Col Gaddafi was declared “king of kings” after a meeting this over 200 African Kings and traditional rulers in 2008. This rather grandiose title was bestowed upon the now ousted Libyan leader after his meeting with the respective leaders was filled with calls by Gaddafi for a ‘united Africa;’ one that will be an par and eventually have the power to surpass other powerful united countries such as the European Union and the US.
Gaddafi has been a proponent of a ‘united Africa’ for some time now, since many Arab leaders turned their backs on him in the 1990s. Without the support of most Arab leaders, Gaddafi switched his focus to Africa, particularly Sub-Saharan Africa, and called upon African leaders to create an “African military to defend Africa.” He further declared that “we want a single African currency; we want one African passport to travel within Africa.” While many of the traditional African leaders were not very receptive to the idea of their power being eroded through the creation of a united Africa, they still held Col Gaddafi in high esteem due to his generous contributions to their nations (he has built numerous roads and financed the African Union) and his ostensible refusal to be a ‘puppet’ to Western/foreign interest.
Due to his vision and generosity to Africa, many African leaders have expressed their admiration and support to the once powerful Libyan leader. Former South African President, activist and international hero Nelson Mandela once referred to Col Gaddafi as a “Brother Leader”, while Uganda’s President Yowen Museveni proclaimed that “Muammar Gaddafi, whatever his faults, is a true nationalist. I prefer nationalists to puppets of foreign interests….. “Therefore, the independent-minded Gaddafi had some positive contribution to Libya, I believe, as well as Africa and the Third World.”
Despite their expressed admiration for Gaddafi, many of these African countries can hardly afford to ‘put him up’ in their country as he flees Libya. The fact that most of these African countries rely heavily on international aid, means that very few, if any, can risk being cut off from the supplies and resources being pumped into their countries to help sustain their infrastructure and economies by granting asylum to a man branded by some of the most powerful western countries and international agencies as a dictator and perpetuator of despicable crimes against dissidents of his regime. Although fellow North African country Algeria has already granted refuge to some of Gaddafi’s family, it will be interesting to see if the ‘king of kings’ will be able to sit on the ‘throne’ in one of his beloved Sub-Saharan African countries.
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