Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the erstwhile Libyan leader, certainly the most eccentric leader in the world during his time, captured, humiliated and killed by his people after 42 years of controversial rule, his lifeless body shrouded from toes to chest with a black and white Woollen blanket, laid on a small mattress close to the cadavers of his two former fallen comrades, Minister of defence and security adviser, displayed for public viewing is an eyesore. From which ever angle one looks at it, the fact that Gaddafi had shaped history by providing comfortable living and working condition for the Libyans is indisputable. Thus, for him to have died in the most humiliating way in the hand of ragtag rebels is to say the least, pathetic and unfortunate. With the exit of Gaddafi from the political scene in Libya in particular and the world in general, the future of the oil-rich North African country remains uncertain.
Gaddafi, a megalomaniac and weirdly person was a friend to few leaders in the world because of the bizarre and characteristic manner with which he approached issues. He was once favourably disposed to Arab nationalism in likewise manner as the former Egyptian president, Gamal Abdul Naseer. But because of the Arab leader’s subservience to America and the west, he dumped them and turned his attention to Africa, a continent he assisted abundantly to the chagrin of his country men. Among his low point were the fuelling of rebellions in Liberia and Sierra Leon. He was a sit-tight ruler who was willing to destroy the whole country in order to rule it. Like most leaders who stay on power longer than necessary, Col. Muammar al Gaddafi ruled with an iron fist. There was allegation of reckless abuse of power during his rather too long reign in power in Libya. A case in point was the ill treatment Gaddafi inflicted on his foreign minister in one of the AU meetings. Moses Wetangula, the Kenyan minister of foreign Affairs narrated how Gaddafi slapped his foreign minister in public at an AU meeting, ‘’which is something unexpected of any dignified and self-respecting head of state’’ Mr. Wetangula told BBC focus on Africa programme.
Despite his shortcomings, Gaddafi would definitely be missed especially by Africans who not too many of them think that ‘’his vices outweigh his usefulness, to Libyans and to Africans’’ reported Mahmud Jega in his back page column of the daily trust’s edition of Monday, October 24, 2011. To buttress Jega’s point, the National Post also reported that Nelson Mandela, the most respected African leader in living memory named his grand son Gaddafi. He inspired South Africans to fight for their liberation, by funding and arming the anti-apartheid movement as it fought white minority rule. He bankrolled Nelson Mandela’s election. That perhaps explain why when former US president, Bill Clinton, asked Mandela to severe his ties with the ‘’mad’’ Gaddafi, the ex South African president retorted, ‘’ those who feel irritated by our friendship with President Gaddafi can go jump in the pool’’-a sign of how popular the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi once was to South Africa and many other African countries. He played a prominent role in the formation of the African Union [AU]-a body in which he wielded enormous influence because he was one of its financiers.
Col. Gaddafi’s death would undoubtedly have profound effect on the AU.’’ It is the end of an era for the AU. Libya was one of the big five [along with South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt & Algeria], financial contributors of the organisation. It paid 15% of [its budget] and also the membership fees of countries in arrears, like Malawi’’, said Kathryn Sturman, an expert with the south African Institute. Though mired in controversy as it ended up in confusion, He would however be remembered for his thoughtfulness, altruism and groundbreaking effort in pushing for a United State of Africa, to be formed in structure and operation like the United states of America and the European Union.
However, the big losers of Gaddafi’s demise are the same Libyan People who celebrated his brutal and sad ending. His death will open up a wide chasm among the Libyan people who earlier appeared to be ordinarily fighting for a common agenda-to depose Gaddafi. Few days after Gaddafi was killed, the division among the National Transition Council [NTC] deepens. One voice which will not go down well with the west is the strong call for the Sharia to be the basic source of all laws in the new Libya by a section of the NTC. The four shameless industrial vultures [US, Britain, France & Italy] who are about to descend and feast on the Libya’s oil wealth under the guise of reconstructing the country and as a pay back for their shameful role in unseating Gaddafi, will no doubt find the NTC leadership an easy prey. Gaddafi’s exit signifies the end to the key infrastructure and elaborate welfare system he built up in Libyan when he held sway as the head of that country for over four decades.
Clement Oransanye lived in Libya and worked for Mohammed Gaddafi, Col Muammar Gaddafi’s first son for close to 16 years. His interview with Sunday Sun aptly captures How Libyans fared under Gaddafi suffice here. “Libyans will miss their source of living because Gaddafi made living easy for them. For example, the ‘Shepans’ which means old people received $1000 every month to take care of their families and they have their ticket with which they go to the store house to take food, drinks and whatever they need. “And for the young boys, upon graduating from the university, they were given new car grant; and a $40, 000 each to get married and provide them houses to live in; what government anywhere in the world can do that? “During the Ramadan period, every mosque is entitled to two cows per week throughout the fasting period. Whether you are a Muslim or not, once you get to the mosque during Ramadan, Gaddafi would order them to give everybody $1, 500 for fasting.
It is rather sad and unfortunate that a leader who has done so much to his country would suffer such indignity and humiliation by the very people he served. It is high time disgruntled Africans devise a civilized and humane way of ousting their leaders.