News / Africa

Gadhafi Remains Popular in Much of Africa's Sahel

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi (R) stands with former South African President Nelson Mandela at the launch of the African Union in Durban, South Africa, July 2002. (file photo)
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi (R) stands with former South African President Nelson Mandela at the launch of the African Union in Durban, South Africa, July 2002. (file photo)

During the eight-month fight against him, Moammar Gadhafi remained popular throughout much of Africa's Sahel region, south of Libya.

Gadhafi's favored status in the Sahel came from long-running investments in public and private projects, as well as the feeling that he was someone who stood up for Africa.

During the Libyan crisis, Niger allowed several convoys of former Gadhafi officials, including one of his sons, to cross into the country on humanitarian grounds. Burkina Faso briefly offered to give Gadhafi asylum.

Some lament Gadhafi's demise

In the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou, businessman Marius Navarro said Africa is poorer without Gadhafi.

Navarro said Gadhafi's death is a huge loss for Africa and there is no doubt the continent will miss how much he did. Navarro said Gadhafi helped all of Africa, not only Libya. And because Africa did not support Gadhafi when he needed it, Navarro said Africa will ultimately come to regret losing him.

Gadhafi was one of the biggest financial contributors to the African Union. Burkinabe student Assita Compaore wondered about the future of the alliance without him.

Compaore said Gadhafi helped develop many African countries and Africans should mourn his death. In Burkina Faso, for example, he helped build a hotel and medical clinics, so Compaore said his death is a loss for the country and for all of Africa.

Gadhafi admirers recall Gadhafi's support for South Africa's African National Congress in the 1970s. Gadhafi detractors recall his support for brutish rebellions in Sierra Leone and Liberia in the 1990s.

Downside of Gadhafi's patronage

Burkinabe businessman Adama Badame said the ultimate cost of Gadhafi patronage was too high for Africa.

Badame said Gadhafi sold weapons to Africa that Africans used to kill each other. He said he is happy that the former Libyan leader is dead because he was a terrorist. He gives you food, Badame said, but then he gives you weapons that you use to kill each other. So Badame said better to have not received food from Gadhafi because after the food comes weapons.

Senegalese religious leader Ahmed Khalifa Niasse was a long-time political adviser to Gadhafi. Niasse, whose family is a powerful part of Senegal's Islamic Tijani brotherhood, said Gadhafi's death was a stand against outside aggression.

“I think his death was in a very honorable condition, fighting with his gun the foreigners attacking him from the sky in his country where he was born,” said Niasse.

Nigerian human rights activist Shehu Sani is the author of the book Civilian Dictators of Africa. He said the nature of Gadhafi's death makes him a martyr, whereas a trial would have exposed his brutality.

“No matter the crime he has committed, seeing a former president of a country being shot and dragged on the ground didn't go down well with people from this part of Africa,” said Sani.

Complicating factors of situation

Niasse believes Libya's new government will find it hard to rule because its mandate comes not from the Libyan people, but rather from Gadhafi's European opponents.

“Sarkozy, Cameron, and later on Berlusconi, they asked him to step down. Nothing was started by Libyans. Everything starts somewhere between Paris, Rome, and London. There is no popular revolution in Libya,” said Niasse.

There was a popular revolution in Libya. But NATO's involvement does distinguish it from popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, which were largely unaided by foreign power.

Sani said that raises questions in the minds of Libya's southern neighbors about the priorities of a new government at a time of continuing concern about its treatment of sub-Saharan Africans, including ethnic Tuaregs who were part of Gadhafi's army.

“There is this anger in West Africa and the Sahel that black Africans have been targeted by elements of the rebel council and the new government in Libya,” said Sani.

Despite NATO support, Sani said Libya's neighbors are still Africans, and the security demands of a new government in Tripoli will depend largely on the security of those neighbors.


You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs