Opinion | Rebuttal to Whitaker | Uganda’s Foreign Sanitizer – The Whi-Takers and the Losers

Posted May 21, 2016 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Opinion ~ 4,760 views



By Dr. Daniel Kawuma — Following a grueling season of bad press and missteps by the Ugandan government, it was inevitable that they would recruit the Washington DC based Whitaker Group to sing hymns of praises and great fortune for the Pearl of Africa. Rosa Whitaker Africa’s networking business guru and at times PR machine has in the past offered the NRM regime a letter to US congress for a clean bill of health that cost tax payers $75,000 that we know of.

Whitaker’s assault on US diplomats in Uganda was an act of sanitizing the bloody mess left behind by the Uganda government through the lens of foreign actors. Her rationale stems from classical realism where morality and justice for all Ugandan people is irrelevant but survival of the State and preservation of foreign interests paramount. This reductionist approach grants priority to the political regime at the expense of the citizenry with the rationale that universal moral principles are in-existent.

Uganda in the eyes of the Whitaker Group is a cash cow milked for its reliable economic ties and talk of morality and rights of citizens is background noise to the primary objective of foreign stake holders. Whitaker argues that diplomats have no moral or legal grounds to hold the Uganda government in contempt of the ICC treaty for which the US is not a signatory. They should instead bow to the regime and be grateful for regional stability and the joint antiterrorism front in Somalia. Whitaker insinuates that foreign diplomats and Ugandans have no right to complain about their predicament as long as the cotton is picked and the plantation runs efficiently.

United States diplomats Bruce Wharton and Ambassador to Kampala, Deborah Malac are accused of activism and failure to abide by the foreign relations script that includes holding the nose while executing your mission to the country. Whitaker’s goal was not winning the hearts and minds of the Ugandan populace but rather serenading and massaging the egos of policy makers on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist. The mission was to remove any doubt for the benefit of her clients that Ugandans had a fair election, the people voted for peace and that the true President of Uganda is not the man behind bars in Luzira prison.

Whitaker was strategically pressuring diplomats in Uganda by reminding them of their responsibility to represent America’s business and strategic interests and not trivial issues such as the suffering of African people. Whitaker in fact singles out law makers in the United States including International Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce and Congress members Charlie Rangel, Karen Bass and Senators Chris Koons, Johnny Isakson and Jeff Flake for not walking off the reservation.

Whitaker is a textbook case of the revolving door between government and the private sector. As Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa under the Administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Whitaker took advantage of her position and acquired access to regimes across the continent for a seat at Africa’s tax-payer buffet while laying the foundation for lobbying in the private sector. It’s no mystery that Whitaker has been in bed with the Uganda government and the pillow talk got her business ventures on Karuma and Isimba dam projects, African Growth and Opportunity Act dealings, Standard Gauge Railway project, and sugar coating Uganda’s image in US congress among others.

Whitaker is a symbol of the marriage between African regimes and influential foreign actors where citizens are not invited to the feast. In spite of her accomplishments that include awards as one of the top 100 Global political thinkers in 2010, it’s irresponsible to legitimize regimes that are sowing the seeds of unrest around Africa after a period of relative stability. America has certainly made mistakes from interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria among others. However, the power vacuum created by post- bigmanism and neopatrimonialism in African states is our own making. Consolidation of power through annihilation of opposition parties, manipulation of constitutional term limit safeguards and failure to accommodate peaceful and predictable transfer of power will inevitably lead to chaos with or without the intervention of foreign actors. The failure for Whitaker to acknowledge the underlying abuse of power by the NRM government beyond the will of the voters in her critic of the actions of Bruce Wharton, and Ambassador Deborah Malac is intellectual dishonesty.

When Rosa Whitaker looks Museveni in the eyes who has ruled Uganda since 1986 and his inauguration invitation list that includes Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe ruler since 1980; Paul Biya Cameroon ruler since 1982; Omar Bashir Sudan ruler since 1989; Iddris Debby Chad ruler since 1990; Jose Eduardo do Santos Angola ruler since 1979 and Teodoro Obiang Nguema Equatorial Guinea ruler since 1979; does she see the hopelessness of the populace, the poverty, the suppression of free speech, the corruption, erosion of individual liberties, the spilled blood and mass graves across the continent or does she only see investment opportunities for her clients? We see the suffering of Ugandans not Whitakers!

Dr. Daniel Kawuma

Maryland, U.S.A

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.



    Thank you for exposing madam Rosa Whitaker. I was shocked when I read her article an now understand it was just business.


    Thanks Doc.!
    I feel a lot better now that not all of us are naive.
    Madam career diplomat,let Ugandans continue buttering your bread as they despair.
    I pity the uneducated for taking the educated so seriously.
    Once again doctor thanks for your splendid piece.

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