Disbelief and celebration - Africans react to Gaddafi’s death

News of Muammar Gaddafi’s death following the fall of Sirte has sent shockwaves through the African continent. We ask three RNW Correspondents in Chad, Niger and Zimbabwe to capture people’s reactions now that the Libyan dictator has finally been killed.

Nkosana Dlamini - Harare, Zimbabwe

There was no mistaking the air of relief and excitement among ordinary Zimbabweans who crowded around television screens on Thursday lunchtime to view the news of Gaddafi’s death.

“This is a lesson to dictators that the public will cannot be suppressed forever. Unfortunately dictators are not learning,” said Tendai Muganu, a third year college student.

“It serves him right. I hope our own dictator is watching this,” another responded in apparent reference to Mugabe, who is livid about the persistent bombing of his friend by Nato.

Greater punishment
Some Zimbabweans feel Gaddafi should have been captured alive to experience the reality of his demise. “Seeing his enemies rule Libya would have been a greater punishment for Gaddafi,” reads a posting by one Qhubekani Ndlela, on the social networking forum, Facebook.

Political observers say the jubilation and relief expressed by Zimbabweans over the Libyan dictator’s death is an indirect expression of resentment towards their own leader. Like his Libyan ally Gaddafi, Mugabe has clung to power against his people’s will.

Although there is simmering anger towards Mugabe and his rule, only a few Zimbabweans are courageous enough to challenge him. Zimbabwe’s pro-Mugabe army has vowed to crush any Arab style uprisings in Zimbabwe while responding harshly to those who have celebrated the fall of other African dictators.

Fear of inflaming the situation
Pro-Mugabe state television has deliberately avoided screening the Arab revolution for fear of inflaming the situation back home.

Douglas Mwonzora, spokesperson for MDC, Mugabe’s coalition partner, says Gaddafi’s death was a “sad ending to an intransigent dictator”.

Mugabe’s spokespeople all refused to comment saying they wanted to consult the Zimbabwean leader first for his reactions to the Libyan dictator’s death.

Maji-Maji Odjitan - Chad
For many Chadians, Gaddafi’s death is bad news. The late Libyan leader undertook many projects in Chad and remains a model for many of the country’s politicians.

One man commented: “We should not have killed him but tortured him and put him on trial… Gaddafi’s death will bring a lot of drama in our country.“

Another woman added: “I am really disappointed that Africans do not understand that the death of the Libyan leader is a failure for a lot of African upcoming projects. He has been killed because he wanted to build the United States of Africa and white people are not happy to see Africa united.“

Other citizens reacted with relief and hope. “If Gaddafi is dead, it is a source of security for Africa in general, as it is for Libya’s neighbours, because the drama that occurred in the bordering countries started in Libya. Each and every rebellion in Chad was set up and created by Colonel Gaddafi, so we can say his death is a relief for us.”

Niger - Habou Adi, Niamey
Libya and Niger are neighbouring countries whose relations have not always been smooth under Gaddafi’s leadership. The late Libyan dictator did not hesitate to support the rebels’ movements and the attempt of a coup d’état on Niger.

Only a couple of Nigeriens knew about Gaddafi’s death when the news broke and the streets of Niger remained calm with no calls for celebration.

Overall, Nigeriens remain sceptical about Gaddafi’s death. According to Aboubacar who sells cigarettes on the streets of Niamey, the announcement of the Libyan leader’s death should be taken with a pinch of salt. It is not the first time that the Libyan National Transitional Council has made claims about Gaddafi’s death, he explains. Aboubacar’s view is shared by other Nigeriens who were similarly sceptical about the news of Osama bin Laden’s death earlier this year.

Reacting to the breaking news of Colonel Gaddafi’s death, a client who came to the store to buy two cigarettes simply said: “It is not proper to applaud the death of a Muslim”.

Not good for Libya
For an elderly man in Niamey’s centre, Gaddafi’s death is not good for Libya: “Libyans are not used to working, they are used to the easy way of life, they get everything they want to but nowadays it is going to be a problem for them, they have to work starting from now. I think that today Libya is in trouble. It may become a 2nd Iraq; soon there will be suicide bombings in Libya”.

Article source: http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/disbelief-and-celebration-africans-react-gaddafis-death


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