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Museveni wants AU chair but fears Gaddafi snub

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by ByaseL, Nov 6, 2009.

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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Nov 6, 2009
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    President Museveni is ready to take over the African Union chairmanship from Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi, but Kampala is worried that the Libyan leader might embarrass his estranged Ugandan colleague by boycotting the event. Relations between Libya and Uganda have gone cold since Museveni refused to buy into Gaddafi’s idea of forming a United States of Africa.

    According to intelligence sources, President Museveni who last chaired the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now AU, in 1990, might consider chickening out of the continental Summit scheduled for Kampala in July next year.

    Gaddafi, who last set foot in Kampala in March 2008, is likely to skip the Kampala AU summit as the assembly of African leaders gathers to replace him after completing his one-year term as AU chairperson. He took over on February 2, 2009.

    Gaddafi, who used to be Museveni’s good friend, has already skipped what Uganda officials call “important” meetings in Uganda without sufficient explanation.

    One such meeting was the just-concluded AU special summit on internally displaced persons and refugees, which as chairman of the AU, Gaddafi was supposed to open. To make matters worse, out of more than 40 leaders invited, only five turned up, leading to speculation that Gaddafi was behind the low turn-up.


    The nosedive in relations between Museveni and Gaddafi started and picked momentum in 2005 when the former reneged on supporting the latter’s campaign for one African government. President Museveni instead backed South Africa’s former President, Thabo Mbeki’s view of forming a continental economic union first. Since then, the relations between the two heads of state have gone cold.

    Indeed, Gaddafi skipped Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony in May 2006 and has since turned down several invitations, apart from the March 16 - 20, 2008 Afro-Arab youth festival.

    But during this visit, Gaddafi, together with businessman Habib Kagimu, paid a surprise visit to Buganda Kingdom, a move the government viewed as an attempt to embarrass Museveni, who was at loggerheads with the kingdom at that time. In fact, observers who viewed Gaddafi’s return to Uganda as a sign that the relations had warmed up, were taken aback by his Mengo visit.

    It is against this background that analysts believe that the forth-coming Kampala AU assembly might be a disaster if the two long-serving African leaders don’t iron out their differences quickly.
    The Chairperson of the AU is chosen by the Assembly of the African Union, which consists of 53 heads of state of member countries, to serve a one-year term.