The Tanzanian government (and many of the Tanzanians who have commented) have made their views on what happened recently in Libya very clear. They were opposed to the NATO intervention (which was said to be designed to prevent the rebels in Benghazi from probable killing by Gaddafi forces); they objected to the involvement of Britain and France, especially as they considered that these countries were exceeding the UN and Arab League mandates for action. They then (in common with most of Africa) refused to recognise the rebels as a legitimate transitional government of Libya and expressed horror at the brutal way Colonel Gaddafi had been killed in the final days of the insurrection.

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Bernard Membe said that that the Colonel did not have to die, as his pursuers had ‘seized him alive.’

According to the Minister, those who boast of being pioneers of human rights and justice should have arrested him and allowed him to be tried in court instead of killing him point blank. “The killing of the Libyan leader might trigger an endless war since there are many people in that country who have lost beloved ones and could be keen on revenge…. experience shows that an undemocratic regime leads to insecurity.”

Some people however felt that Gaddafi’s demise should act as a lesson to other leaders across the world and that the desire of the majority was more powerful than any individual. Others said: “Gaddafi was a brutal fascist dictator who mixed elements of Islamic religious fanaticism with Arabic nationalism and who put up a pretence of being a Pan Africanist.”

Others accused the African Union of not acting while a member state was being attacked.

Tanzania decided not to recognize the new Libyan government because it believed that international laws were violated in the overthrowing of Colonel Gaddafi. Tanzania did not allow the Libyan embassy staff in Dar to fly the new Libyan flag. The influential African magazine ‘New African’ wrote of what it described as ‘the new British/French colony’ that had been established in North Africa.

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