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Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI37, UGANDA: QADHAFI'S CROWN TARNISHED IN COUNCIL OF KINGS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TRIPOLI37 2009-01-21 14:02 2011-02-01 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
Appears in these articles:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wikileaks-files/libya-wikileaks/
VZCZCXRO1552
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN
DE RUEHTRO #0037 0211445
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O R 211445Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4336
INFO RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0008
RUEHFN/AMEMBASSY FREETOWN 0004
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 4859
C O N F I D E N T I A L TRIPOLI 000037 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR NEA/MAG 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  1/15/2019 
TAGS: PREL AU LY UG
SUBJECT: UGANDA: QADHAFI'S CROWN TARNISHED IN COUNCIL OF KINGS 
CANCELLATION 
 
REF: FREETOWN 005 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: John T. Godfrey, PolEcon Chief. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 

1. (C) Muammar al-Qadhafi's campaign to create a "United States of Africa" under his leadership was dealt another blow last week by Uganda's decision to cancel a meeting between al-Qadhafi and an estimated 200 African tribal leaders that was to have taken place in Kampala.  Press reports indicate that the the Ugandan government cancelled the meeting on constitutional grounds, saying that traditional leaders are banned from participating in political debate.  

2. (C) The aborted meeting in Kamapala would have followed al-Qadhafi's August 2008 convocation of a council of African tribal kings to Benghazi to attend the annual celebration of "Revolution Day."  At that event, the kings annointed al-Qadhafi "King of Kings" and presented him with a golden crown and scepter.  Local observers interpreted al-Qadhafi's convocation of the African kings as an attempt to create additional, bottom-up political pressure on African governments to support his dream of a united Africa.  A visiting king was quoted in Libyan state-owned press as saying, " ... the people believe in the chiefs and kings more than they believe in their governments".  

3. (C) Comment: While most Libyan officials take a more pragmatic approach to African unity, al-Qadhafi remains convinced of his popularity and, at least for purposes of public consumption, of the viability of a united political, economic, and defense union on the continent.  His enthusiasm for the project backfires as often as not, as seen on a recent trip to West Africa (reftel).  This year is particularly meaningful for al-Qadhafi:  2009 is the 40th anniversary of the coup that brought him to power and the 10th anniversary of the Sirte Proclamation at which the modern African Union was announced. With Libya angling for the AU presidency and veteran Libyan diplomat and Africa point-man Ali Treiki looking forward to a tour as the President of the UN General Assembly, a continued push for African unity by al-Qadhafi - to include traditional consultations with other African leaders and less conventional vehicles like the council of tribal leaders - will continue. End comment.  
CRETZ