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Vol 49 No 7

Published 28th March 2008


The ex-revolutionary front

Two dissimilar but durable leaders have more in common than might at first appear

There is a long, if surprising, alliance between two very different African leaders: the puritanical President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda and the extravagant Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi of Libya. In March, Gadaffi visited Uganda, both to address an African-Arab talk shop and to open the Gadaffi National Mosque, which adorns the Kampala skyline. Its construction began in the 1970s under the late Ugandan President Idi Amin Dada, until Saudi Arabia cut off his funds; Libyan money has finished it off, to accommodate 15,000 worshippers. The Libyan leader told young Arab and African people that poor countries should eschew conditional aid offered by the West as another form of colonisation and he riled Uganda's Christians by announcing that the Bible was a forgery.

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