lakes neighbors.  There is therefore a demand for 
a reinvigorated Tripartite Plus process. 
2011 Elections 
 8. (C) Turning to the February 2011 presidential elections, 
Assistant Secretary Carson stressed the importance of free, 
open, and transparent elections.  He urged President Museveni 
to give the opposition political space and open the electoral 
process to outside observers to ensure local and 
international credibility.  Museveni claimed the opposition 
already enjoys ample political space but, just like 
"terrorists in Somalia," has no agenda and therefore no 
ability to attract support.  Referring to the closure of 
radio stations and suspension of journalists following the 
deadly September 10-12 riots in Kampala (ref. A), Museveni 
said Uganda has 132 radio stations and seven television 
stations, and that Ugandans are free to hold political 
meetings at anytime and anywhere.  He said the only electoral 
reform needed before 2011 is the computerization of the 
national voter registry to eliminate double registrations 
entered by the opposition. 
 9. (C)  Assistant Secretary Carson said that an impartial 
Electoral Commission representative of the interests of the 
nation is critical.  Museveni described the Electoral 
Commission Chairman as "very unpolitical" and said only two 
commission members were previously affiliated with political 
parties and one of these belonged to the opposition.  He 
allowed, however, that there is a proposal to add additional 
members to the Commission. NOTE: Several members of Uganda's 
partisan Electoral Commission have overt ties to the ruling 
NRM party (ref. B).  Opposition parties are demanding a new 
Electoral Commission as a prerequisite for participation in 
the 2011 election (ref. C).  END NOTE. 
 10. (C) Museveni asked the U.S. to pressure Khartoum to 
implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and warned 
that "a lot of problems" will result if the CPA fails. 
Describing himself as a "victim" of Sudan, Museveni said 
Sudan's "nomadic" search for new mediators is an avoidance 
tactic and invited Special Envoy Gration to visit Uganda.  He 
also recommended Gration liaise closely with the Chairman of 
the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). 
Assistant Secretary Carson promised to relay this information 
to Gration.  He also briefed Museveni on our new Sudan 
strategy paper and our commitment to the CPA.  Museveni said 
Uganda is providing Southern Sudan with limited assistance, 
to include some military and police training, but that 
Southern Sudanese civil servants lack the capacity to 
effectively run a state and require urgent administrative and 
judicial training. 
Anti-Homosexuality Bill 
KAMPALA 00001276  003 OF 003 
 11. (SBU) Assistant Secretary Carson also raised the issue of 
"anti-homosexuality" legislation recently tabled in 
Parliament.  The draft bill, which is not sponsored by the 
Ugandan government, criminalizes homosexuality with proposed 
sentences ranging from imprisonment to, in some cases, death 
(ref. D).  Recognizing that homosexuality is a difficult 
topic for Ugandans, Assistant Secretary Carson said the issue 
attracts a great deal of international attention and that 
passing this legislation will result in condemnation for 
12 (SBU) Apparently unaware of the proposed legislation, 
Museveni said Uganda is "not interested in a war with 
homosexuals" and asked who was responsible for drafting the 
"anti-homosexuality" bill.  When informed of the author by 
acting Finance Minister Nankabirwa, Museveni exclaimed: "But 
that's a member of our party! We shall discourage him. It 
will divert us."  Museveni explained that Ugandans used to 
ignore homosexuality, blamed the legislation on western 
"advocacy" groups who call homosexuality a human right, and 
asked how Uganda should respond to the homosexual recruitment 
of young people.  Assistant Secretary Carson noted that 
sexual exploitation of minors - whether hetero or homosexual 
in nature - was morally reprehensible and should be 
criminalized.  Museveni agreed that criminalizing 
homosexuality between consenting adults "is going too far" 
and said Uganda should instead focus on protecting children 
from sexual exploitation. 
Oil: Uganda is Not Nigeria 
 13. (C) After closing the meeting and presiding over the 
ceremonial signing a $245 million USAID assistance package, 
Museveni invited the entire delegation back into the 
Presidency to discuss Uganda's newfound oil reserves. 
Museveni said there is no chance of oil becoming a curse for 
Uganda because Uganda will use impending oil revenues in five 
carefully defined areas: (1) to develop durable renewable 
energy sources such as hydroelectric power; (2) to 
rehabilitate rail lines; (3) to support higher education; (4) 
to spur high tech scientific research; and (5) to improve 
Uganda's road network. 
 14. (C) Museveni was engaged and animated throughout the two 
and a half hour discussion, particularly when it came to 
military and economic matters.  He repeatedly said that 
AMISOM needs to move forward, but stressed Uganda's 
commitment to the mission and willingness to provide 
increased assistance.  Museveni was surprisingly out of touch 
on key political issues.  He was unaware of the highly 
publicized "anti-homosexuality" bill, but provided positive 
direction once apprised of the details by the acting Minister 
of Finance and the Assistant Secretary.  His dismissal of 
criticism of the Electoral Commission as much ado about 
nothing is less reassuring, as is his continued insistence 
that computerizing voter registries to remove ghost voters 
allegedly introduced by the opposition is the only electoral 
reform necessary for 2011.