Gaddafi grows

Having supported and encouraged the setting up of the African Union, which will set up its own bank and emergency fund, so that member states are not entirely dependent on more expensive international financial institutions, Muammar Gaddafi continues to work energetically and tirelessly in deepening the role of the institution and Libya’s collaboration within it.

After having brokered deals for the release of western hostages in the Philippines, Libya has sent peace envoys to Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast, two western African countries in a state of anarchy. Libyan oil is being sold to Ghana and Zimbabwe, solving the two countries’ fuel crises and one million USD is being given to Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party to help him win the presidential election in 2002.

Money from Libya’s oil sales is being used in humanitarian and educational programmes in the poorer Saharan countries, Libya is actively engaged together with Egypt to bring an end to the civil war in the Sudan and Libyan troops were recently sent to Bangui, capital of the Central African republic, to put down a rebellion.

Last week, Muammar Gaddafi personally handed over a package of 1,000 tonnes of drought aid to Kenya, which he accompanied from Libya and was hailed as a hero in Uganda on his second visit in two months.

Libya’s isolation from the international community was ended last year with the handing over of two suspects involved in the Lockerbie bombing, which brought down a Pan American aircraft over Scotland in December 1998, killing 270 people. The United Nations Organisation lifted its embargo on Libya but the USA continues to regard Tripoli with suspicion. Colonel Gaddafi’s growing influence inside Africa is being regarded with increasing concern by the US State Department.

Colonel Gaddafi’s project, however, is not one of international terrorism. The African Union has been hailed as an innovative new project to save many African states from disaster. Ratified by the majority of member states it needed to become a reality in June, 2001, Colonel Gaddafi’s project is intended to set up an African Economic Community, an African central bank, a Pan-African parliament, an African Court of Justice, a common currency, a common economic policy, a common foreign policy and independent defence structure.

After the abject failure of the United States or any other external nation to help Africa seriously address its problems, Colonel Gaddafi steps onto the world stage as a major player, an altruist who is big enough as a man to recognise the errors of his past and to use his position to perform a work which is of benefit to the masses.