LEBOHANG “JAZZY QUEEN” MOSHWALIBA, Bohlokong:
MUAMMAR GADDAFI, the son of a goat herder, was born into a poor family. Upon reaching school, he became involved in politics and later formed the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) after he had joined the military forces.
I want to question the claims of those who branded him a dictator.
Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) from 1965 to 1997, is said to have embezzled over $5 billion, which is said to have been held in Swiss accounts.
Nigerian leaders, led by Genl. Sani Abacha, have stolen over $400 billion between 1960 and 1999.
Paul Biya of Cameroon, who does not make many public appearances, is said to rule with an iron fist and was ranked 19th by the Parade Magazine’s “among the the Top 20 of the World’s Worst Dictators”.
A number of authoritarian regimes on the continent are supported by the United States, which provides financial assistance, education, arms, military training and technical support.
It is important to note that under Gaddafi’s reign, education and medical treatment was free for all citizens and if any citizen could not get the desired education or sufficient medical treatment inside Libya, that citizen was funded to go abroad.
Gaddafi is credited with building the largest irrigation system in the world which made water available to all Libyans across the country. He called it “the eighth wonder of the world”.
When a Libyan citizen wanted to venture into agri-business, all the production inputs were provided by the state, free of charge, and on top of that a house and farmland would also be given free of charge.
When a Libyan woman gave birth she was given $5 000 (US Dollars) for herself and her child. When a citizen bought a car, it was subsidised with 50% of the vehicle’s purchase price.
If someone completed a tertiary course and graduated, but failed to find suitable employment, the state would pay the average salary of the profession until employment was found.
A portion of Libya’s oil sales was credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens, as a form of dividend and for 40 loaves of bread, one would only pay the equivalent of 15 US cents. Electricity was free in Libya, which meant no electricity bills.
Newlyweds in Libya were given a $50 000 (US Dollars) gift.
Petrol was cheap in Libya at 0,14 (US Dollars) per litre.
Before his reign, the level of education was low, as only 25% of Libyans were literate and under his reign the literacy level increased to 87% and 25% of the total population had university degrees.
Libya was the only country in the world to have its own state-owned bank, which gave its citizens easy access to loans with zero interest. And the country had no external debt.
He followed in the footsteps of the pioneer, Marcus Garvey, who first came up with the term, “United States of Africa”. Gaddafi wanted to introduce and trade in the African gold Dinar.
The Dinar was widely opposed by the West, as African nations would have the power to bring themselves out of debt and poverty and only trade in this commodity.
Gaddafi did some good things and tried at all costs to unite and empower Africa.
Read Muammar Al Gathafi: The green book, which was first published in 1975.
More good than harm was achieved under Gaddafi’s tenure.
So I ask: Was he a dictator or not? You decide.