Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Uganda: Somali, Zanzibar, Djibouti Presidents Arrive

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

BY Henry Mukasa 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

Sunday, March 16, 2008

War rally marks Iraq anniversary

Hundreds of anti-war protesters have staged a demonstration in Glasgow marking five years since the start of the conflict in Iraq.

The Scottish demonstration is part of a day of action in a number of cities throughout the UK and abroad.

The rally heard calls for troop withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as opposition to possible action against Iran.

Among the marchers was Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon died in Iraq.

Military families She was leading a contingent of military families demanding that troops be brought home.
Mrs Gentle said: "The military families are here today to say this is five years and over the last five years we've lost a lot of our armed forces.

"It's five years now and it's time our boys came home and for Gordon Brown to set a date and say this is when they will be out of Iraq.

"We hope that he starts helping the families and injured and those with combat stress and the veterans."

Representatives from organisations including Solidarity, the Communist Party of Britain, EIS and Unison also took part in the march.

The demonstrators set off from Blythswood Square and marched to Glasgow Green for a rally with speakers including Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn.
Ms Sturgeon said: "Five years ago, thousands of people marched through the streets of Glasgow to say no to an illegal war in Iraq.

"Five years on, people across Scotland and now the party of government in Scotland still say no to this illegal war.

"All of us opposed to this war must continue to campaign for it to come to an end, for an end to the loss of thousands of lives and for our troops to come home safely."
Other cities participating in the worldwide protest organised by the Stop the War Coalition include London, Washington, Beirut, Sydney and Seoul.

The Glasgow march was organised by the Stop the War Coalition Scotland.

Source: BBC