President Museveni point out positive changes that Col. Gaddafi has brought to Libya, Africa and the Third World. Because the statment was long I am the one who divided it into three parts and I have extracted the points below from the statement.
1: Gaddafi has had an independent foreign policy. “Muammar Gaddafi, whatever his faults, is a true nationalist.”
2: Pursued Fair oil prices
3: Growth, infrastructure and employment creation. “Is the conflict in Libya economic or purely political?”
4: Gaddafi’s secularism and women’s rights
Nevertheless, Gaddafi has also had many positive points objectively speaking. These positive points have been in favour of Africa, Libya and the Third World. I will deal with them point by point:
1. Col. Gaddafi has been having an independent foreign policy and, of course, also independent internal policies. I am not able to understand the position of Western countries which appear to resent independent-minded leaders and seem to prefer puppets. Puppets are not good for any country. Most of the countries that have transitioned from Third World to First World status since 1945 have had independent-minded leaders: South Korea (Park Chung-hee), Singapore (Lee Kuan Yew), China People’s Republic (Mao Tse Tung, Chou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Marshal Yang Shangkun, Li Peng, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jing Tao, etc), Malaysia (Dr. Mahthir Mohamad), Brazil (Lula Da Silva), Iran (the Ayatollahs), etc. Between the First World War and the Second World War, the Soviet Union transitioned into an Industrial country propelled by the dictatorial but independent-minded Joseph Stalin. In Africa we have benefited from a number of independent-minded leaders: Col. Nasser of Egypt, Mwalimu Nyerere of Tanzania, Samora Machel of Mozambique, etc. That is how Southern Africa was liberated. That is how we got rid of Idi Amin. The stopping of genocide in Rwanda and the overthrow of Mobutu, etc., were as a result of efforts of independent-minded African leaders. Muammar Gaddafi, whatever his faults, is a true nationalist. I prefer nationalists to puppets of foreign interests. Where have the puppets caused the transformation of countries? I need some assistance with information on this from those who are familiar with puppetry. Therefore, the independent-minded Gaddafi had some positive contribution to Libya, I believe, as well as Africa and the Third World. I will take one little example. At the time we were fighting the criminal dictatorships here in Uganda, we had a problem arising of a complication caused by our failure to capture enough guns at Kabamba on the 6th of February, 1981. Gaddafi gave us a small consignment of 96 rifles, 100 anti-tank mines, etc., that was very useful. He did not consult Washington or Moscow before he did this. This was good for Libya, for Africa and for the Middle East. We should also remember as part of that independent-mindedness he expelled British and American military bases from Libya, etc.
2. Before Gaddafi came to power in 1969, a barrel of oil was 40 American cents. He launched a campaign to withhold Arab oil unless the West paid more for it. I think the price went up to US$ 20 per barrel. When the Arab-Israel war of 1973 broke out, the barrel of oil went to US$ 40. I am, therefore, surprised to hear that many oil producers in the world, including the Gulf countries, do not appreciate the historical role played by Gaddafi on this issue. The huge wealth many of these oil producers are enjoying was, at least in part, due to Gaddafi’s efforts. The Western countries have continued to develop in spite of paying more for oil. It, therefore, means that the pre-Gaddafi oil situation was characterized by super exploitation in favour of the Western countries.
3. I have never taken time to investigate socio-economic conditions within Libya. When I was last there, I could see good roads even from the air. From the TV pictures, you can even see the rebels zooming up and down in pick-up vehicles on very good roads accompanied by Western journalists. Who built these good roads? Who built the oil refineries in Brega and those other places where the fighting has been taking place recently? Were these facilities built during the time of the king and his American as well as British allies or were they built by Gaddafi? In Tunisia and Egypt, some youths immolated (burnt) themselves because they had failed to get jobs. Are the Libyans without jobs also? If so, why, then, are there hundreds of thousands of foreign workers? Is Libya’s policy of providing so many jobs to Third World workers bad? Are all the children going to school in Libya? Was that the case in the past – before Gaddafi? Is the conflict in Libya economic or purely political? Possibly Libya could have transitioned more if they encouraged the private sector more. However, this is something the Libyans are better placed to judge. As it is, Libya is a middle income country with GDP standing at US$ 89.03 billion. This is about the same as the GDP of South Africa at the time Mandela took over leadership in 1994 and it about the current size of GDP of Spain.
4. Gaddafi is one of the few secular leaders in the Arab world. He does not believe in Islamic fundamentalism that is why women have been able to go to school, to join the Army, etc. This is a positive point on Gaddafi’s side.