Last year, 200 African kings traveled to Libya by invitation to anoint its leader, Moammar Gaddafi, crowning him "King of Kings." (Who are these kings anyway? And I can't help but wonder how he received such a benevolent title.)
Earlier this year, Gaddafi was appointed as the chairman of the African Union, an office that lasts for a year. That was of course after traveling across the continent campaigning for the office. The top priority on his agenda now, is for the continent to become United States of Africa. The story.
The idea of having a United States of Africa is appealing in many ways. This means the continent will have one passport, one military, and one currency. Trading among the 54 countries will become easier, as well as the importing and exporting of goods. In addition, traveling within the countries will be much easier. This can eventually enable Africa to become self-sustained as many are predicting. This process is already going on in Europe, America, and the Middle East.
Presidents of countries like Senegal and Togo like the idea, and they believe Gaddafi could be the man for the job. Besides, he has the credibility of a leader who 'stood up' to the western world and supported anti-apartheid in South Africa. He also has the oil money and religious credentials to get his way when dealing with world leaders.
Report says some African leaders from South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, have intentionally avoided the topic.They say it would add a layer of bureaucracy that the continent doesn't need. Others argue that Gaddafi himself is only trying to use Africa to gain world influence.
Gaddafi who is 66, took over power through a military coup d'etat in 1969. At the time he was only 27 and popularly known as Al-jamil, which means "the handsome." Still known for his elaborate personal style, he has been in office longer than any other African leader. Having ruled for 40 years, he has an international reputation as a controversial leader.
In the 1970s and 1980s, his regime was implicated in subversion and terrorist activities in both Arab and non-Arab countries. By the mid 1980s, he was widely regarded in the West as the principal financier of international terrorism. In this video by the New York Times, he tries to impress foreign reporters visiting his country.
African leaders have asked for three months to ponder on the idea. In the meantime, Wyclef Jean sums it up nicely in the second stanza of this song from the movie, Hotel Rwanda.
Picture Courtesy: BBC/Zimbabwe Times ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?? About Adeola Oladele