Gaddafi Dead: Do Africans Consider Libyan Dictator Friend or Foe?
Africans' Exhibit A Love-Hate Relationship With The Dead Dictator
Although the international community has rejoiced the death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, many Africans saw the ex-dictator as a benefactor to the impoverished African nations.
During his rule Gaddafi spent millions of dollars on roads, mosques, and luxury hotels in other African countries. Gaddafi loyalists flocked to these mosques after hearing of their beloved ex-leader’s death.
“Gaddafi was a true revolutionary who focused on improving the lives of underdeveloped countries,” Sheik Muthal Bin-Muslim told the Associated Press, while attending the Gaddafi mosque in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Gaddafi did not die poor; investigators found $20 million in cash in one of the dictator's many accounts.
Some see Gaddafi as a true African, resisting Western control in a fight to establish the African people as a politically independent force.
“[Gaddafi] traveled to African Union summits dressed in a gold-embroidered green robe, flanked by seven men who said they were the “traditional kings of Africa,” contended AP.
Still others argued Gaddafi to be a ruthless dictator who shed the blood of his own people. Various cell phone videos are circulating YouTube, showing Libya’s citizens pushing Gaddafi’s dying, bloodied body through the streets of his hometown, Sirte, when he was captured Thursday, Oct. 20.
By the time his body reached the commercial freezer in the coastal town of Misrata, where it now lies, it was covered with scratches, bruises, and possible cigarette burns inflicted by Libyans.
As well as Africa’s citizens, many fellow African leaders have remained silent in light of Gaddafi’s death.
Silence from African nations proves “a telling sign in a continent where the strongman spent billions of dollars buying friendships," according to CNN.
In 1994, recently elected South African president Nelson Mandela had good relations 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 among many 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.
Government officials have delayed the burial of Gaddafi, saying a complete investigation into how the dictator died is necessary.
“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.
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.