Military Humanitarianism: Business-Humanitarian Adventures in Central Africa in the Hunt for Joseph Kony

Authors: Ayesha Nibbe*, Hawaii Pacific University
Topics: Africa, Human Rights, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: Humanitarian Aid, Northern Uganda, African Conflict
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Estherwood, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


A great deal of media attention has been directed towards Central Africa since the release of Kony 2012. The creators of Kony 2012, Invisible Children, brilliantly rescripted the rules of “commodification humanitarianism” in their efforts to end the war historically centered in Northern Uganda. Aside from conventional humanitarian groups that have worked diligently through official channels to keep international focus on this conflict, a strange new brand of Kony 2012-inspired “activism” is emerging that dabbles directly in military-style activities for the purposes of achieving humanitarian goals. This paper discusses how a charitable arm of a multi-billion-dollar American investment firm pointed huge capital resources towards direct military-style action with the aim of capturing Joseph Kony. The stated goal of these actions was to stop “the core problem” – i.e. the war itself – so, as the visionary of this operation put it, “I don’t have to spend more money in the future on the victims.” This paper discusses the emergence of military humanitarianism in the hunt for Joseph Kony and the greater implications of this phenomenon and other business-humanitarian partnerships on the politics of African continent.

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