African press review 21 October 2011

The death of Libya's Moamer Kadhafi is hailed as a warning to dictators and the end of four decades bloody repression. But some papers say that it means the truth will never be known about events like the Lockerbie bombing.


Egypt's Al-Masry Al-Youm reports that scores of Libyans gathered across Cairo on Thursday to celebrate the death of the former dictator who ruled Libya with an iron fist for 42 years. One of the demonstrators who couldn’t hide his tears told the paper that Kadhafi didn’t realise he could “win one battle against one generation but not battles against all generations”.


Kadhafi’s killing is also the front-page story in all the Nigerian newspapers. The Guardian notes that Moamer Kadhafi called the rebels who rose up against his 42-years of one-man rule “rats” but in the end, it was he, who was “captured cowering in a drainage pipe full of rubbish and filth”.

According to The Nation, he is not the first dictator to “end life ingloriously”, after formally announcing they would be president for life. He follows the likes of Jean Bedel Bokassa, Idi Amin Dada, Mobutu Sese Seko and Sani Abacha.

And Vanguard expresses the hope that Kadhafi’s gruesome death at the hands of Nato’s army, will serve as “a deterrent to others of his type”. Dictators across the continent, it says, must “learn to leave the stage while the ovation is loudest”.

Moamer Kadhafi’s death also drew comments in the South African newspapers. The Sowetan comments that Kadhafi’s “love of comic-opera uniforms, exotic female bodyguards and Bedouin tents provided a theatrical backdrop for 42 years of bloody repression”.

The Mail and Guardian sees the death of Kadhafi as a “setback to campaigners seeking the full truth” about the 1988 bombing over Lockerbie of Pan Am flight 103 that claimed 270 lives.

Kenya’s Daily Nation posts Al-Jazeera television images of Colonel Kadhafi’s corpse lying on the ground, with a bloodied face and lifeless but open eyes. The gruesome pictures it says, “punctuated an emphatic and violent ending to his four decades as a ruthless and bombastic autocrat who had basked in his reputation as the self-styled king of kings of Africa”.

In nearby Uganda, the Daily Monitor samples the opinion of several dignitaries. The Foreign Affairs Minister of the Toro kingdom Philip Winyi, calls Kadhafi’s death a very unfortunate moment as Colonel Kadhafi was one of the “guardians” and chief financier of the young King Oyo.

Norbert Mao, president of Uganda’s main opposition Democratic Party told the Monitor that the fall of Kadhafi should send a “clear message” to President Yoweri Museveni to “prepare his exit, since he too, seems to be in the exit lounge, although refusing to board the exit plane”.

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