Fred OLUOCH received a BA in Sociology from Bombay University and a post-graduate degree in Communications from the Xavier Institute of Communications. At 38 years of age, Fred is currently a Political Analyst for the East African in Kenya and has been an active reporter since 1994. His previous reporting experience at the “Indian Express” and later the Economic Review, which specifically handled pre-election analysis during Kenya’s second multi-party elections in 1997. Last year he played a similar role for Economic Review in analysing pre-election issues. Fred has previously been a Staff Writer at the Analyst Magazine as well as working for Manpower Media Ltd. and Sokoni Magazine.
The death of Muammar Gaddafi is a turning point for East African countries that had close relations with the fallen regime, especially Kenya.
Prior to Gaddafi’s death, Kenya was hesitant to recognise the Libyan National Transition Council, unlike Rwanda that offered unequivocal support for the NTC.
The question now is how the NTC will relate with Kenya and Uganda, which had close links with the late Gaddafi and where the former ruler had huge business interests.
Libyan businesses in Kenya include the petroleum company Oilibya and the Laico Regency Hotel. In Uganda, Gaddafi invested heavily, including building a modern mosque. The Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company owns a 49 per cent stake in the Uganda National Housing and Construction Company, 69 per cent in Uganda Telcom Ltd and 99 per cent in Tropical Bank.
While the Kenya government has of late been softer on the NTC, especially after the African Union recognised the transitional government, it is likely to take a while before the relations reach the level at which they were with the Gaddafi regime.
Notably, the Kenyan embassy in Tripoli was attacked several times due to the perceived close relations between Gaddafi and the Kenya government. At that time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintained that most foreign embassies were being attacked in the confusion.
Dr Adams Oloo, head of the Political Science Department at the University of Nairobi, does not see any major problems in relations between Kenya and the new regime in Libya, because it is not as if Kenya supported Gaddafi at the time he was under siege.
“It is true that Kenya never came out strongly to support the NTC. However, since many countries in Africa had relations with Gaddafi, one cannot single out Kenya. It would have been a different story had Kenya supported Gaddafi while he was under siege. However, it is probably safe to say Kenya won’t be the darling of the NTC,” he said.
East African aside, Gaddafi had immense influence across Africa. His reach across the continent has revolved around paying for peacekeeping missions, infrastructure and humanitarian aid.
Gaddafi had personally built infrastructure for free in some African countries, including roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and power generating stations. These countries are likely to miss the person they have come to refer to as “big brother”.
Under Gaddafi, Libya contributed troops to and financed a number of peacekeeping missions in Africa, especially in Darfur.
In addition, Gaddafi used to contribute about 15 per cent of AU resources and had been paying the annual subscription of many smaller African countries.
Gaddafi was also instrumental in the transformation of the former Organisation of African Union into the AU.
Gaddafi and Libyans by extension prided themselves that the AU was founded at a summit in Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte in September 1999. But on the other hand, Gaddafi is known to have backed several rebel movements across the continent, among them in Chad, Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. His footprints are present among some of the Darfur rebels.
Prior to the presidency of Mwai Kibaki, Libya and Gaddafi was anathema to the former regime of Daniel arap Moi. In late 1980s, the former president Daniel arap Moi accused Gaddafi of carting Kenyan youth out of the country through Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, for guerilla training in Libya.
Gaddafi becomes the first leader to be killed in the ‘Arab Spring’ wave of popular uprisings that have swept the Middle East, demanding the end of autocratic rulers and the establishment of greater democracy.
Source: All Africa