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Somali, Zanzibar, Djibouti presidents arrive

BY Henry Mukasa
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf, Zanzibar’s Amani Abeid Karume and Djibouti’s Sem Ismail Omar Guelleh 

Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf, Zanzibar’s Amani Abeid Karume and Djibouti’s  Ismail Omar Guelleh

Kampala, Uganda - FOUR heads of state arrived yesterday to attend the official opening of the Gadaffi National Mosque and thanksgiving prayers.

Presidents Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi), Sem Ismail Omar Guelleh (Djibouti), Amani Abeid Karume (Zanzibar) and Abdullahi Yusuf (Somalia) were invited by Libyan leader Maummar Gadaffi, who is on a four-day visit in Uganda. Gadaffi funded the completion of the national mosque at Old Kampala hill.

Abdullahi was the first to arrive at 9:00pm on Monday night. Karume, the chairman of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Council, is also the vice- president of the Republic of Tanzania. He landed at Entebbe yesterday afternoon.

Guelleh landed at dusk and was received by the Third Deputy Prime Minister, Kirunda Kivejinja.

In the evening, Entebbe Road witnessed a flurry of activity as the Police escorted various convoys to and from Entebbe airport.

As Guelleh was being driven to Munyonyo resort, his convoy met a long procession of ambassadors’ cars at Kitubulu as they headed to State House Entebbe for a state banquet.

At Kitala, Guelleh was driven past the convoy of President Yoweri Museveni, who was heading to Entebbe to meet his guests.

Today, the presidents of New Guinea, Kenya, Rwanda and Chad are expected to join their colleagues. Sources said Gadaffi sent several aircraft to various African countries to ferry Muslims for the mosque inauguration and the prayers at Nakivubo Stadium.

Meanwhile, Madinah Tebajjukira reports that Gadaffi has blasted African leaders who have not prioritised the interests of their people, especially the marginalised women and vulnerable children.

Meeting women leaders from various institutions at Serena Hotel in Kampala, Gadaffi said African leaders should perceive the change sweeping through Africa as a social rather than a political one.

“The thinking of African leaders is directed towards election and political parties. They have no time to think about the youth, women, families and children. An African woman should think about herself and do something instead of paying attention to politicians,” he implored amid chants of “Allahu-Akbar.”

“You can have a dialogue with an African leader thinking he is thinking at the same level with you, yet he is thinking about future elections,” he added, to more chants of “Allahu-Akbar, the president of the people.”

“You are all aware of the situation and reality of Africa today. It’s shifting from one position to another, and I wish it could be a social one to include the women, children and the youth,” Gadaffi said. He repeated his earlier comments that African leaders are distracted by imminent elections, and whether their constitutions allow them more terms. “This is a problem.”

He explained that the electoral system was copied from western countries and was not suitable to the African culture and environment.

“We have imported western systems and we have changed Africa. We are now grounded on political problems.”

He cited the post-election violence that gripped Kenya after the disputed presidential elections last December.

About 1,000 people were killed in the ethnic clashes that followed.

Source: New Vision, Mar 19, 2008