Muammar Gaddafi will go down in history as an ambiguous politician
No matter how controversial the figure of Moammar Gaddafi, experts agree that more than forty years of his rule had a great influence on the development of the sub-Saharan region of Africa. Herman Cohen, the former US Undersecretary of State for Relations with Africa, says that Gaddafi has several positive achievements.
“He spent a lot of money supporting Nelson Mandela and the National African Congress and supported him in the difficult times of apartheid. Another positive point is that Libya has invested heavily in the development of African business: hotels, public transport, and the banking system, ”says former US Under-Secretary of State Herman Cohen.
However, Joel Hopkins University researcher Denel Server says that Gaddafi’s generous considerations have always been behind his own mercenary considerations.
“He really extended a helping hand to sub-Saharan Africa, however this hand held a pack of dollars for such autocrats like himself. It was not a goodwill gesture, he was trying to buy support, ”the political scientist states.
Gaddafi dreamed of building the United States of Africa, but these plans were not destined to come true.
“I don’t see much progress on the path to uniting Africa,” says Deel Server.
Professor of African Studies at Howard University, Suleiman Nyang, said that Gaddafi’s belief in the unification of Africa was sincere.
“He chose the path that Dubois, Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah and other leaders who advocated for the unification of Africa had taken in their time. On this issue, he was moving in the right direction, ”said Suleiman Nyang.
However, the scientist says, Gadhafi’s legacy will always remain ambiguous.
“On the one hand, supporters of the unification of Africa will argue that he spent more money on the needs of Africa than any leader of the Arab world, including Nasser. Some Africans will adore him for one reason or another, others will hate him, ”says Nyang.
Cohen says that Gaddafi will always be criticized for the role he played in a number of internal conflicts in Africa:
“Between the years of 1970 and 1986, he invested a lot of money in fueling revolutions. Yes, he financed Liberia's leader, Charles Taylor, and that war lasted seven years. ”
And on this list of sins Gaddafi does not end, adds Cohen:
“He sent troops to occupy Chad. As a result, his troops drove out the local rebels, led by Hissene Habré. He had an influence on the events in Burkina Faso. He contributed to the coming to power of Thomas Sankar, and then helped Compaore to get rid of Sankar. ”
Gaddafi was president of the African Union from 2009 to 2010, and was replaced as president of Malawi by Bingu Wa Mutharik. During the recent events in Libya, he lost the support of his old allies. Although many African leaders refrained from expressing their position, President of Senegal Abdoulaye Wade, during a visit to the Libyan opposition in Benghazi, called on Gaddafi to step down.
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