Money Could not Buy Faithful Friends
Libyan president Colonel Moammar Gadaffi has been in power for many decades. With abundant oil in his country, he is wealthy and has been influential in the sub-Saharan Africa because of oil wealth. Moammar Gadhafi had developed relationship through networking with other African leaders and has being a key player in hosting of peace summits in West Africa and Africa in general. His main goal has been to be leader of a “United States of Africa”. However, the current crisis in Libya has revealed that, Gadhafi’s African close allies and beneficiaries have shown little support on him. Infact, countries like South Africa, Nigeria, and Gabon who are members of the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously with the United States and Britain to make sure Gadhafi has been stopped from harming the Libyan citizens (Davis, 1990)
In addition, Gadhafi was influential and championed for the African union, which is now divided over the military campaign against him by the United States. Indeed, most of them have expressed their disapproval against this move. A country like South Africa, which trained some of the anti-apartheid soldiers in Libya has had one of its former senior judges, NaviPillay advocating for the suspension of Libya from the United Nations human rights council undermining Gadhafi’s leadership.
Uganda is country that was purported to give asylum to Gadhafi on his resignation. The country enjoys Libyan state money, which is used in funding companies dealing with phones and pharmaceutical products. Uganda has also built the biggest mosque in the country through the same funds. However, the country denied the accusation calling it a lie through the president’s spokesperson, Tamale Mirundi.
According to Bearman (1986), Gadhafi has faced alienation from his African counterparts as well as those from the West. His African leaders and others have viewed the Libyan leader’s behavior as unconventional, which renders him inefficient in his pursuit to influence the African continent. His actions have betrayed him because of his selfishness. Indeed, Gadhafi has lost most of his friends and the few remaining do not have much influence. The African Union has remained silent over the issue. Despite his elaborate ceremonies in an attempt to influence African leaders, his dressing style has been described as weird and a man who dwells on rhetoric through mere talking.
Gadhafi has ruled for over 42 years, during his reign he has shown support to leaders like Idi Amin who is infamous for the slaughter of tens of thousand humans in his horrific reign in Uganda (El-Kikhia, 1997). Gadhafi offered shelter and military support to the fighters. In the ongoing crisis, there are claims that Gadhafi has hired African fighters who are supporting him possibly from the Tuareg tribesmen from Chad, which is the neighboring country. In addition, the South African fight against the white apartheid was supported by Libya through the African National Congress. Nelson Mandela who was a close ally of Gadhafi and who he referred to as a “brother leader” backed this movement; ANC. Nelson Mandela played a significant role in persuading Gadhafi to surrender the two Libyans who were claimed to be involved in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988.
Gadhafi has been a greater supporter of the African liberation movements earning himself goodwill (Cooley, 1982). However, his support on warlords like Charles Taylor and FodaySankoh who rebels resulted in negative effects such as rape and murder cases to the citizens in Sierra Leone in 1980 civil war. These rebels received their training in Libya. In fact, Charles Taylor is facing trials at the international criminal court whereby most people from West Africa feel that Gadhafi should be a co-defendant.
Gadhafi’s efforts to woo friends have been futile. This has been expressed through payment of the yearly membership dues for cash strapped nations to the African Union. This has contributed above fifth the total budget of the African Union. Gadhafi has also built a state of the art conference centre in Sirte for the organization. The conference is lined with posters that are wall length having a grinning Gadhafi near the slogan “long live the African Union”. Libya has a country has spent billions of dollars in the African continent to aid constructions such as the key Kenya- Uganda oil pipeline. In addition, Libya has stakes in the control of Uganda and Zambia telecommunication companies. The country also operates more than 2,000 gas stations, owning hotels in Rwanda, Gabon, and providing commercial air services to some inadequate capital cities through the Afriqiyah Airways. The airline prides in realizing "the dream of linking the African countries directly with one another"(Bianco, 1972).
The financial transactions of Libya remain a secret. However, WikiLeaks have reavealed concentration of Libyan Foreign Bank in Sub-Saharan Africa. This bank is the leading vehicle for international trade. The business also operates in the Maghreb. Abdullahi Harouna who fled the carry due the ongoing fights last asserts that, Gadhafi has done really much for the Africans. He is an employee of the Tripoli Embassy located in West Africa (Bearman, 1986).
Gadhafi is the target in the financial sanctions and this makes the future unpredictable for the oil pipeline acting as a link to Southern Sudan. China and India have shown their interest recently among other powerhouses scaling up investment in Africa continent. Gadhafi, with all his donations failed to heed African politics and but pushed for a United States of Africa which has been termed as “illogical” by the Ugandan president. Instead, Gadhafi sought company with tribal elders to undermine other leaders(Cooley, 1982)
Lastly, at Sirte conference two years ago for an African Union summit Gadhafi suggested of an establishment of a centralized military force training for Africa as a continent. This idea received no support from other leaders. Gadhafi’s forces have expressed contrary behavior to this.