Independent Mind of Kivumbi Earnest Benjamin Former Kampala Central MP Aspirant
23rd Mar 11
Series of events that have been occurring in Libya since dayone when demonstrators went on streets to oppose the legitimacy of Bro Col Mwamah Gaddafi have attracted bigpowers unlike in other countries like Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Egypt were the strongwinds of revolt have passed and thepressure has been minimal.
After Foreign Minister Hon Sam Kutesa mission to Tripoliwith AU Diplomats who intended to have remedy for this crisis which is nolonger a Libyan Crisis but a world crisis failing, the justification of foreignintervention is fully comprehended but on what grounds? The argument in the recent past has been between MaterialPassion and Humanitarian cause but now why Gaddafi in the first place notBagbo? It’s true he has stayed for so long but should this be thebasis of him leaving like a chicken thief? The answer shouldn’t be yes becauseGadaffi is not only a Libyan leader but also widely seen as a father andcontinental leader. He has always believed like his former revolutionaries thatAfrica comprising of many states must be and will be the United States ofAfrica. Its also un-doubtable that he has worked for his country ahead of manyother African leaders. This has manifested in the strong economy, good social infrastructureand improved standards of living of his people compared to many Africancountries. Much as that is true however, the west and other countries see himas a dictator who has hindered democracy in Libya and Obama is now saying thattime has come for his legitimacy to come to an end, US vows that he must leavenow. When US speaks out on Gaddafi it reminds us a lot especiallywith the broken relationship both have had. In 1988when American fighter jets descended and bombed the cities of Tripoliand Benghazi,killing 60 Libyans. This followed a file opened by the CIA to revenge onGaddafi for the 1979 bombing of the American Embassy in Tripoli by Libyans and the chasing away ofall the American diplomats.
His coming to power still after deposing anAmerican-installed puppet, King Idriss, saw Americaand her British counterpart lose grip on Libya. Gaddafi’s retaliated in authorizisation of thebombing of the Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland avenging for the killingof the 60 Libyans. Much as the 60 Libyans were killed as a result of theAmerican bombings which were staged from Egypt,Americahas never found it prudent to compensate the families that were affected. Instead,Gaddafi agreed to financially compensate the families of those affected by thePan Am Flight 103 bombing to the tune of $2.3 billion. Although America had never made any move to paying up theLibyan families, the move by Gaddafi was a huge diplomatic coup by Libya against USA. Gaddafi has been perhaps theonly African president who refused to be a puppet of the West. This has beenseen through how he has been blackmailing and manipulating the West throughHydro-Carbon industry and financial investments to twist the arms of the West.He has humiliated the West on different occasions and the West would never takethat lying down. They had to look for the way how to punish this mercurialleader and teach him a lesson that he shall never forget. Thus, in fomentingthe rebellion and arming the rebels, the West is trying to isolate him from therest of the world much as he is fighting and somehow favorably so against theimperialists.
The British Government was humiliated and put onthe spotlight after it was revealed that Gaddafi bribed the Labour Governmentwith financial donations to the tune of 2 million pounds to push for therelease of Al Megrahi one of the suspects of those who bombed the Pan Am 103Liner over Lockerbie. The Western World’s appetite for oil also played a bigpart in the British pushing of Scotland to release Al Megrahi after Gaddafiagreed to sign with British Oil Company BP a deep Sea exploration agreement. In the same act of how- to the detriment of theWest- Gaddafi has humiliated the West, in 2008, his eccentric son Hannibal was arrested in Switzerland. In retaliation,Gaddafi ordered the withdraw of 5billion euros from the Swiss Banks, placedrestrictions on Swiss companies in Libya and cut flights between Switzerlandand Libya among others.
The European Union came on its knees and brokered adeal that normalized Libyan relationship with Switzerlandafter it was realized that Switzerlandwas the big loser in this debacle. This background can help us knowwhy Gaddafi not Bagbo by the West and our argument on this crisis should notonly be based on the current events but bear in mind of the history of allthis. US and her counterparts trulycan use what ever it takes to implement there decisions including world bodieslike UN and this is un-debatable and even when they succeed like they did inIraq with Sadam Hussein, they will face it rough because even in Iraq after allthese years, the mission hasn’t ended yet. And even though it’s been hardto get independent reports on the stand of the Libyans about this crisis, itappears like the Libyans will get back together soon after realizing that theforeign intervention is beyond Humanitarian cause for them- they will re-uniteto drive the Americans and there counter parts from Libya. But what implication is the Libyan Crisis? The AU remains too weak tohandle the affairs of Africa unlike theEuropean Union. If it’s not weak, it must be subject to Western powers andtherefore there’s a need to re-address this fiasco. It should have intervenedin the Libyan Crisis before the West. The UN puts itself in asituation to be referred as a double standard body if it can be allowed to beused by some powers for there own interests. For purposes of fairness, UNshould have made a big move in Ivory Coast were civilians are still suffering anddying following post election political dreadlock. The Invasion of Libya by many iswidely seen as rape of the sovereignty of Africa which calls for one voice by Africa to condemn it. In fact many claim it’s not attackon Libya alone, rather on Africa by US and her allies.
If Russiaand Chinago ahead with contradictions with other powers on Libyan Invasion, there’s apossibility that this division is likely to undermine the Western operationswhich will be a gain for Gaddafi. With the criticism back home toObama there’s possibility that he may lose if he stands again for president.The Americans with the experience of Iraqand Afghanistannow know what price it is whenever they are dragged into war. Lessons Whether Gaddafi remains or not, it’s important that Africanleaders know that the strong winds that begun in Tunisia are still blowing and theyshould be able to find remedy as soon as possible. The Unity of Africa is still at steak and therefore there’sneed to argument it and as well learn to solve our own problems is a necessityrather than looking at the West. Because such things may cause a world war, the UN muststrive to stick on its principles and intended objectives. In a situation when demonstrators take up arms and attackgovernment places, they should expect the same force back from the state. (Iagree with Museveni on this)