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FunTimes Magazine

Libyan Independence Day: The Politics of Muammar al-Gaddafi

Dec 24, 2020 08:00AM ● By Oga Africa

On Libyan Independence Day, we take a look inside the political ideologies of former Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi. 

Gaddafi, who at 27 years old, rose to power in 1969 via coup d’etat, ruled the North African nation for over 40 years, until his death in 2011. After claiming power, he successfully campaigned for Libya to have advantage in its share of the oil revenue. At the time, no developing country benefited from the oil being produced in their country;  Libya has the largest amount of crude oil in Africa.  This success made the country financially prosperous, and  an example of how African leaders can harness the potential of their natural resources. 


His citizens had free education, free water, nearly free gas, free healthcare, but no political freedom. One could be executed for speaking out against Gaddafi’s ideologies. He even executed Libyans living abroad who opposed him. Ironically, throughout his reign, he created a political system called ‘Jamahiriya’, (state of the masses). His crimes were sad to included murder, intimidation, terrorism, money laundering, mass manipulation and more.


Under Gaddafi’s dictatorship, Libya managed to maintain copious tons of silver and gold. In 2009, Gaddafi sought to establish a continent-wide African currency, which he proposed to the African Union as the gold dinar, backed by gold. This endeavor would put African financial institutions in the front seat of oil production, as opposed to American banks. This potential of progress in Africa’s economic freedom threatened America’s existing financial power. In 2011, when the country revolted against him, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), intervened and aided in his killing. 

(Tripoli, Libya)


Gaddafi’s tumultuous leadership left a strong mark on the country. Although he committed heinous crimes, he exhibited Pan-African ideals, created financial progress for Libya and put African centered politics in the front seat. If we take the good he has done and learn from the poison power can evoke in one’s mind, future leaders of Africa may be inspired to create financial wellness and African focused progress. 


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