By Nicholas Sengoba
Embattled Libyan leader, the ‘powerful’ Col. Muammar Gaddafi, is probably hiding somewhere in a bunker, biting his nails. But things have not always been like this. The self-declared ‘King of Kings’ and a horde of other high-sounding but equally spurious titles is in a very precarious situation following the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya and the concomitant military action led by NATO.
Naturally, Gaddafi’s predicament has divided opinion on the African continent; producing voices of sympathy or support from Uganda’s Museveni on the one hand and those of condemnation on the other from the likes of Rwanda’s Paul Kagame.
Whichever way one looks at it, the divergent views of African countries on the fight that has been taken to Gaddafi, all amounts to the same thing- a slavish acknowledgment that African claim to independence is a whimsical sham.
Most of what the African leader does is dictated by what the West wants and thinks. Then the African follows or pretends to cry foul. Africa is ruled and dictated to by the powerful West and all those who fail to recognise this are tempting the fate that has befallen Gaddafi.
All the Generals and Field Marshals with their special forces, guard brigades and their expensive modern equipment amount to nothing if the West does not bless them. Most of their plans to rule forever face the real threat of the displeasure or acceptance of the West.
Gaddafi has once again presented an opportunity to the West to rub this point in and strike fear in the hearts of African leaders. The sum total of the message being that; they are Generals in the African context, useful in crushing rioters and opposition leaders or raiding other pathetic African nations, if it is in the interest of the West.
So those who are crying for Gaddafi have a selfish interest in the matter. They remind us of the African saying that a sensible woman always throws away the stick that beats her co-wife. In their own calculation, if a clever opposition positions itself as a champion of Western interests, it is possible for the West to drop an African puppet President like a hot potato and shift its support to his contenders leading to regime change by enforcement!
Then those who are commending the West are doing the most sensible thing a slave who wants to live a comfortable life does with the slave driver. He nurses the ego of the tormentor and shows him all due respect as the boss who is always right and sensible. It buys him time and favours and keeps him in the good books of the master shielding him away from the lashes of the whip. It gives the master the impression that the slave is willing to betray his colleagues for the sake and for the interests of the master, however wrong the actions of the master might be.
The real meaning of this is that most of what we do in Africa for the sake of determining our destiny is meaningless if the West does not give it the nod. From elections to coups and revolutions, the invisible hand of the West is ever present. The West is the unseen guest at the table in the secret and powerful meetings most of our leaders hold in confidence to determine the fate of our countries.
Therein lies the answer for those who have always been intrigued by the question of how to get rid of leaders who have decided to perpetuate themselves in power. Understand that those who have overstayed their welcome are basically glorified stooges and puppet taking care of the interests of the West -however much they may conceal it. Those who have intentions of circumventing the long-standing leaders of Africa must accept to bear the interests of the West, the rest will fall in line.
The monitor, Uganda