Renowned singer, Angella Katatumba has downplayed claims raised by the Pakistani High Commission in Kenya in which she is regarded as not being the legally recognized Consul of Pakistan in Uganda.
The singer, humanitarian and decade-long diplomat has watered down the statement issued by the Nairobi based Ambassador of Pakistan, describing them as malicious and irrelevant.
She insists that she is serving as the Acting Consul of Pakistan in Uganda and that her designation is recognized by the Republic of Pakistan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Uganda.
Katatumba’s response follows a strong worded statement by the Pakistani High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya in which Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is notified of what is termed as “illegal”, “fictitious” and “fake” designation of Angella Katatumba as the Consul of Pakistan in Uganda.
In a March 13 letter authored from the Consulate of Pakistan in Kenya, the Ambassador states that “the so-called Honorary Consulate of Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Uganda” which is led by Angella “is still operating illegally in Uganda”.
The notice further states that since the former Consul of Pakistan in Uganda, Boney Katatumba who was father to Angella passed on in February last year, Pakistan’s Consulate in Uganda was closed.
According to the Nairobi High Commission, the Consulate currently operating in Uganda “is fake and fictitious, and has no legal authority at all”.
But in an exclusive interview with SoftPower News on Sunday, Angella Katatumba says the latest notice from the Nairobi Consulate is part of a long standing vendetta between the Ambassador in Kenya and her late father.
“There has never been an issue between me and Pakistan. The problem comes from Nairobi,” Angella Katatumba said in a telephone interview.
Standoff with embassy in Nairobi
She says that the controversy stems from way back when former Pakistani President, Gen Pervez Musharraf appointed her father, late Boney Katatumba to be Honorary Consul of Pakistan in Uganda. This move, she says, left Ambassador Raza Bashir Tarar and other officials at the Pakistani embassy in Kenya disgruntled since her father was a Christian.
“There is a lot of religious divisionism in Pakistan. And that is why President Musharraf chose a Christian who didn’t know the differences. And that’s why my father was successful for 17 years,” she said.
“When my father was appointed, the Nairobi office hid his appointment letter for two years. Why? Because they were disgusted that a Christian had been appointed. They fought my father for the last 17 years tooth and nail, but being a diplomat, he kept quiet”.
Angella says that the distaste for her and the late father’s religious standing by the embassy in Kenya has carried through to haunt her and that is what explains the recent notice.
She wonders why the Ambassador in Nairobi would continue to posture with threats to close the Consulate in Kampala well knowing that protocol only grants such powers to Pakistan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Uganda.
“When my father died, the Ambassador had the audacity to announce my office closed. Ministry of Foreign Affairs knows that an Ambassador can not close a consulate . that’s why they have ignored him and he continues to write letters. Change can only come from Pakistan not Nairobi. Only a President can close a Consulate.
The situation has been fluid that for ten years, the Consulate in Uganda had not been dealing with the Nairobi High Commission. When things got tough, Angella’s father chose to sideline Nairobi and began to deal directly with Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital.
When she presented her credentials to Nairobi seeking a recommendation to Pakistan to fill her father’s position as Consul, her request was declined because she was not Muslim. Instead, the Ambassador recommended a non Ugandan moslem who was however not considered since a Consul must be a national of that given country.
Carrying on father’s legacy
Alongside her music career, Angella has officially been serving as the Deputy Consul of Pakistan in Uganda, a position that was offered to her by her late dad, Boney Katatumba. Over the years, she has been groomed into the realm of diplomacy and has mastered the art of facilitating relations, especially travel between the two countries; Uganda and Pakistan.
When her father passed on in February 2017, she carried on his duties as Consul until when the government of Pakistan would appoint a new Consul. However, this has not happened.
“When Papa died, I introduced myself to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs because I had a letter where he appointed me as his Deputy,” she told this website.
“When the head of a business like MTN dies, MTN doesn’t close. That’s why ever since he died, we have never missed a day without opening the office”.
More than everything else, Angella is driven by the passion for diplomacy and the urge to sustain his late father’s legacy. Her resolve to continue treading the path on which her father set her is as unshaken as the courage to face her saboteurs.
“How many people will tell you that Musharraf was their friend and that they were the first Christians to be appointed to lead a moslem society? I want to carry on his legacy and to do what he trained me to do,” she said.
Angella seems unbothered by the continuous statements from Nairobi discrediting her which according to her are selfish and don’t count.
“This Nairobi guy is just embarrassing himself trying to bully me. He can’t understand why he has been writing letters for two years yet I am still here,” she said.
She adds; “He has no power whatsoever to write such letters about me because basically we are on the same level. All the last two years, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other embassies have invited me to the different events including those of the Pakistani Association in Uganda”.
Late last month, on March 24 which is the Pakistan Day, she addressed the Pakistani community in Uganda at an event officiated by State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Okello Oryem.
“I am not appointing myself,” she says. Both Ministers of Foreign Affairs; Sam Kutesa and Okello Oryem have allowed her to continue acting in her capacity while she awaits another appointment from Islamabad, she adds.
She notes that her workings with Pakistan are normal and smooth. “Pakistan has no problem with me. They are receiving my documents and immigration is respecting my documents. There would be a problem if I signed travel documents and a Pakistani was rejected from traveling”.
Despite the controversy, the musician-cum-diplomat says she has been trained to withstand such hardships involved in this kind of work, including malicious competitors.
According to Angella, the 6-person Consulate of Pakistan in Kampala takes care of interests of among others 6,000 registered Pakistanis currently living in Uganda. In addition to travel facilitation, the consulate also aids Pakistan’s trade interests in Uganda especially as imported vehicles and rice.
INTERVIEW: Angella Katatumba Explains ‘Controversy’ Surrounding Her Consular Work was first posted on April 16, 2018 at 10:11 am.
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