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Reactions to Gaddafi's new role

Col Gaddafi of Libya

Africans give the BBC their views about the appointment of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as the new chairman of the African Union.

Col Gaddafi wants to create a United States of Africa - envisaging a single military force, a single currency and a single passport for Africans to move freely around the continent.

PIUS SELORM DZRAMADO, 28, TAILOR, GHANA

Pius Selorm Dzramado, Accra
Pius Dzramado in Accra believes Gaddafi is not a democrat
Gaddafi does not adhere to the principles of democracy in Libya.

For those of us who believe in advocating democracy in Africa, choosing Gaddafi as African Union chairman is not progress.

There are plenty of African leaders who pig-headedly cling to power.

The appointment of Gaddafi as AU chair will simply be an incentive for them to cling on for longer.

As for Gaddafi's idea of a United States of Africa, there's an ulterior motive behind that. If his idea is actually carried out, I wonder whether Gaddafi himself would be willing to relinquish power to such a union in the long run.

I would describe his leadership "positive dictatorship"
Kenyan Amos Marube

Some people hail the choice of Gaddafi as AU leader, claiming he has set high standards for development in his own country. But there doesn't seem to be much respect for human rights in Libya.

I know some Ghanaians who were arrested when they visited Libya because their visa had run out. So I don't think Gaddafi's own country is a good role model for the rest of Africa.

As AU head, I can't imagine Gaddafi will have the moral courage to speak out against human rights violations in other African countries


FERAS AL-GEBLAWI, 29, ENGINEERING STUDENT, LIBYA
Feras Al-Geblawi, Tripoli
Feras Al-Geblawi in Tripoli says Gaddafi will unite Africa
It's a very good choice. Gaddafi is the bravest leader Africa has seen in the last 30 years. He always speaks his mind; he's like a philosopher, very intelligent.

There are some people who say Gaddafi is not a good choice as AU chair, claiming we don't have a strong record on human rights. But I haven't seen any injustice here.

Gaddafi's idea of African unity is a great one. Africa is an incredibly rich continent but it needs someone to unite it.

If anyone can bring African countries together, it's Gaddafi. He's the right man for the job, I can't think of any other African leaders capable of unifying the continent.

If it works, the United States of Africa could become financially strong like the European Union.

Libya is the door to Europe - we are one of Africa's richest countries and if the other AU members are smart, they will follow Gaddafi's lead.


AMOS MARUBE, 28, JOURNALISM STUDENT, KENYA

Amos Marube, Nairobi
Amos Marube in Nairobi is concerned Gaddafi will be a bad influence
I have mixed feelings about the choice of Gaddafi as chairman of the African Union.

His vision of a United States of Africa is far too ambitious, it will never happen.

He wants to unite the continent - but here in Kenya we are already so divided by tribalism. Regionally East Africa isn't really unified either.

If African countries are unable to unite nationally and regionally, I can't see how Gaddafi would be able to unite us as a continent.

I'm an admirer of Gaddafi as a leader though. I would describe his leadership "positive dictatorship" and he has done some great things for Libya.

The country is economically stable and the majority of the country is middleclass.

Within the AU, I'm also concerned about the influence Gaddafi will have on other African leaders.

He has been in power for 40 years and as AU chair, he could end up legitimising leaders like President [Yoweri] Museveni of Uganda and President [Mwai] Kibaki of Kenya in their attempts to hang on to power


AHMED TIJA, 59, TOUR GUIDE, MOROCCO
Ahmed Tija, Marrakesh
Ahmed Tija in Marrakesh hopes Gaddafi will bring Morocco back into the AU
Gaddafi is a good choice for the African Union because he has done a great deal for sub-Saharan Africa.

As long as he is helping poorer African countries, the AU countries should not focus too much on criticising domestic politics in Libya.

Here in Morocco Gaddafi is quite well liked, although we feel that his behaviour can be a bit peculiar at times. He could also be more diplomatic.

He should continue helping other African countries financially but spend less time advising them.

Unifying Africa is a good idea, but before Gaddafi pushes that project, he needs to use more energy bringing North African countries closer together.

The African Union will benefit from Libya's strong trade ties with Europe
Malawian Wongani Makhala

I sincerely hope that as a North African he will bring Morocco closer to re-joining the African Union, which we left in 1984 due to the dispute over Western Sahara.

Gaddafi cannot solve the issue of Western Sahara just because he is chairman of the AU.

Politically he is too close to Algeria, which also plays a role in that conflict. Western Sahara is a matter for the UN, not Gaddafi.

However, if he listened more to other North African leaders it would give him more credibility with the rest of Africa.


WONGANI MAKHALA, 34, IT WORKER, MALAWI

Wongani Makhala, Blantyre
Wongani Makhala in Blantyre believes Gaddafi is a generous man
Gaddafi is a very generous man; making him the AU chair will be good for Africa and also good for Libya.

He has shared Libya's oil profits with less privileged African countries such as Malawi. A few years ago he visited my country and donated money towards a hospital here in Blantyre.

The African Union will benefit from Libya's strong trade ties with Europe.

In that way Gaddafi will leave a strong mark on the AU once his chairmanship is over.

With Gaddafi in the chair, African countries such as Ghana, Malawi and South Africa with a strong track record on human rights will put pressure on Gaddafi to improve the human rights situation in Libya.

As head of the AU he will after all have to set an example to the rest of the continent.

I think he is a compassionate man; after all he did eventually release those Bulgarian nurses accused of infecting Libyan children with HIV.



To hear more views on Col Gaddafi's appointment listen to Wednesday 4 February's edition of BBC Africa Have Your Say .



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