Thursday, December 9, 2010

Museveni feared plot by Gaddafi to kill him - WikiLeaks

President Museveni told the US government that he feared long time ally and Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi would shoot down his plane as he travelled over international airspace.
The damning revelation is contained in one of two classified memos on Uganda in which the private observations of top American diplomats are made public by controversial whistleblower website, WikiLeaks.

Mr Museveni’s fears of a possible assassination were expressed to America’s former top Ambassador on Africa Jendayi Frazer at a meeting on June 13, 2008. According to the classified memo, President Museveni reported to the US that he feared Col. Gaddafi would eliminate him because he had opposed the Libyan leader’s push for the creation of a United States of Africa.

“President Museveni said Libyan President Qadhafi ‘is a problem’ for the continent and is pushing for the creation of a ‘United States of Africa’ to be governed by one president,” Ms Frazer is quoted in the classified memo which was first published in The Guardian newspaper in the UK yesterday. Mr Museveni told Ms Frazer that he thought Col. Gaddafi’s plan was “neither feasible nor desirable”, a matter which seemed to anger the Libyan leader.

“Museveni noted that tensions with Qadhafi are growing as a result, and he worries that Qadhafi will attack his plane while flying over international airspace,” Ms Frazer said.

The memo went on to say Mr Museveni asked the US government to provide additional air radar information whenever he flies over international waters. The memo documents private conversations between Mr Museveni and Ms Frazer, then US assistant secretary of state for Africa, when the NRM leader was attending the graduation ceremony of his son, Lt. Col. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, in Kansas. Barely seven months after that meeting, Mr Museveni purchased a new luxury Gulf Stream V presidential jet at a cost of Shs88.2 billion and replaced his old Gulfstream IV jet. The new jet, said to be outfitted with enhanced anti-terror capabilities, was reported the only one of its kind known to be owned by anybody else on the continent. In the leaked memos, Mr Museveni spoke about his frustrations with the DRC leader Joseph Kabila—who he described as “not serious” and “not capable”, in joining forces with Uganda to launch a military offensive against the LRA rebels who were then encamped in the Garamba Forest.

In December 2008, six months after the Frazer conversation, the UPDF, with aid of logistical support from the US government launched an offensive against the LRA in Congo, driving the rebel outfit to the Central African Republic. But there have been mixed reactions over the success or failures of Operation Lightning Thunder, with reports awash about the deaths of several hundred Congolese civilians.

In one of the leaked memos, President Museveni is shown speaking indifferently about Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe. Mr Museveni suggested that Mr Mugabe was a disgrace to his fellow liberation leaders and told of how the Zimbabwe leader is unwilling to take calls from most African leaders because they are not his age-mates. Mr Museveni told Ms Frazer that “Zimbabwe’s faltering economy and Mr Mugabe’s poor understanding of the private sector were at the root of Zimbabwe’s political problems”, the memo stated.

View cable 09KAMPALA1197, UGANDA: SCENESETTER FOR VISIT OF ASSISTANT here . Other UGANDA cables can be found here.

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