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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.