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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs