10 years ago, acclaimed Humanitarian Angella Katatumba was appointed a deputy consul for Pakistan in Uganda.
She was appointed by her father, Boney Mwebesa Katatumba, who was a consul, having been appointed by then Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharaf in 2000.
Katatumba died in 2017, a tragedy that put Angella at the helm of the consulate based at their property – Hotel Diplomate in Muyenya, an exclusive Kampala suburb.
In the middle of Pakistan sectarianism
At the time of his death, Boney Katatumba had encountered a tough relationship with his bosses at the High Commission of Pakistan in Nairobi, which started with his appointment letter.
(Pakistan has no embassy in Uganda, so her consul is supervised by the ambassador posted to High Commission in Nairobi.)
Before naming him a representative of Pakistan to Uganda, President Musharaf had had a powerful relationship with Katatumba, according to Angella.
And at the time, in the middle of sectarian violence between the two Pakistan Islamic denominations of Sunni and Shia, the general wanted to delegate a Christian representative, who according to Angella, had no interest in their their historical “differences” so as, she adds, to strike a balance and be able to serve to the people of Pakistan.
Legend suggests the two sects cut up over succession of the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a caliph of the Islamic community following his death in the year 632AD.
Sunni, according to several population surveys, are estimated to make over 75 percent of the Pakistan population.
The rivalry between the two groups in the country has wrecked considerable havoc on the nation, and as many as 4,000 people are estimated to have been killed in Shia-Sunni sectarian fighting in Pakistan between 1987–2007.
So, when Katatumba was appointed consul and his appointment letter sent to his bosses in Nairobi, the high commission withheld it “because” — Angella says, “they were disgusted about a Christian being appointed.”
She calls Pakistanis “the most divided people on earth.”
It was two years later when, on consulting Musharaf, Katatumba learnt about the incident. President Musharaf directed the High Commission in Nairobi to deliver the letter.
But the relationship never grew better.
The officials in Nairobi would only get in touch with Katatumba when they wanted accreditation to meet President Yoweri Museveni, according to Angella. This was mainly done by recently appointed ambassadors, who hadn’t secured connections.
For all the 17 years, to perform his duties, the businessman would liaise directly with officials in Islamabad, without going through Nairobi.
When Angella, who has also featured in the entertainment industry as a singer and song writer — took over full authority, she would also inherit her late father’s diplomatic challenges.
On March 13, 2018, the High Commission of Pakistan in Nairobi issued a statement in which they indicated that the Honorary Consulate of Pakistan in Uganda was “still operating illegally.”
The statement, which was copied to Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, went on: “It had actually been ceased to function with the demise of our Honorary Consul Mr. Boney Katatumba.”
According to the statement, the government of Pakistan has not yet appointed a new envoy in Uganda, and, for that reason, the “Honorary Consulate of Pakistan currently operating in Uganda under Ms. Angelina Katatumba is fake and fictitious and has no legal authority at all.”
At the end of the statement, which was also copied to several diplomatic missions and organisations, including the Pakistan Association in Uganda — officials say that any consular documents issued by Angella’s office should not be accepted by any Ugandan authorities.
Such letters, according to Angella, started coming in the March of 2017, but they have been mostly “ignored” by Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
We were not able to reach the ministry officials for comment. (Read response here.)
Raza Bashir Tarar is the current ambassador of Pakistan to Kenya, and Angella says the envoy was always “fighting my dad … now that my dad passed, he is now thinking that he will bully me, thinking I don’t know.”
Angella says that the Foreign Affairs ministries, both here and in Pakistan, recognise her, and she will continue operating until Islamabad decides to replace her.
Pakistan has over 6000 nationals in Uganda, and she says that she has support from several of them, adding that Tarar’s idea of requesting Pakistanis to travel to Nairobi for documents is “selfish” since it is “impossible and so expensive.”
In Uganda, Pakistanis have also split into two groups; one belongs to the Pakistan Society and the other to Pakistan Association, Uganda.
It is the association that is loyal to Tarar. Angella, however, says that the ambassador has no authority to “discredit and defame me” since its the prerogative of the “President of Pakistan to appoint and open a new office.”
“The Ambassador will be transferred anytime as we speak,” said Angella in a statement to this website, “so where does he get the audacity?”
According to Angella, her job does not entitle her to any monetary benefits from the government of Pakistan, other than, she says, “prestige”.
She says to appoint a consul, foreign governments target rich citizens of countries they intend to have representatives in, so that they (rich people) can use their business acumen to harvest from the offer.
Angella’s dad was a very wealthy man with several properties, mostly in Kampala and Mbarara.
Other prominent business figures that have got such diplomatic deals include Gordon Wavamuno (Hungary), Barbara Mulwana (Kingdom of Thailand) and King Caesar Mulenga (Vietnam).