Thursday, 2 February 2012


Addis Ababa, January 31, 2012 ( - The former Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi probably had several stories related to many other matters. However, his role in the African Union (AU) is unforgettable. In fact, Gadaffi is one of the founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity, which preceded the AU.

AU is on its first summit after the disgraceful end of Gadaffi.

For the first time in a period that seemed eternity, in the collective pictures of African leaders, there was no tall traditionally dressed smiling face. That face, for a very long time was the permanent symbol of the organization and the summits.

This time, as the annual Summit kicks off in Addis Ababa, the leaders gathered in the glamorous new AU headquarters for a collective picture. Gadaffi was not able to see this day. The man who fought to move the headquarters to Tripoli and be on the pictures until the end of time, missed the historical event of the inauguration of the new luxurious AU building in Addis Ababa. It is natural to wonder what he would have said if he made it today. Whether he will stand by his argument saying Addis Ababa is not good enough to host AU or change his mind after witnessing the Chinese built 200 million dollars Plaza, we will never know.

However, the transitional leader of Libya, Abdurrahim Abdulhafiz El-Keib, who made an appearance discretely compared to the colorful presence of his predecessor did not miss the opportunity to mark a new history by making an opening speech to the summit, calling the former leader dictator who imprisoned his own people in their own country.

His speech, blaming Gadaffi and explaining the painful process of independence and freedom from the regime sounded heartfelt and genuine. “We had a long and difficult fight with the regime. We used every breath we had for the respect and dignity of our people. Today our country is free. We hope African countries will assist us in reconstructing our country and becoming a stronger member of the AU,” he said.

Leaders of Africa, who had a long personal and diplomatic relationship with Gadaffi, did not seem to be pleased by the speech. Considering the AU chose to stick to the deceased leader until the final moment, their gloom is understandable. Gadaffi who made a name for himself for thrilling African leaders with the most expensive gifts he could provide, is replaced by a man who wants assistance from African countries. Just a couple of summits back, African leaders would not have dreamt a day like this would come.

In the annual Summit of AU in 2009, when the new AU building started its construction, African leaders elected Gadaffi to be the chair person of the Union. At the time, the leaders were discussing the formation of a Union Government of Africa. Gadaffi was a front rider of this idea, even opposing progression approach to the matter saying it is too slow. In deed, the approach for continental unity was slow for Gadaffi, who couldn’t even make it to the inauguration of the new building.

The new leader of Libya, however, expressed his hope on getting the support of other nations in the struggle his country is facing to stand in its own feet.

The desperate need for assistance was also noted by UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon. In his opening speech just before the Libyan leader, he noted that UN is helping Libya to organize elections and improve public security, rule of law, and transitional justice. “We are also working closely with African Union to monitor the after effects of the Libyan conflict and curb the spread of weapon in the Shale,” he said.

Whatever the direction is, the AUseems to have moved on from the era of Gadaffi. At least publicly, no body seemed to miss him. Even if there was some good Gadaffi did in his 42 years engagement with the organization, no one dares to mention it. Instead, in the AU Summit, the former symbol was highlighted as dictator who did more wrong to the continent.

Of course, this is the African way. Those who lost the game are responsible for every crisis the continent had to face. Whatever good they contributed will be intentionally forgotten to give the new comer a hero status.


poshbird said...

Ugh. With the exception of Gbagbo & Mugabe, African "leaders" lead nothing but the path to cowardice & indignity.

Anonymous said...

People create their realities which have nothing to do with realty but with safety.