By JOSH KRON Published: October 22, 2011
NAIROBI, Kenya —, Many sub-Saharan Africans are mourning the death of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, celebrated as much for his largesse as for his willingness to stand up to the West
To them, his violent death was another sad chapter in a long-running narrative of Western powers meddling in Africa’s affairs.
“He loved Uganda,” said Mr. Abdul in an interview at the mosque, in Kampala. He noted that Colonel Qaddafi had committed to paying the salaries for the staff of 20 for the next 20 years. “His death means everything comes to an end,” Mr. Abdul said.
On Friday, approximately 30,000 people packed the mosque to pay tribute to the slain leader, according to local news media in Uganda.
The Daily Monitor, a prominent independent Ugandan newspaper, reported that Sheikh Amir Mutyaba, a former ambassador to Libya, wept as he told followers that Colonel Qaddafi had “died as a hero.” He added that while “Allah will bless him,” foreign “oil diggers will be punished,” likely alluding to a perception among some that the West intervened in Libya mainly because of its oil riches.
In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and about half Muslim, a senator told local news media that Colonel Qaddafi “was one of the finest African leaders we have.” And a former Nigerian militia leader, who said he was once financed by Colonel Qaddafi, told Agence France-Presse that the former Libyan leader’s death would be “avenged.”
The colonel “spilled his blood as a martyr to rekindle the fire of revolution all over the world,” said Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, the militia leader. “The people of the world will rise up against this.”
Colonel Qaddafi came to power in 1969 as a 27-year old ideologue, who modeled himself on President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, and focused his energy on leading a pan-Arab renaissance. But by the turn of the century, feeling spurned by his fellow Arabs, he turned his focus south toward sub-Saharan Africa. He used his own money, as well as state-owned investment firms, to build mosques, hotels and telecommunications companies.
He also meddled in the politics of other African countries — at least a dozen coups or attempted coups on the continent were traced to his support.
One of the many grandiose titles he embraced for himself was “the king of kings of Africa.”
Over time, his efforts won him many African allies, and when the uprising against him began this year, the African Union took months to recognize a rebel council as the country’s governing authority.
There were many reports early in the revolution that Colonel Qaddafi had reached out to fighters in African states and had used them as mercenaries, but journalists saw little evidence of mercenaries during the revolt.
As Colonel Qaddafi’s enemies begin their efforts to rebuild their country, many on the continent remain angry that the transfer of power happened, in large part, because of the military support NATO provided to the former rebels.