Rebutting Andrew Mwenda’s attempt to intentionally or unintentionally distorts facts to suit his arguments
COMMENT | JACK PINTO | Refer to: “The Ukraine tragedy: How America is dragging the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation in a matter of no strategic interest to it” (The Independent March 04). In that article, Andrew Mwenda intentionally or unintentionally distorts facts to suit his arguments. One pities those who take his arguments as gospel truth. He is a propagandist for President Yoweri Museveni Tibahaburwa, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and First son Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba. He now wants to be one for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
This is no surprise because anyone in the world who hates human rights and rule of law and disdains democracy lives in awe and idolism of Putin. That includes all the far right political ideology supporters – former U.S. President Donald Trump and his supporters, nationalists, racists and the like. Unfortunately, it includes some Africans who are brain-washed and confused.
In his article Mwenda either does not know (ignorance is no excuse) or ignores many facts. I will list a few:
- After the 2nd World War, Russia controlled all countries in Eastern and Central Europe including half of Germany under the USSR. Russia committed horrendous atrocities in these countries including killings and all forms of oppression imaginable. For instance people were summarily executed if they were caught trying to flee to the west. Those who were lucky to survive were sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour in the freezing temperatures of Siberia prisons. Killer dogs were released on some who were caught and the dogs were allowed to tear them into pieces. On top of that, the general population in these countries was really poor. I know these facts. I am not only a student of history but I have visited both Hungary (four times) and Slovakia. In Hungary they have a museum called House of Terror on Andrassy Ut 60 in Budapest. It contains exhibits of the communist regime and also memorial of the victims of this regime including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the building. My friends in those two countries will tell horror stories of life under the Soviet rule. When these countries gained independence they did not only abandon communism for capitalism but also asked/requested to be members of NATO because they could not trust Russia will respect their sovereignty. It was not NATO that came to them. On top of that they all applied to be members of EU.
- In 1993 /1994, in Budapest, through a series of Agreements between Russia, Britain, USA and Ukraine, those countries committed to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine and to guarantee her security. In return Ukraine was made to hand over all her nuclear war heads to Russia. Ukraine had the 3rd highest collection of nuclear war weapons after USA and Russia.
Fast forward- 20 years later, Russia attacked Ukraine and annexed Crimea, and the two provinces in the South East of Ukraine (Donbass Region) that is the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk and continued threatening Ukraine.
- Ukraine is not a member of NATO countries . Although she applied in 2008. Those plans were shelved in 2010 when Viktor Yanukovych a pro-Russian, was elected president.
- The other countries which are not members of NATO and EU which were formerly part of USSR – Georgia and Moldova were attacked by Russia and some of their territories annexed. Georgia was attacked in 2008 while Moldova was invaded in 1992.
- It is well known that Putin has ambitions of creating `Novorossiya’ (New Russia) which will include the whole of Eastern Ukraine while leaving Western Ukraine as a vassal state of Russia.
So in this case, Mwenda, NATO does not pose an existential threat to RUSSIA but Russia/Putin poses that threat to so many countries.
Russia is known for deceiving and saying one thing while they mean another. For example, until the day Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine, he was telling the world leaders that he had no intentions of attacking Ukraine, that the 180,000 troops, tanks, warships and all sorts of heavy artillery amassed around the Ukrainian borders since December 2021 was for peaceful exercises. Putin talked to U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime minster Borris Johnson etcetera and in UN assembly they totally denied that they were going to invade a sovereign state.
The rest we know is history. We are now in a way which as Mwenda rightly say, a slight mistake can lead to a 3rd WW.
But Mwenda is unhappy because the Western press are reporting the truth – the truth that Russia is being given a bloody nose by the Ukraine Army in this way. Putin called the invasion a Military Operation thinking that he will (a) be welcomed with open arms in Ukraine (b) with his fire power and superpower status he expected the campaign to be so easy. Both did not happen. He boasted by saying in 2014 after taking Crimea that it would take him six days to march to and capture Kiev/Kyiv. In reality, he used a shortcut to Kyiv through Belarus this time and two weeks into the campaign the Russian army has failed to capture any significant city or cover any ground. Even cities at the borders with Belarus – Sumy, Kharkiv, etcetera are still in Ukraine control and Russia is losing a lot of manpower and arms. Each day of little progress is psychologically a victory to a small Ukraine Army and Government.
He will win but after completely wiping off the map the cities and all infrastructure and people from the country now known as Ukraine and that will be a pyrrhic victory and Putin will be a pariah in the majority of the world other that China and deluded Africa with leaders like Muhoozi and Jacob Zuma. Sad.