Anti-LRA Twitter Campaign Draws Criticism

Joseph Kony, Lord's Resistance Army leader and one of the world's most wanted rebel chiefs (2006 file photo)
Joseph Kony, Lord's Resistance Army leader and one of the world's most wanted rebel chiefs (2006 file photo)

A group trying to raise awareness about the rebel Lord's Resistance Army in Africa is drawing criticism, with some questioning its purpose and tactics.


U.S.-based Invisible Children launched a campaign on Twitter this week to bring attention to a new film on the LRA and its leader Joseph Kony, who is wanted for war crimes. The messages were among the top trending topics on the social media site Wednesday.

But critics with the magazine Foreign Policy and several blogs say the non-profit exaggerates or misrepresents facts.  In one often-cited example, the film says the LRA has 30,000 fighters, when the real number is believed to be in the hundreds.

Critics also say Invisible Children spends most of the money it raises on itself, is focused on self-promotion, and oversimplifies the LRA problem.

In a response posted on its website Thursday, Invisible Children said the critics are putting out false or misleading information.  

The group also defended its mission, saying that in addition to advocacy work, it runs education programs in the LRA's former home of northern Uganda, and a program to warn villages of impending LRA attacks in Congo and the Central African Republic.
The critics acknowledge the atrocities committed by Kony and the LRA, which is accused of killing and mutilating tens of thousands of people across central Africa in the past 20 years. The group is notorious for kidnapping children to use as soldiers, porters and sex slaves.

Once a powerful force in Uganda, the group has splintered into bands of fighters that continue to attack villages in remote areas.

Last year, U.S. President Barack Obama sent 100 military personnel to the region to help Ugandan troops hunt down the remaining LRA fighters.

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Comments page of 2
by: Opiyo
March 12, 2012 7:25 AM
Trevor, you're a US national. Am Opiyo, a 26yr old Ugandan national born in Anaka the heart of the War zone, North of Uganda. What Invisible Children proposed is just as conflict entrepreneur(s) geared towards getting what can feed their families. My brothers, sisters, friends, etc died in the war. Some where killed to my opened eyes, others abducted & missing till now! Let Invisible Children make their cash monies in the move of Kony!

by: almoros
March 11, 2012 6:42 AM
Thank You so much all the millions of the world hearts and minds who have been sharing the African victims their long history of survival of this Kony's groups and fighters, they really the most dagerous terrorists I have had ever seen them in a village called Trangoolo in the north east of the Central Africa Reublic in the year 2008! Kony has great uncles in the region, they ought not to be excluded!

by: Ho Chi Minh
March 10, 2012 6:36 PM
Kony 2012 is rightly drawing a lot of negative publicity. I like this article, and this one too, I suggest that you all check this out:

by: Chloe
March 08, 2012 4:24 PM
Me and my friend were giving out flyers and holding up signs in our neighborhood to raise awareness about kony

by: Hannington
March 08, 2012 12:05 PM
Invisible Children cannot mention Yuweri for crime against children, that’s a clue about their mission. Kony and Yuweri are criminals. Invisible Children found a golden opportunity to make money out of misery of children. Currently war survivors,children, are dying of nodding disease; no treatment or care for them yet somebody claim to care. Feeding people with lies is something the Invisible Children should review. To betray the trust of the people who rely on them for information is wrong.

by: Gretchen
March 08, 2012 8:17 AM
The film doesn't state that he there are 30000 member of his army. The film says, and I paraphrase that over the years 30000 children have been abducted and forced into submission. Watch it again.

by: jtrevith
March 08, 2012 7:38 AM
For people who might have become recently interested in Uganda, the LRA, and what the US and regional actors are doing about them, I recommend this as a starting place:

by: James
March 08, 2012 7:22 AM
@Reg_dunlop- the reason for the focus on Kony is mentioned in the film- He is number 1 on the International Criminal Court wanted list. Once he is 'brought to justice' (whatever that might entail...) the focus will move to the next on the list.

by: Trevor
March 08, 2012 6:37 AM
How ironic is it that a "Voice of America" News is criticizing a movement that is taking place in the social networking world via the "voices of America" If by "spending money on themselves," You mean starting schools, providing for the poor and funding a movement to stop Kony, then yeah, they spend money on themselves. You are misinterpretting the facts.

by: Erin C. Barr
March 08, 2012 6:20 AM
I had understood the 30,000 people to mean that they'd kidnapped 30,000 people in the 20 year history of the LRA, not that there were 30,000 current members.
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