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Controversial Ugandan official may rise to presidency of the UN general assembly, draws fire

Rights activists are criticizing the appointment of a Ugandan government official as the next United Nations General Assembly president.

Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa is expected to be elected to the U.N. position later this week, replacing John W. Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda. The largely ceremonial post rotates annually by region.

More than 9,000 people have signed an online petition urging U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. member states to block the Ugandan from taking up the post as Africa's unanimous choice.

The petition cites his implication in corruption scandals at home and his alleged role in the enactment of Uganda's new anti-gay law.

Kutesa, who denies the allegations, is widely seen by critics to have benefited from his close ties with Uganda's increasingly authoritarian president.