I’m not up-to-date on this particular organization, but I do study security and development in Central Africa.
This looks to me like an advocacy organization, which is a perfectly legitimate type of organization to be. Lots of massively important decisions get made by public opinion. For example, the public perception of how the US handled Somalia played a direct role in both the rise of Al Queda and our failure to act on the Rwanda genocide. The people in congress are not experts in every random foreign policy issue, and they make their decisions on what their constituency wants. This means that US public opinion can have a very real, game changing effect on international affairs. And advocacy groups play a role in keeping their particular agendas on the map. And so of course their funding is going to go to advocacy and not to feeding orphans or whatever. That’s not their mission.
Their salaries are not out of line with industry standards. Running an NGO requires pretty much the exact same skill set as running a business. You need to be able to have vision, develop talent, manage budgets, run effective projects, etc. It’s the same thing. And development NGOs have some major drawbacks- frequent travel makes it tough for family life, you may find yourself in serious risky security situations, it can be hard to buy houses or have the accouterments of ordinary life, etc. So in order to attract people more talented than starry eyed undergrads and cranks, NGOs have to pay competitively.
To address Komy, yeah, he is a real baddie. He’s been making trouble for years, and he really is just an old fashioned nihilistic sadistic bastard who has been a thorn in everyone’s side for a while. And he has seriously screwed up security in a number of countries who have it bad enough without random psychopaths coming in and slaughtering folks for no discernable reason. He’s got the advantage of being in an area with relatively weak central governments all around, and nobody really has the capacity to contain him. The governments simply don’t control the border regions, and they don’t have the military power to do mucha bout the random criminals camping out on their territory.
But he’s also on the decline. His force has dwindled, and he’s on the run. The US sent some people out to get him, but as far as I can tell they haven’t actually been trying too hard to get where he actually is. It’s hard to tell if this is “get Bin Laden when he was still in Sudan being a troublemaker” or if it’s “wild goosechase for a has-been rebel.”
The whole “Ugandan military” thing is complex. Modern countries need governments to work- they need security, social services, legit ways to manage national revenue, etc. But a government is only as good as people believe that it is and invest in it. A fragmented country that doesn’t see it’s government as having control or being capable of providing security will end up with a government that cannot control it’s borders and needs to rely on bargaining with warlords, ethnic alliances, and keeping the upper-class power elites cushy in order to survive. A weak government, for example, is going to end up dead if they try an anti-corruption campaign that threatens the next-highest level of government. Anyway, this all creates a bit of a catch-22. In order to make a government robust enough to make positive change, it needs to become strong, which isn’t something you want to encourage in a bad government. But the alternative- revolution- rarely works out well for anyone and doesn’t usually lead t lasting positive change. So there just isn’t a neat and clean solution.