Monday, July 02, 2007

Ghadafi enters Salone by road

To arrive in a foreign country by road is not an usual practice by Colonel Muamar Ghadafi who had traveled to several countries, especially those in Africa by road. One other strange phenomenon about Ghadafis lifestyle wherever he visits is his preference to sleep in his tent and drink camel milk. The relationship between Sierra Leone and Libya intensified in the wake of the end of the rebel war in Sierra Leone after President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah decided to raise certain very urgent issues related to the security of Sierra Leone. The relationship gathered momentum to the point that President Kabbah utilized his own personal friendship with Britains Tony Blair to bring Ghadafi and Blair together. Many observers have always wondered why President Kabbah made several visits to Libya, but the truth of the matter is that even other African leaders see Muamar Ghadafi as the leader who is always prepared to spend time, money and energy to fight the African cause, even if he had actually withdrawn most of his activities from the Arab League. Members of the public, who are not very clear about the arrangements that led to the arrival of buses and other equipment to beef up the operations of the central government and local government, still appreciate the worthy gifts from the Libyan leader. The Italian trained military officer, Muamar Ghadafi and his friend, Major Jaloud, staged a surprising coup on 1st September 1971 when they removed the ageing King Idriss who, according to Ghadafi and Jaloud, badly needed rest. The young military officers who had been inspired ideologically by Gamal Nasser of Egypt were kind hearted enough and magnanimous to buy a home in Cairo for the overthrown king and at the same time paid money into a special account to keep the overthrown king going. But Muamar Ghadafis life as a political leader was not without hiccups as the young and mercurial Ghadafi had assumed that Africa must be one political unit and that the ideology of the late Kwame Nkrumah should be implemented and therefore, the United Africa concept became part of the political thinking of Muamar Ghadafi, even if  some of his colleague Heads of States had more important issues of survival to think about. Ghadafis Libya is a very wealthy country blessed by nature with oil to the extent that by Africa standards, Ghadafi easily stands out as one of the few leaders who have invested all state resources in the development of their countries, including the building of an excellent infrastructure, both in Tripoli and other cities, including the creation of brand new cities. Some of his neighbours complained that his government was too politically powerful and sometimes overbearing to the extent of threatening the regimes of other countries such as in the case of Chad in the mid seventies. The Western Alliance, headed mainly by the United States and the United Kingdom, saw Muamar Ghadafi as a threat to global peace and therefore sent him to Coventry. The United States government actually warned its citizens not to visit Libya as a state policy even though President Jimmy Carters younger brother rebelled against the government of his brother and befriended Muamar Ghadafi. The suspicion that the Libyan secret service was behind the shooting down of a passenger plane in the airspace of Scotland in 1979, known as the Lockerby incident, caused the Western Alliance to gang up against Ghadafi as sanctions were declared against the North African country of which Ghadafi is leader. His home was actually bombed by American jets in 1986 in a failed attempt to wipe out the North African leader. When Ghadafi decided to hand over the suspects of the Lockerby incident to a Scottish court for trial, and after Ghadafi compensated the relatives of those who perished in the air crash, the Americans, the British and other western countries heaved a sigh of relief. But of course, the French quickly came up with their own claims that a French plane had been shot down in Central Africa, killing many French nationals and other citizens, and that they suspected Ghadafis agents to have carried out the act and demanded compensation. Today, Muamar Ghadafi has enough respite to continue to think about the Nkrumah dream of a single government for the continent of Africa and this Nkrumah dream will be the main topic of discussion in the next AU Conference in Accra next week. So, if Ghadafi decides to travel by road to Freetown to address Sierra Leoneans at the national stadium, that is merely part of his journey to Accra to present a strong case for African unity and to work towards the concept of a continental government.

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