Libyan leader Gaddafi with African traditional leaders who named him "King of Kings." Gaddafi was elected as African Union Chairperson at the summit in Ethiopia on February 2, 2009., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Gaddafi did not choose his friends wisely
Sunday, 23 October 2011 01:50
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s heroic last stand against Nato hegemony is a defining moment in this era of UN-backed imperialism.
He could have fled Libya, but he did not. Col Gaddafi chose to fight alongside the people of Libya, to his last breath. He stood his ground until the end, refusing to flee, choosing to be martyred on Libyan soil.
Gaddafi, despite his faults (and there are many), is a martyr. History will vindicate him.
The barbaric murder of Gaddafi is not the end of the story. Libya is in a state of perpetual revolution. By stoking the fires of militancy in that part of the world, the Western governments will reap a fiery whirlwind.
In Egypt, a civilian government was toppled and replaced with a military junta. Where is the democracy in that? In Libya, the Western powers could be in for a rude awakening.
Tribal fault-lines in that country, widened by eight months of fighting and worsened by the number of unlicensed guns in private hands, will pose serious challenges.
But how did Libya get to this situation? If Africans think that imperialism ended with the fall of apartheid, then they are in for a rude awakening. The great wars of the future will be fought over natural resources. These wars have already begun.
Gaddafi’s greatest crime was to nationalise Libyan oil. He used petro-dollars to develop a nation with the highest standards of living in Africa. More importantly, Gaddafi angered the West by demonstrating — in pragmatic ways — that it is possible to build an impressive economy on African soil without the involvement of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He would pay dearly for such audacity.
Even as they celebrate the barbaric assassination of Gaddafi, there is one topic the Western pundits will not be comfortable discussing: how Libya became the best economy in Africa.
Here are the impressive statistics, compiled by Western researchers and the UN.
Gaddafi’s legacy speaks for itself. He guaranteed the right to free education for everyone from elementary school right up to university and post-graduate studies, at home or abroad; free health care; 1:673 doctor-patient ratio, free electricity for all citizens; interest-free housing loans; and free land for farmers.
If a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidises 50 percent of the price. The price of petrol in Libya is US 14 cents per litre. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to US$150 billion — now frozen globally.
A mother who gives birth to a child receives US$5 000. Forty loaves of bread in Libya cost US 15 cents. Twenty-five percent of Libyans have a university degree. All newlyweds in Libya receive US$50 000 from the government to buy their first apartment so as to help them start a family.
Prior to international sanctions on Gaddafi and Libya in the 1980s, the country was one of the richest in the world in terms of GDP per capita —with a living standard higher than in Japan. It was the richest in Africa. This is Gaddafi’s legacy. Just sit and watch what happens to a “free” Libya from now onwards. A lot of the national wealth which some Libyans are taking for granted will be siphoned off by Western corporations.
Calls by the United Nations for an investigation into the extra-judicial killing of Col Gaddafi are hollow and insincere.
Is this not the same UN which facilitated Nato’s invasion of Libya? Thanks to Col Gaddafi, Libya had the highest ranking on the UN’s Human Development Index. Vital infrastructure has been bombed back to the Stone Age, thousands of innocent lives have been lost and the seeds of violent lawlessness have been planted in Libyan society. The UN has discredited itself beyond measure.
Col Gaddafi was captured alive. Wounded, drenched in blood and unarmed, he was later assassinated by his Nato-sponsored captors.
He was murdered in cold blood. No amount of cheap Western propaganda will cover up this barbaric crime.
The imperialists are culpable, but Gaddafi himself contributed to the problem. With the benefit of hindsight, we can all see how Col Gaddafi badly miscalculated. This precipitated his bloody downfall.
Described as “the mad dog of the Middle East” by President Ronald Reagan, Gaddafi has been the much-vilified bogeyman for decades.
The West accused him of sponsoring terrorism, alleging that he was behind the bombing of a Pan-American World Airways passenger jet and a nightclub in Germany full of US citizens.
These accusations did not wash with much of the world. In Africa, Asia and Latin America, Gaddafi’s credentials were rock solid. From Algeria to South Africa and from Senegal to Somalia, he had trained and supported liberation movements.
From the moment he deposed the Western-backed King Idris in a bloodless coup in 1969, up until the mid-1990s, Gaddafi’s liberation record was impeccable. For most Africans, Gaddafi began losing the plot when he started cavorting with Western leaders. Those cheesy handshakes with British premier Tony Blair left everyone astounded. Were these Gaddafi’s new friends? It had all the hallmarks of a choreographed charade.
As a highly sceptical Africa looked on in disbelief, Gaddafi appeared to antagonise many of the countries that had backed him all along. It was as if this was the colonel’s way of consummating his new-found affair with the West.
It was during that time when Gaddafi was wining and dining with the Blairs of this world when the Libyan leader badly miscalculated. Although he continued funding African Union programmes, he chose not to invest the bulk of his petro-billions in Africa. A man who had been described as the devil incarnate by Western politicians was suddenly investing billions of dollars in London, Rome and New York. He failed to realise that Western warmongers have neither permanent friends nor permanent enemies; they have permanent interests. Gaddafi’s strategic blunder would cost him dearly. On Thursday, he paid with his life.
President Mugabe on Gaddafi .
Sunday, 23 October 2011 01:56
By Tafadzwa Chiremba
PRESIDENT Mugabe and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had sharp differences founded on principles, but it was up to the people of Libya, and not Nato, to change the political system in their country, Presidential spokesman Cde George Charamba has said.
Cde Charamba yesterday said the President disagreed with Col Gaddafi after he opened up Libyan systems to the West as part of reconciliation efforts.
He also said the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces did not support the creation of a single African government under the banner of the “United States of Africa” because the concept was “too idealistic”.
“There were serious differences, founded on principle, between President Mugabe and Col Gaddafi,” said Cde Charamba, who is also Secretary for Media, Information and Publicity.
“President Mugabe did not agree with Gaddafi when he opened his system to the West; from the military to the economy, in the name of rapprochement.”
Cde Charamba said creating a centralised continental governance system was difficult given the political dispensation in Africa.
He said while Libya experienced difficulties regarding democratic processes, only its people could bring about transformation. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation does not have the same mandate, he said, adding that the US and Europe lacked the moral right to choose friends for Africans.
“Relationships must come from our own experiences; through history and contemporary relationships. The relationship between Zimbabwe and Libya dates back to and is rooted in the days of the liberation strugglewhen thousands of (Zimbabwean liberation war) fighters went to the North African country for military training.
“Even the integration of the army at independence in 1980 was aided by Libya. We have very senior officers in Government who went to that country for further military training.”
The Presidential spokesman said Africa should be allowed to build relationships globally without undue influence. He said Col Gaddafi was among the African leaders who supported the historic land reform programme and openly castigated the illegal economic sanctions against Zimbabwe.
In 2002, he drove from Zambia to Harare in a show of solidarity with the Southern African state. Zimbabwe also turned to Libya for fuel at the height of economic difficulties.
“Africa must build relationships with the rest of the world independently. It should never receive friends or foes from Europe and America.
“During the days of the land reform exercise, Gaddafi was one of the few African leaders who unambiguously lent support to the programme and proceeded to declare it in public. He understood that it was the continuation of the liberation of Africans. He even sent some tillage units as a symbolic act to defy sanctions, which were meant to undermine the land reform. When Libya was under sanctions, our President took the same stance against its sanctions.
“Our President defiantly flew into Libya soon after the sanctions were removed.
“How many billions did Gaddafi commit to Italy, Europe or France? Yet, these are the same countries that attacked Libya.”
Col Gaddafi was killed by rebel fighters last Thursday following an eight-month war between his loyalists and Nato-backed rebels.
The United Nations has ordered an investigation into his killing.