[dehai-news] (New Vision, Uganda) Uganda halts Gadaffi meeting with Kings

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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Mon Jan 12 2009 - 16:18:49 EST

Uganda halts Gadaffi meeting with Kings

Publication date: Monday, 12th January, 2009

*By Cyprian Musoke
THE Government has stopped a meeting of kings from the eastern Africa region
that was due today at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, saying it
contradicts the Constitution.

The ministry of Foreign affairs, in a statement issued yesterday, said the
forum being organised by the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gadaffi, would
engage traditional leaders in politics, which is unconstitutional.
About 200 kings, princes, sultans, sheikhs and traditional leaders were
expected to attend the forum in Kampala, according to organisers.

"Given that the objectives of the said forum have to do with political
issues relating to African integration and the creation of the African Union
government, it would be a contravention of the provisions of the Ugandan
Constitution which bars traditional leaders in Uganda from participating in
political debate," the statement signed by the permanent secretary,
Ambassador James Mugume, said.

Inviting kings and chiefs who are not recognised in their respective
countries to come and discuss political issues may raise controversies and
undermine stability in the great lakes region, Mugume said.

The statement explained that according to the Constitution, foreign policy
issues are a matter for the central government.
The forum was supposed to establish an eastern zone and elect a secretary

The forum was initiated by Gadaffi at his 39th anniversary in 2008. Gadaffi
has also been crusading for the establishment of one African government.

In August 2008, over 200 African kings and traditional leaders met in Libya
and bestowed the title "King of Kings" to Gadaffi during ceremonies in
Ugandan traditional leaders were part of the forum, whose objective is to
solve problems where political leaders have failed.

The forum comprises five zones; the eastern, central, west, south and the
northern. The eastern zone has 16 countries including Uganda, Kenya,
Tanzania, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Seychelles.

Earlier yesterday, the permanent general secretary of the forum, King
TCHIFFI ZIE Jean Gervais of Ivory Coast, who arrived last week to prepare
for the forum, paid a courtesy call on the third deputy Prime minister,
Kirunda Kivejinja, at his office.

Gervais called on traditional leaders not to engage in divisive politics.
"Kings, sultans, princes and sheikhs of Africa do not need to do politics
because they are fathers to everybody. If our children are divided by
politics, it is our role to bring them together into one fold."

Kivejinja said traditional institutions were banned in 1966, but the NRM
government brought them back in 1993 to foster peace and development.
He warned that the struggle for power between traditional and political
leaders could easily degenerate into war.

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