The East African country of Uganda is reportedly willing to allow Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi to live there in exile, according to spokesman for Ugandan president.
The Associated Press reported that Tamale Mirundi said that Gaddafi would be welcome in Uganda and that country had a policy to accept asylum seekers.
“So we have soft spots for asylum seekers. Gaddafi would be allowed to live here if he chooses to do so,” Mirundi said.
Those are rumors. I have just been in a cabinet meeting with all the ministers and yes we discussed Libya but there was nothing on asylum that we discussed, Henry Okello Oryem, Uganda’s junior Minister for Foreign Affairs, told Reuters.
However, if Gaddafi does apply for asylum in Uganda, we'll consider his application like we do for all those who seek refuge in Uganda.
Uganda is currently home to more than 20,000 refugees from Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea and Rwanda fleeing wars.
Uganda is also a member of the African Union ad hoc committee which is seeking to mediate a resolution of the Libyan crisis.
AP speculated that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni may sympathize with Gaddafi, since both represent the “old guard” of African leaders. Museveni has ruled Uganda for 25 years, while Gaddafi has been boss of Libya for 40 years.
Museveni had recently written a lengthy newspaper column in which he defended Gaddafi and denounced the military intervention in Libya by the US, UK and European powers.
“Whatever his faults, is a true nationalist,” Museveni wrote of Gaddafi. “I prefer nationalists to puppets of foreign interests.”
Gaddafi has in the past invested money in Uganda, including paying for the construction of a mosque in Kampala, as well as other large projects.
Separately, Ugandan police officials said they prevented a group supporters of Gaddafi from marching towards – and possibly attacking – the embassies of the U.S, and some other countries.
The group of several hundred reportedly comprised people from other African countries, including Kenya, Somalia, and Tanzania, who carried banners which read “Down with America” and “Down with Obama.”
Even if Gaddafi wanted to live in Uganda, he may be prevented from going anywhere if the International Criminal Court chooses to indict him on war crimes. (Uganda is a signatory to the statute that created the court).