When Joseph Kony Left Uganda

Joseph Kony was the subject of a documentary that went viral in 2012. A social media campaign accompanied the film’s release using #kony2012 and #stopkony to spread the word. The film and media campaign were created to “make Kony famous” for atrocities he committed against the people of Northern Uganda…so you’ve probably heard of him.


But did you know Kony was not in Uganda in 2012? He fled that country in 2006 and has operated in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic since then.

Pius Bigirimana was placed at the helm of reconstruction efforts in northern Uganda where Kony once kidnapped boys and girls, making them his soldiers and slaves. In 2012 Bigirimana said…

“[Kony] is of no consequence. He is a peripheral issue. It’s some of these people outside who get excited over these things.”

Ugandans, Bigirimana explained, get excited about meeting the needs of Ugandans today. Kony and his violence are in Uganda’s past.

In 2012, Betty Ocan was a member of the Ugandan parliament representing the town of Gulu – a place Kony once operated in and around. Regarding Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Ocan said…

“For the people of northern Uganda, it’s not much a priority. Most of the time the people will say, ‘The most pressing thing for us right now is that we want our children to go to school.'” (source)

Seven years ago Joseph Kony left Uganda. With his rampage there ended, infrastructure could be rebuilt, victims of violence could be rehabilitated, children educated, communities healed.

There is still much to be done, but today many of the needs Kony created or exacerbated in northern Uganda have been met – by brilliant hard-working compassionate Ugandans.

Kony is in Uganda’s past. Now she rebuilds for the future.

See Uganda’s progress for yourself January 27-31, 2014 when Compassion Bloggers travel to Uganda. Wess Stafford, Compassion International’s president emeritus, will lead us to a rural village in northern Uganda where we’ll meet families affected by Kony’s violence to document and celebrate the progress Uganda’s people have made since Kony’s retreat.