When uprising begun in Tunisia after the Jasmine incident of an unemployed graduate blew himself triggering the revolution, one of the leaders who was watching with consternation was Libyan leader colonel Muammar Gaddafi. By the time similar uprising begun in Egypt Gaddafi was growing quite livid and was keen to crackdown on dissent in his own country. By the time revolution spread to other Arab nations of Jordan, Yemen and Syria it looked quite unstoppable in Libya.
Whereas the Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak responded initially with some brutality and then eased off to pressure, Gaddafi the self unwittingly effacing general decided to respond with utmost ruthlessness and violence. Just as was seen in Cote d’Ivoire earlier when Laurent Gbagbo refused to hand over power after an electoral defeat the African leadership under the umbrella of African Union (AU) was completely absent on strategic direction. As usual the African leadership was keen to stand with their brother no matter how untenable to the Libyans. China which in itself is not democratic and with huge appetite for African natural resources was against any move which was anti-Gaddafi. For China the regime of the day in any country ,no matter how ugly is acceptable so long as it takes care for her (China) interests, hence her dalliance with many African leaders some of despicable disposition. Russia obviously cannot be trusted where reforms are imminent and has been reluctant and at times against any democratic uprisings, Libya’s included.
But the most shameful was the African leadership. At any rate if you look at the leadership of AU, it is not anything that can be trusted to provide direction in a modern era more so in the 21st Century. AU current leader the president of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang is one of the several African countries leaders who have bankrupted their motherland and left the population in dire poverty and hopelessness.
Today Equatorial Guinea people have one of the lowest life expectancy in the world, are dirty poor, live in utmost oppression and suffer some of the worst world inadequacies, yet it is said that their country has one of the fastest growing economies in the world largely due to the oil resources. Obviously he has made the country’s oil to be anything but their country – it is largely for his and family endowment.
Nothing much positive can be said of most of African leaders for they have collective failure and dictatorial mentality imbued with myopia and selfishness. Colonel Gaddafi knew all along that his African brothers and AU will stand with him. It was quite a strategic mess. If Colonel Gaddafi from the onset negotiated with his people (quite unlikely for African leaders) and stepped down he could still be an important player in Libya’s politics and future. Not any more. Indeed Gaddafi and sons have a date with International Criminal Court (ICC) notwithstanding the useless sentiments by African leaders that the court is against Africans. African leaders by their actions and inactions court the Court. After all it’s common knowledge African leadership over the years has bordered on criminality and brutal stranglehold of their poor populations. When Libya’s rebels started the onslaught on Gaddafi forces the journey was unstoppable. By the time NATO stepped in Gaddafi had started one of the most brutal campaign s against his own people. State forces were used against civilians notwithstanding they were meant to protect them in the first place.
As the worlds stands now for Gaddafi it is ‘’MENE MENE TEKEL PARSIN’’
(Daniel 5:25-28). Time is up for Gaddafi and the Libyan people do not need him anywhere in Libya any more. For over forty (40) years he has demonstrated his unsavoury attitude of destroying his citizens while self aggrandizing himself and his family with Libya’s wealth. Gaddafi felt him and Libya were the same and he could never believe that there is anybody else capable of running Libya other than his family hence his successor for Libya’s leadership was destined to be his own favourite son Seif al-Islam. These are kind of monstrosities which make Africa and third world look ugly. It’s time to go Colonel Gaddafi, Libya and the world has had enough of you. Despite your pretence to hate terror groups like Al Qaeda, your state sponsored terror and disorganization of other nations is well documented in annals of history. Time is up and you deserve the worst of footnotes in Africa’s history.
Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda
The writer is a Consultant and Researcher working for a Not for Profit Organisation with an office in Kenya covering the African region.