By the time Muammar Al Gadaffi came to power in 1969, I was a third year university student at Dare-es-Salaam. We welcomed him because he was in the tradition of Col. Gamal Abdul Naseer of Egypt who had a nationalist and pan-Arabist position. Soon, however, problems cropped up with Col. Gathafi as far as Uganda and Black Africa were concerned.
Idi Amin came to power with the support of Britain and Israel because they though he was uneducated enough to be used by them. Amin, however, turned against his sponsors when they refused to sell him guns to fight Tanzania. Unfortunately, Gadffi, without getting enough information about Uganda, jumped in support Idi Amin. This was because Amin was a “Moslem” and Uganda was a “Moslem Country” where Moslems were being “oppressed” by Christians Amin killed a lot of people extra judiciary and Gadaffi was identified with these mistakes, in 1971 and 1979. Gadaffi sent Libyan troops to defend Amin when we attached him. I remember a Libyan Tupoley 22 bomber trying to bomb us in Mbarara in 1979. The bomb ended up in Nyarubanga because the pilots were scared. They could not come close in bomb properly. We had already shot down many Amin MIGs using surface-to-air missiles. The Tanzanian brothers and sisters were doing much of this fighting. Many Libyan militias were captured and repatriated to Libya by Tanzania. This was a big mistake by Gadaffi and a direct aggression against the people of Uganda and East Africa.
The second big mistake by Gadaffi was his position vis-à-vis African Union (AU) Continental Government. “Now” Since 1999, he has been pushing this position. Black people are always polite. They, normally, do not want to offend ordher people. This is called “obufure”. In Runyankore “mwolo” in Luo – handling, especially strangers, with care and respect.
It seems some of the non-African cultures do not have “odufure”. You can witness a person talking to a mature person as if he/she is talking to a kindergarten child; etc. “you should do this; you should do that; etc. “We tried to politely point out to Col. Gadaffi that his goal was difficult in the short and medium term. We should instead, aims at the Economic Community of Africa and, where possible, also aim at Regional Federations.
Gadaffi would not relent. He would not respect the rules of the AU. Something respect that had been covered by previous meetings would be resurrected by Gadaffi. He would overrule “a decision taken by all other African heads of state.
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