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Aug
25

WIKILEAKS: HOW GADDAFI CANCELLED AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RULERS’ CONFERENCE IN GHANA

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DE RUEHAR #0712 2090942
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R 280942Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY ACCRA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8057
UNCLAS ACCRA 000712

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AU PGOV XA XY XF LY GH
SUBJECT: GADDAFI CANCELS VISIT TO GHANA

¶1. SUMMARY: (U) An international conference of West African
traditional rulers scheduled to be held in Ghana was abruptly
canceled three days before Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was
scheduled to be crowned “king of kings” at the event. Reasons
for the cancellation are not clear, but press speculation
centers on a misunderstanding between the GOG and the
National House of Chiefs that was to host the event about the
purpose of the meeting. Gaddafi, who had planned to pay for
the conference, is thought to have wanted to use the
traditional leaders to push for a single African government
with him as president, a move opposed by elected officials.
END SUMMARY

¶2. (U) The first West Africa Traditional Rulers conference
was scheduled to bring together more than 600 chiefs, kings,
sultans, and mayors of cities in West Africa. Ghana was
selected to host the conference entitled “The role of
traditional rulers in the integration of African states” in
honor of the centenary of the birth of Ghana’s first
president and pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah.

¶3. (U) The conference was to have been paid for then opened
by Gaddafi, who one newspaper called “the main character of
the event”. Delegates to the conference were expected to
proclaim Gaddafi “king of kings” despite the fact that the
same title was bestowed on him last year by 200 traditional
rulers and African kings at a conference in Libya.

¶4. (U) Staff at the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture
confirmed reports printed in a state-owned newspaper that
Gaddafi wanted to use the traditional leaders to push for a
single African government in which the traditional rulers
hold a formal place and Gaddafi is president, a move to which
Africa’s elected political leaders object. In what appears to
be a face-saving measure, the same newspaper reported Libyan
government sources as saying Gaddafi could not make the trip
because he was attending to some exigencies and that his
visit has been rescheduled for September. The president of
the National House of Chiefs said the conference had been
called off because of a “technical hitch” and was in no way
related to Gaddafi’s inability to make the trip.

¶5. (U) The timing of the traditional rulers’ event also
raised questions in the media. The African Union (AU) Summit
in Libya ended July 3, seven days before President Obama
arrived in Ghana and gave a forceful speech in support of
Ghana’s democratic principles. One commentator noted that
Gaddafi’s visit to Ghana less than two weeks after the
President’s visit would have been an apparent challenge to
the USG efforts to shore up Ghana’s and Africa’s progress in
developing home-grown democracy, freedoms, and the rule of
law.

TETELBAUM


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