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Africa has much to learn from Gaddafi's inglorious fate

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 2011-10-21 00:01:13.0
NTC fighters with a bloodied Muammar Gaddafi Picture: REUTERS

The Times Editorial: The killing yesterday of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, in his home town of Sirte at the hands of his own people, should be a lesson to politicians around the world that people power will always triumph.

When Gaddafi seized the reins of power in a military coup in 1969, his people never imagined that they would have to take up arms to remove him. In the 42 years that he was in charge, Libya became a world player and Gaddafi used his country's oil resources to push his agenda.

In Africa, he played a critical role in helping struggling governments to liberate themselves from colonialism but the "brotherly" help soon changed into dictatorship.

Gaddafi's role, first in the OAU and later in the AU, was hard to challenge.

His participation in AU meetings bordered on lecture sessions as he pushed to have the last word on everything.

African leaders whose hold on power was dependent on his money and influence failed to challenge him, even when his actions imperilled African unity and progress.

The collapse of his administration and his death, which were achieved with the crucial assistance of the West, gives the AU a chance to chart a new road.

The failure of this organisation to broker a peace deal in Libya, or to bring about a speedy political solution in Ivory Coast, should be taken as a lesson - for as long as African leaders do not stand together and condemn dictatorship and tyranny, outsiders will invade the continent under the pretext of protecting human rights.

The likes of Gaddafi continued in power because their peers on the continent failed to condemn them.

The Arab Spring movement that led to the removal of the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, and now of Libya, has given hope to nations in Africa still under dictatorship.

One day, they too shall overcome.

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