- November 28, 2008
- News & Analysis
As campaigning for the 2008 U.S. election heats up this fall, we can’t help thinking how the possible candidates might impact U.S. policy relating to northern Uganda. Earlier this month, the Council on Foreign Relations produced a web page documenting “The Candidates on U.S. Policy toward Africa.” This resource provides an excellent overview of the candidates’ stances relating to general aid and the atrocities in Darfur, but has no mention of northern Uganda. Thus far only a few of the candidates have even addressed northern Uganda, but it is worth mentioning their positions. In the coming months, Resolve Uganda will consider how Election 2008 matters for northern Uganda. You can make sure it matters by urging your favorite candidates to articulate their position to help end Africa’s longest running war!
Sam Brownback: There has probably been no more vocal or consistent advocate for northern Uganda in the Congress than Senator Brownback. In 2004, he was a leading co-sponsor of the Northern Uganda Crisis Response Act, which mandated the State Department to support peacebuilding and humanitarian efforts. He has visited the war-torn region and Uganda several times. Brownback has since co-sponsored other legislation urging greater U.S. awareness to the conflict and engagement for peace. He has also worked closely with advocacy campaigns, including Resolve Uganda, to raise the profile of the issue. On his campaign website, Brownback emphasizes a role for the U.S. in taking the lead to stop genocide and humanitarian crisis.
John Edwards: In October of 2006, Senator Edwards visited northern Uganda with the International Rescue Committee. Upon returning, he wrote an Op/Ed in The Washington Post, urging U.S. support for the ongoing peace talks to “end Uganda’s nightmare.” Edwards wrote, “As these African-led negotiations continue, the United States and the international community must step forward to support the talks — not stand on the sidelines and hope for the best.” On the campaign trail, Edwards has sporadically mentioned northern Uganda as one case where America can restore its moral standing in the world.
John McCain: To our knowledge, Senator McCain has not been particularly active regarding northern Uganda; however, he was a co-sponsor of the Senate resolution earlier this year to urge greater U.S. support for the Juba peace talks between the Government of Uganda and LRA.
To our knowledge, these are the only three candidates that have actively been involved in policymaking relating to northern Uganda. Others have voted for bills and resolutions helping northern Uganda, but they have not articulated a specific policy position or demonstrated leadership on the issue. If this is wrong, we welcome any of the candidates to correct us. Otherwise, we’re asking all the campaigns to express a clear policy on northern Uganda, particularly one for an end to this 21-year nightmare. Most likely though, this will only happen when YOU, the voter, urge them to do so.