News / Africa

Africans Shed Few Tears for Gadhafi

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi  (R) prays during the celebration of the birth of the Prophet in Uganda's capital, Kampala, on March, 19, 2008 along with the Ugandan president and other African leaders.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi (R) prays during the celebration of the birth of the Prophet in Uganda's capital, Kampala, on March, 19, 2008 along with the Ugandan president and other African leaders.

The reaction to the death of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been mostly subdued across sub-Saharan Africa.

While Gadhafi's strongman governing style may not be missed, his economic contributions to the continent certainly will.

The death of a man who once declared himself the King of Kings of Africa, has been met with more relief than grief across the continent.

Lessons from Gadhafi's fall

On Twitter and Facebook, Africans are mostly cheering Gadhafi's demise, and wondering if other African strongmen will be next, with fingers pointed at Uganda's Yoweri Museveni and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.

Gadhafi's death is an unfortunate example of African leaders wanting to stay in power forever, says Nigerian social worker Mary Ene.

"This is a lesson to our leaders in this part of the world to know that power belongs to God and that God can take power from anybody anytime. It is time for our leaders to look beyond trying to grab all the things that belong to the public for their own pockets, for their own families,” Ene said.

Praise and legacy

Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party offered some of the only words of sympathy for Gadhafi. The party's parliamentary whip told VOA's Studio 7 that his death was tragic and the African Union should have done more to prevent it.

Ugandan Government Spokesman Fred Opolot also had some praise for the man who invested so much in Africa.

“Gadhafi will be remembered in Uganda as a Pan-Africanist who contributed a lot to the workings of the African Union," Opolot said. "Also in individual countries he contributed a lot in foreign direct investment and let's not forget, he was a key proponent for African unity, so in that context, Gadhafi will be missed.”

Gadhafi's government enjoyed closer relations with Uganda, and had invested $375 million in various projects in the country through its investment wing.

Economic generosity

Signs of Gadhafi's economic influence are all over East Africa.

A Libyan-financed hotel towers over Sudan's capital, Khartoum, and has been nicknamed Gadhafi's egg because of its unique shape. Other Libyan luxury hotels stand tall in the capitals of Kenya and Rwanda.

The country also has been one of the biggest contributors to the African Development Bank.

Peter Pham, Director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington, told VOA in August that with the fall of his government, Gadhafi's legacy of investment will likely become unraveled.

“Libya now needs to spend its money at home, it needs resources both for reconstruction, not only from the damage from the war, but also from the lack of investment in Libya, the neglect during Gadhafi's almost 42 years in power," said Pham. "So I think a lot of money will have to come home, so there probably will be a liquidation of many of these assets.”

Pham adds that it is unlikely Libya's new leadership will be as invested in Africa.

“There's going to be a lot of resentment to Africa, both because of money that's been spent there and, secondly, because the African Union and many African leaders, with a few notable exceptions, stood by Gadhafi instead of with the Libyan people,” said Pham.

A promoter of African unity

Gadhafi was instrumental in the formation of the African Union, and the international body was slow to accept Libya's Transitional National Council as the rightful government of Libya.

Following news of Gadhafi's death, the AU lifted its suspension of Libya's membership, allowing the new government to take its seat.

The AU officially recognized Libya's new government in September, and raised the country's new flag last week.

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs