Museveni of Uganda
Muammar Gaddaffi of Libya
the time Muammar Gaddaffi came to power
in 1969, I was a third year university
student at Dar-es-Salaam. We welcomed
him because he was in the tradition of
Col. Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt who had
a nationalist and pan-Arabist position.
however, problems cropped up with Col.
Gaddafi as far as Uganda and Black Africa
Amin came to power with the support of
Britain and Israel because they thought
he was uneducated enough to be used by
Amin, however, turned against his sponsors
when they refused to sell him guns to
fight Tanzania. Unfortunately, Col. Muammar
Gaddafi, without getting enough information
about Uganda, jumped in to support Idi
Amin. This was because Amin was a Moslem
and Uganda was a Moslem country
where Moslems were being oppressed
killed a lot of people extra-judiciary
and Gaddafi was identified with these
mistakes. In 1972 and 1979, Gaddafi sent
Libyan troops to defend Idi Amin when
we attacked him. I remember a Libyan Tupolev
22 bomber trying to bomb us in Mbarara
bomb ended up in Nyarubanga because the
pilots were scared. They could not come
close to bomb properly. We had already
shot-down many Amin MIGs using surface-to-air
missiles. The Tanzanian brothers and sisters
were doing much of this fighting.
Libyan militias were captured and repatriated
to Libya by Tanzania. This was a big mistake
by Gaddafi and a direct aggression against
the people of Uganda and East Africa.
second big mistake by Gaddafi was his
position vis-à-vis the African
Union (AU) Continental Government now.
Since 1999, he has been pushing this position.
Black people are always polite. They,
normally, do not want to offend other
people. This is called obufura in Runyankore,
mwolo in Luo handling, especially
strangers, with care and respect. It seems
some of the non-African cultures do not
have obufura. You can witness a person
talking to a mature person as if he/she
is talking to a kindergarten child. You
should do this; you should do that; etc.
We tried to politely point out to Col.
Gaddafi that this was difficult in the
short and medium term.
should, instead, aim at the Economic Community
of Africa and, where possible, also aim
at Regional Federations. Col. Gaddafi
would not relent. He would not respect
the rules of the AU.
that has been covered by previous meetings
would be resurrected by Gaddafi. He would
overrule a decision taken
by all other African Heads of State. Some
of us were forced to come out and oppose
his wrong position and, working with others,
we repeatedly defeated his illogical position.
third mistake has been the tendency by
Col. Gaddafi to interfere in the internal
affairs of many African countries using
the little money Libya has compared to
blatant example was his involvement with
cultural leaders of Black Africa
kings, chiefs, etc. Since the political
leaders of Africa had refused to back
his project of an African Government,
Gaddafi, incredibly, thought that he could
by-pass them and work with these kings
to implement his wishes.
warned Gaddafi in Addis Ababa that action
would be taken against any Ugandan king
that involved himself in politics because
it was against our Constitution. I moved
a motion in Addis Ababa to expunge from
the records of the AU all references to
kings (cultural leaders) who had made
speeches in our forum because they had
been invited there illegally by Col. Gaddafi.
fourth big mistake was by most of the
Arab leaders, including Gaddafi to some
extent. This was in connection with the
long suffering people of Southern Sudan.
Many of the Arab leaders either supported
or ignored the suffering of the Black
people in that country. This unfairness
always created tension and friction between
us and the Arabs, including Gaddafi to
some extent. However, I must salute H.E.
Gaddafi and H.E. Hosni Mubarak for travelling
to Khartoum just before the Referendum
in Sudan and advised H.E. Bashir to respect
the results of that exercise.
Gaddafi and other Middle Eastern radicals
do not distance themselves sufficiently
from terrorism even when they are fighting
for a just cause. Terrorism is the use
of indiscriminate violence not
distinguishing between military and non-military
Middle Eastern radicals, quite different
from the revolutionaries of Black Africa,
seem to say that any means is acceptable
as long as you are fighting the enemy.
That is why they hijack planes, use assassinations,
plant bombs in bars, etc. Why bomb bars?
People who go to bars are normally merry-makers,
not politically minded people.
We were together with the Arabs in the
anti-colonial struggle. The Black African
liberation movements, however, developed
differently from the Arab ones.
we used arms, we fought soldiers or sabotaged
infrastructure but never targeted non-combatants.
These indiscriminate methods tend to isolate
the struggles of the Middle East and the
Arab world. It would be good if the radicals
in these areas could streamline their
work methods in this area of using violence
five points above are some of the negative
points in connection to Col. Gaddafi as
far as Ugandas patriots have been
concerned over the years. These positions
of Col. Gaddafi have been unfortunate
Nevertheless, Gaddafi has also had
many positive points objectively speaking.
These positive points have been in
favour of Africa, Libya and the Third
World. I will deal with them point by
Gaddafi has been having an independent
foreign policy and, of course, also independent
internal policies. I am not able to understand
the position of Western countries which
appear to resent independent-minded leaders
and seem to prefer puppets. Puppets are
not good for any country.
of the countries that have transitioned
from Third World to First World status
since 1945 have had independent-minded
leaders: South Korea (Park Chung-hee),
Singapore (Lee Kuan Yew), China Peoples
Republic (Mao Tse Tung, Chou Enlai, Deng
Xiaoping, Marshal Yang Shangkun, Li Peng,
Jiang Zemin, Hu Jing Tao, etc), Malaysia
(Dr. Mahthir Mohamad), Brazil (Lula Da
Silva), Iran (the Ayatollahs), etc.
the First World War and the Second World
War, the Soviet Union transitioned into
an industrial country propelled by the
dictatorial but independent-minded Joseph
Africa we have benefited from a number
of independent-minded leaders: Col. Nasser
of Egypt, Mwalimu Nyerere of Tanzania,
Samora Machel of Mozambique, etc. That
is how Southern Africa was liberated.
That is how we got rid of Idi Amin.
stopping of genocide in Rwanda and the
overthrow of Mobutu, etc., were as a result
of efforts of independent-minded African
leaders. Muammar Gaddafi, whatever
his faults, is a true nationalist.
prefer nationalists to puppets of foreign
interests. Where have the puppets caused
the transformation of countries? I need
some assistance with information on this
from those who are familiar with puppetry.
Therefore, the independent-minded Gaddafi
had some positive contribution to Libya,
I believe, as well as Africa and the Third
World. I will take one little example.
the time we were fighting the criminal
dictatorships here in Uganda, we had a
problem arising of a complication caused
by our failure to capture enough guns
at Kabamba on the 6th of February, 1981.
Gaddafi gave us a small consignment of
96 rifles, 100 anti-tank mines, etc.,
that was very useful. He did not consult
Washington or Moscow before he did this.
This was good for Libya, for Africa and
for the Middle East.
should also remember as part of that independent-mindedness
he expelled British and American military
bases from Libya, etc.
Gaddafi came to power in 1969, a barrel
of oil was 40 American cents. He launched
a campaign to withhold Arab oil unless
the West paid more for it. I think the
price went up to US$ 20 per barrel. When
the Arab-Israel war of 1973 broke out,
the barrel of oil went to US$ 40.
am, therefore, surprised to hear that
many oil producers in the world, including
the Gulf countries, do not appreciate
the historical role played by Gaddafi
on this issue.
huge wealth many of these oil producers
are enjoying was, at least in part, due
to Gaddafis efforts. The Western
countries have continued to develop in
spite of paying more for oil.
It, therefore, means that the pre-Gaddafi
oil situation was characterised by super
exploitation in favour of the Western
have never taken time to investigate socio-economic
conditions within Libya. When I was last
there, I could see good roads even from
the TV pictures, you can even see the
rebels zooming up and down in pick-up
vehicles on very good roads accompanied
by Western journalists. Who built these
built the oil refineries in Brega and
those other places where the fighting
has been taking place recently? Were these
facilities built during the time of the
king and his American as well as British
allies or were they built by Gaddafi?
Tunisia and Egypt, some youths immolated
(burnt) themselves because they had failed
to get jobs. Are the Libyans without jobs
also? If so, why, then, are there hundreds
of thousands of foreign workers? Is Libyas
policy of providing so many jobs to Third
World workers bad?
all the children going to school in Libya?
Was that the case in the past before
Gaddafi? Is the conflict in Libya economic
or purely political? Possibly Libya could
have transitioned more if they encouraged
the private sector more. However, this
is something the Libyans are better placed
it is, Libya is a middle income country
with GDP standing at US$ 89.03 billion.
This is about the same as the GDP of South
Africa at the time Mandela took over leadership
in 1994 and about the current size of
GDP of Spain.
is one of the few secular leaders in the
Arab world. He does not believe in Islamic
fundamentalism that is why women have
been able to go to school, to join the
Army, etc. This is a positive point on
to the present crisis, therefore, we need
to point out some issues:
The first issue is to distinguish
between demonstrations and insurrections.
Peaceful demonstrations should not be
fired on with live bullets. Of course,
even peaceful demonstrations should coordinate
with the Police to ensure that they do
not interfere with the rights of other
rioters are, however, attacking Police
stations and Army barracks with the aim
of taking power, then, they are no longer
demonstrators; they are insurrectionists.
They will have to be treated as such.
responsible Government would have to use
reasonable force to neutralise them. Of
course, the ideal responsible Government
should also be an elected one by the people
at periodic intervals. If there is a doubt
about the legitimacy of a Government and
the people decide to launch an insurrection,
that should be the decision of the internal
should not be for external forces to arrogate
themselves that role, often, they do not
have enough knowledge to decide rightly.
Excessive external involvement always
brings terrible distortions.
should external forces involve themselves?
That is a vote of no confidence in the
people themselves. A legitimate internal
insurrection, if that is the strategy
chosen by the leaders of that effort,
can succeed. The Shah of Iran was defeated
by an internal insurrection; the Russian
Revolution in 1917 was an internal insurrection;
the Revolution in Zanzibar in 1964 was
an internal insurrection; the changes
in Ukraine, Georgia, etc., all were internal
It should be for the leaders of the Resistance
in that country to decide their to sponsor
insurrection groups in sovereign countries.
I am totally allergic to foreign, political
and military involvement in sovereign
countries, especially the African countries.
foreign intervention is good, then, African
countries should be the most prosperous
countries in the world because we have
had the greatest dosages of that: slave
trade, colonialism, neo-colonialism, imperialism,
etc. All those foreign imposed phenomena
have, however, been disastrous. It is
only recently that Africa is beginning
to come up partly because of rejecting
meddling and the acquiescence by Africans
into that meddling have been responsible
for the stagnation in Africa. The wrong
definition of priorities in many of the
African countries is, in many cases, imposed
by external groups. Failure to prioritise
infrastructure, for instance, especially
energy, is, in part, due to some of these
pressures. Instead, consumption is promoted.
have witnessed this wrong definition of
priorities even here in Uganda. External
interests linked up, for instance, with
internal bogus groups to oppose energy
projects for false reasons. How will an
economy develop without energy? Quislings
and their external backers do not care
about all this.
you promote foreign backed insurrections
in small countries like Libya, what will
you do with the big ones like China which
has got a different system from the Western
systems? Are you going to impose a no-fly-zone
over China in case of some internal insurrections
as happened in Tiananmen Square, in Tibet
or in Urumuqi?
Western countries always use double standards.
In Libya, they are very eager to impose
a no-fly-zone. In Bahrain and other areas
where there are pro-Western regimes, they
turn a blind eye to the very same conditions
or even worse conditions.
have been appealing to the UN to impose
a no-fly-zone over Somalia so as to impede
the free movement of terrorists, linked
to Al-Qaeda, that killed Americans on
September 11th, killed Ugandans last July
and have caused so much damage to the
Somalis, without success. Why? Are there
no human beings in Somalia similar to
the ones in Benghazi? Or is it because
Somalia does not have oil which is not
fully controlled by the western oil companies
on account of Gaddafis nationalist
Western countries are always very prompt
in commenting on every problem in the
Third World Egypt, Tunisia, Libya,
etc. Yet, some of these very countries
were the ones impeding growth in those
was a military coup détat
that slowly became a Revolution in backward
Egypt in 1952. The new leader, Nasser,
had ambition to cause transformation in
Egypt. He wanted to build a dam not only
to generate electricity but also to help
with the ancient irrigation system of
Egypt. He was denied money by the West
because they did not believe that Egyptians
needed electricity. Nasser decided to
raise that money by nationalising the
Suez Canal. He was attacked by Israel,
France and Britain.
be fair to the US, President Eisenhower
opposed that aggression that time. Of
course, there was also the firm stand
of the Soviet Union at that time. How
much electricity was this dam supposed
to produce? Just 2000 mgws for a country
like Egypt!! What moral right, then, do
such people have to comment on the affairs
of these countries?
Another negative point is going
to arise out of the by now habit of the
Western countries over-using their superiority
in technology to impose war on less developed
societies without impeachable logic. This
will be the igniting of an arms race in
actions of the Western countries in Iraq
and now Libya are emphasising that might
is right. I am quite sure
that many countries that are able will
scale up their military research and in
a few decades we may have a more armed
weapons science is not magic. A small
country like Israel is now a super power
in terms of military technology. Yet 60
years ago, Israel had to buy second-hand
fouga magister planes from France. There
are many countries that can become small
Israels if this trend of overusing military
means by the Western countries continues.
this notwithstanding, Col. Gaddafi should
be ready to sit down with the opposition,
through the mediation of the AU, with
the opposition cluster of groups which
now includes individuals well known to
us Ambassador Abdalla, Dr. Zubeda,
Gaddafi has his system of elected committees
that end up in a National Peoples
Conference. Actually Gaddafi thinks this
is superior to our multi-party systems.
Of course, I have never had time to know
how truly competitive this system is.
even if it is competitive, there is now,
apparently, a significant number of Libyans
that think that there is a problem in
Libya in terms of governance. Since there
has not been internationally observed
elections in Libya, not even by the AU,
we cannot know what is correct and what
is wrong. Therefore, a dialogue is the
correct way forward.
AU mission could not get to Libya because
the Western countries started bombing
Libya the day before they were supposed
to arrive. However, the mission will continue.
My opinion is that, in addition, to what
the AU mission is doing, it may be important
to call an extra-ordinary Summit of the
AU in Addis Ababa to discuss this grave
the Libyan opposition, I would feel embarrassed
to be backed by Western war planes because
quislings of foreign interests have never
helped Africa. We have had a copious supply
of them in the last 50 years Mobutu,
Houphout Boigny, Kamuzu Banda, etc.
West made a lot of mistakes in Africa
and in the Middle East in the past. Apart
from the slave trade and colonialism,
they participated in the killing of Lumumba,
until recently, the only elected leader
of Congo, the killing of Felix Moummie
of Cameroon, Bartholomew Boganda of Central
African Republic, the support for UNITA
in Angola, the support for Idi Amin at
the beginning of his regime, the counter-revolution
in Iran in 1953, etc.
there has been some improvement in the
arrogant attitudes of some of these Western
countries. Certainly, with Black Africa
and, particularly, Uganda, the relations
are good following their fair stand on
the Black people of Southern Sudan. With
the democratisation of South Africa and
the freedom of the Black people in Southern
Sudan, the difference between the patriots
of Uganda and the Western Governments
had disappeared. Unfortunately, these
rush actions on Libya are beginning to
raise new problems. They should be resolved
if the Libyan opposition groups are patriots,
they should fight their war by themselves
and conduct their affairs by themselves.
After all, they easily captured so much
equipment from the Libyan Army, why do
they need foreign military support? I
only had 27 rifles. To be puppets is not
African members of the Security Council
voted for this Resolution of the Security
Council. This was contrary to what the
Africa Peace and Security Council had
decided in Addis Ababa recently. This
is something that only the extra-ordinary
summit can resolve.
It was good that certain big countries
in the Security Council abstained on this
Resolution. These were: Russia, China,
Brazil, India, etc. This shows that there
are balanced forces in the world that
will, with more consultations, evolve
more correct positions.
members of the UN, we are bound by the
Resolution that was passed, however rush
the process. Nevertheless, there is a
mechanism for review.
Western countries, which are most active
in these rush actions, should look at
that route. It may be one way of extricating
all of us from possible nasty complications.
What if the Libyans loyal to Gaddafi decide
to fight on?
Using tanks and planes that are easily
targeted by Mr. Sarkozys planes
is not the only way of fighting. Who will
be responsible for such a protracted war?
It is high time we did more careful thinking.