In light of ex-Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s death on Thursday, many fellow African leaders have remained silent, contrary to the riotous celebration of Libya’s citizens.
Gaddafi, who ruled Libya with an iron fist for 42 years, was known for his eccentric and luxurious taste, ranging from the metallic gold pistol he carried with him at all times to the Ukrainian nurse he maintained at his bedside.
Silence from African nations proves “a telling sign in a continent where the strongman spent billions of dollars buying friendships," according to CNN.
During his rule Gaddafi spent millions of dollars for roads, mosques, and luxury hotels in other African countries.
In 1994, recently elected South African president Nelson Mandela was in a good relationship with Gaddafi. “Those who feel irritated by our friendship with President Gaddafi can go jump in the pool,” he once said.
As seen through his progressively oppressive practices, Gaddafi eventually lost his good reputation by slaying his own people:
“He [Gaddafi] had this wonderful dream about a United States of Africa - like [Ghana's post-independence leader] Kwame Nkrumah, but I think we are going to remember what happened in the latter days of his rule when he actually bombed his own people,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu told BBC.
Currently, Gaddafi’s body is being kept in a commercial freezer in the coastal town of Misrata, Libya. Government officials have delayed the burial of Gaddafi, saying a complete investigation into how the dictator died is necessary first.
“More details are needed to ascertain whether he was killed in some form of fighting or was executed after his capture,” said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights, in a statement.
The UNHCR has demanded an investigation on the death of the dictator, whose body now serves as prime evidence.
Gaddafi was found hiding in a concrete drainage ditch after French Mirage jets and an American predator drone bombed his 100 vehicle convoy as it attempted to forge out of Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown.
His body was pushed and prodded in the streets before it was led by ambulance to Misrata. Libya’s Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril released a statement claiming Gaddafi died minutes before reaching the hospital. Confusion surrounds the true way in which Gaddafi died.
Although he was ousted from power in late August, Gaddafi loyalists continued to resist the new Libyan government, prolonging an 8 month civil war and halting the country’s political progression.
The media is circulating footage of Libyans celebrating the death of Gaddafi. The dictator’s death signifies that the civil war is effectively over, and there is a promising future for the Libyan people.
With the death of the dictator, questions arise concerning the future of Libya’s government. Critics wonder if the Transitional Council will be able to uphold a democratic government without the need for military support.