Libya: Gaddafi vs NTC in sub-Saharan Africa

By Konye Obaji Ori
Posted on Thursday, 8 September 2011 11:14

The African Union (AU) and several sub-Sahara African countries are yet to recognise the National Transition Council (NTC), which is increasingly taking charge of affairs in Libya.

Following the increased control of Libya by Nato-backed NTC, the AU has failed to recognise the rebel forces as the new government in Libya.

Citing concerns of a “puppet state” under the NTC, some African leaders have also refused to support the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant on Gaddafi for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

According to analysts, the slow step towards accepting the leadership of the NTC is because Libya’s on-the-run leader invested heavily in Africa.

Gaddafi was the single biggest financier of the African Union (AU), which earned him the name “Brother Leader” by Nelson Mandela. The former “Libyan Guide” was also adorned King of Kings by sub-Saharan
African traditional rulers.

Reports claim that not only was he a key African financier, he also gave employment to hundreds of thousands of African migrants in the oil industry among others.

And some analysts have also argued that the AU’s biggest worry is that Africa could lose the monetary support it enjoyed from Libya under Gaddafi as the new Libya under the NTC might be more interested in forming stronger ties with the Arab world.

Many sub-Sahara African leaders allegedly view Gaddafi as a revolutionary who championed “United States of Africa” vision- that would place Africa on the same platform as the United States of America and the European Union.

Gaddafi’s African backers have, nonetheless, suggested that he seek asylum in South Africa or Nigeria.

“Any country that decides to give him asylum will have to be strong enough to withstand political and economic pressure from the West.

“He (Gaddafi) would be better off if he sought asylum in a powerful African country such as South Africa and Nigeria,” Shadrack Ghutto, an academic at the University of South Africa was quoted as saying.

In 2003, Nigeria gave asylum to ousted Liberian leader Charles Taylor. At that time, Taylor was wanted by the ICC for war crimes charges for his role in Sierra Leone’s civil war.

While an ICC arrest warrant lingers on his head, Gaddafi is still revered amongst poorer African nations where his money bought him status and influence.

But whether or not he would end up as a refugee in Nigeria or South Africa remains to be seen.

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.

View subscription options