Musa Francis Ecweru, Ugandan Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, spoke to BYU-Idaho students Friday June 5.
Ecweru’s lecture, titled “Healing Invisible Wounds of African Refugees: The End of the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Post-Kony Era in Northern Uganda,” informed students and faculty about Ugandan politics, Ecweru’s time fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army and his current stewardship of thousands of refugees in Uganda.
Ecweru said Uganda is a relatively young and developing country, created in 1962, and is now a hotbed for African refugees from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Sudan and Tanzania.
Africans flee into Uganda for various reasons, most recently including Cholera outbreaks in Burundi, according to allafrica.com.
Most American exposure to Ugandan refugees comes through Invisible Children, a non-profit group dedicated to raising awareness and stopping the Lord’s Resistance Army, according to invisiblechildren.com.
African terrorist and Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony has led the abduction of over 30,000 children, and is responsible for the displacement of thousands of east and central Africans, many of which rely on Uganda for help, according to invisiblechildren.com.
Ecweru said his main work is to help current and former refugees recover physically and psychologically from effects of terrorism and other disruptions that displace east Africans out of their home countries. He works to help get them back to their countries or relocate permanently in Uganda.
Ecweru encouraged Americans to be grateful for their country.
“You must be grateful to your forefathers for the foundation they gave you,” Ecweru said.
He also directly addressed African BYU-I students. He encouraged them to learn skills at BYU-I that will help them solve Africa’s problems when they get home.
“Make the best use of this place and get the knowledge you need here to help transform Africa,” Ecweru said.
During his trip to the U.S., Ecweru worked on establishing business relationships in Utah and Idaho and spoke at Utah Valley University business graduate students.
“Africa is a bad case, but not a hopeless case,” Ecweru said. “The future is in Africa.”