A stand-off between the former Qaddafi ambassador in Kampala and the Ugandan authorities came to an end Friday, when the diplomat, . . .[restrict]Abdallah Bujeldain, was stripped of his status and evicted from the embassy building.
Bujeldain, who had been in post since 1989 is, however, to be allowed to stay in Uganda.
The spat began when the former regime’s ambassador refused to quit the embassy and his official residence on Kololo Hill Drive, north of the capital’s airport, after the NTC’s new diplomatic team arrived in Kampala.
The initial reluctance of the Ugandan authorities to take any action against the former representative, meant that their diplomats accredited to Tripoli were not permitted entry to Libya and had to wait in Tunisia.
Uganda enjoyed good relations with Qaddafi, who directed large sums of Libyan money towards education and communications. He was also popular with Uganda’s four million Muslims, some 12 percent of the population, because of his funding which included the striking National Mosque, built in the capital in 2006.
Via the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAIP), Qaddafi acquired stakes in seven Ugandan companies, including the Tropical Bank, Uganda Telecom Limited and the National Housing and Construction Company Limited, worth in total, in excess of $375 million. These assets, frozen during the revolution, have since been released.
Official Ugandan reluctance to work with the NTC was overcome following high level at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa last month which was attended by Prime Minister Abdurrahman Al-Kib. Only now, however, have the authorities in Kampala acted to regularise the diplomatic situation.
Uganda’s foreign affairs minister Okello Oryem was quoted by the Associated Press saying that Bujeldain was no longer the Libyan ambassador to his country: “He can no longer continue to enjoy the status of an ambassador. I don’t know if he’s willing to go home, but he’s welcome to stay in Uganda for as long as he wishes. We cannot press him to go to Libya.” [/restrict]