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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid