Wednesday, August 31, 2011



By Jerry Okungu

Nairobi, Kenya

August 31, 2011

As we close this week, let me take this opportunity to express my personal sympathy to the families that lost their loved ones in Uganda in a landslide and those Kenyans that grieved for their dear ones in two road accidents that claimed 36 souls in just two days. Whereas the Uganda tragedy was a natural calamity that we mortals could not have avoided, the Kenyan situation was different. Yet both caused us to lose our loved ones. The personal loss at the family level will take a long time to forget; the wounds even decades to heal. All I can say is that it must have been the will of God and the best we can do is to support these families to come to terms with their tragedies.

As we mourn our brothers and sisters in Kenya and Uganda, news coming from Libya about atrocities and excesses of the Gaddafi family were most disturbing but not surprising. Apart from mutilated dead bodies found in his family’s palatial homes, the tortured body of a mere house maid, a little girl burnt with hot water, chained in a room and left to die in eternal pain as they fled was as shocking as it was inhuman and disgusting. The question that must linger in the minds of those of us who watched the news footage was this: What on earth was this little girl’s crime to have deserved such cruelty and physical pain at the hands of her masters?

For the 42 years that Muammar Gaddafi ruled Libya, I knew Libya to be a dry state, a good Muslim country that did not tolerate alcohol and drugs. How on earth did Gaddafi’s children stockpile such huge amounts of alcohol under their father’s nose, in their father’s kingdom without anybody raising a finger? Or was the strongman’s family exempted from such restrictions? Wherever Gaddafi may be now; this is the one question that he must be subjected to when he finally meets his Allah because the Allah I know has no time for hypocrites, liars and fraudsters.

As I write this article, it is now obvious that Gaddafi’s family members are no longer in Libya. The rebels he once called rats have scattered them to the four corners of the earth. While some have shown up in Algiers next door in the North, others are presumed killed in battle while their father is finally calling for a truce while he is probably hiding in a hole Saddam Hussein style somewhere in the Libyan Desert.

While it is obvious that the rebels have run the Gaddafi royalty out of Libya, it is curious that the African Union, the body of African Heads of State that he once led are still dithering wasting the time of the international community. They are reluctant to recognize the new leaders claiming that the rebels killed African mercenaries that fought alongside Muammar Gaddafi! Surely, if you offer to lay down your life for a few dollars in a foreign land and lose your life to the enemy, you only have yourself to blame.

As at the end of this week, only about 20 African heads of state had recognized the rebels as the true leaders of Libya, more that 50% were still holding out adopting a wait- and- see strategy.

What this undecided group has missed is that the day the NATO Alliance moved in to give the rebels “cover”; the entire Western Alliance had recognized the rebels. These are the states with fire power to bomb any country to smithereens then lead the reconstruction thereafter. If you doubt me, ask the Koreans, Japanese, Germans, Iraqis and Afghanistans. It always follows a known pattern; go in, get out the devil, flash out his supporters and deal with collateral damage later.

Perhaps it is time we Africans questioned the very existence and usefulness of the AU in Addis Ababa. When an African dictator butchers his people, they turn a blind eye and give that dictator tacit support. We have seen examples of this behavior in the AU’s handling of Darfur crisis where to this day Omar El Bashir still murders at will and gets the protection of the AU.

The other day, the AU Secretariat called a meeting of Heads of State to raise funds for the famine disaster in the Horn of Africa. It was embarrassing to see a no show situation in Addis Ababa. Even Prime Minister Meles Menawi’s best soul mates across the continent failed to turn up. Yet when it was the turn of El Bashir to be arraigned in court at the ICC for the murder of innocent Darfurians or the Ocampo Six of Kenya to go to The Hague, it was a houseful in Addis Ababa and the continent spoke with one voice to condemn the ICC as a colonial court!

But the hypocrisy of the African leaders knows no bounds. Of the first 18 leaders to recognize the rebels in Libya, were some of the poorest states that fed on Gaddafi’s generosity when he was in power. President Jameh of The Gambia was not embarrassed to be among the first African dictators to condemn Gaddafi when in 2006; Gaddafi single-handedly sponsored the AU summit in Banjul for the cash-strapped Jameh!

Now that the ICC has opened a file on Gaddafi with the intention of prosecuting him and his generals, will the AU stand in the way again at the expense of that little girl- that maid I saw on TV? I leave it to you the reader of this column to decide.