Caught between embarrassment, anger and confusion, African leaders have so far failed to react to the damaging revelations from WikiLeaks, the controversial whistle-blower website. That is, with the exception of the 68 year old Libyan Revolutionary “guide,” Muammar Gaddafi, who the secret US cables describe as one man who “cannot travel” without his “voluptuous blonde” Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska: a woman he “appears to rely” on, rather than his bevy of female bodyguards. According to the secret diplomatic cables, Gaddafi has a firm grip on smaller African countries “through bribes and other pressure”.
“A glimpse into Libyan leader Gaddafi’s eccentricities,” the diplomatic memo’s title, states that “a Ukrainian political officer recently confirmed that Ukrainian nurses ‘travel everywhere with the Leader’.” The statement could explain why “Col. Gaddafi sent a private jet to ferry his nurse from Libya to Portugal to meet him when she was delayed by a late visa application,” as reported by The Telegraph.
An angry reaction on Gaddafi’s part is said to have provoked a nuclear alert in late 2009 after he left huge amounts of enriched uranium, bound for Russia, on a tarmac under the sweltering sun with only one guard. Shortly before the alert, Muammar Gaddafi believed he had been humiliated during a trip to New York, where he was not allowed to pitch his tent outside the United Nations building.
The Libyan leader, who is thought to harbour “fears” of staying on upper floors of buildings or flying over water among other things, announced that WikiLeaks had played a “very useful” role in exposing American “hypocrisy and conspiracies” in statements released last week by state-run media, Jana. Muammar Gaddafi says he is showing his support for Julian Assange behalf of freedom of expression.
“I am for freedom and against curbing the voices and ideas.” Gaddafi told students at the London School of Economics, early December. “This [Wikileaks] is very useful on the condition that what is published by the web site represents truth. But if it starts to publish fabricated documents it would lose value and it becomes a platform for lying and forgery”
But the “mercurial and eccentric” leader, according to the diplomatic cables, is not trusted by some of his African compatriots in what concerns his plans to create a United States of Africa. Muammar Gaddafi’s hold on smaller African countries “through bribes and other pressure,” as well as his preference for a United States of Africa as against Uganda President, Yoweri Museveni’s support for a regional federation, has led to deep fissures between the two “never-retiring revolutionaries.” According to the cable, the Ugandan leader believes that Gaddafi “is trying to buy them off or intimidate them by destabilizing their countries unless they agree with union.”
Uganda president, Yoweri Museveni, the cable explains, “noted that tensions with Gaddafi are growing and as a result, and he worries that Gaddafi will attack his plane while flying over international airspace.” Museveni had asked the United States government to work together with his government in order to ensure additional air security.
The cable cites a sensitive source that told the Embassy that Gaddafi had given the ex-putsch leader of Guinea, “Dadis” Camara, “a large sum of cash” after “independent sources reported that Qadhafi gave a bullet-proof Nissan vehicle to President Camara.” Tripoli Great Jamahiriyah TV in Libya is reported to have announced that the Libyan guide “said that the Guinean people ‘are backing the revolutionaries’.”
But despite his constant call and battle for a united states of Africa, many Africans have expressed their concerns over condescending remarks made by the north African country’s leader in Italy in August this year when he said that “tomorrow Europe might no longer be European, and even Black, as there are millions who want to come in.” He was addressing the issue of African immigrants in Europe.
“We don’t know what will happen, what will be the reaction of the white and Christian Europeans faced with this influx of starving and ignorant Africans,” Col. Gaddafi said. “We don’t know if Europe will remain an advanced and united continent or if it will be destroyed, as happened with the barbarian invasions.”
In Libya, “Qadhafi often speaks out publicly against government corruption, but the politically-connected elite has direct access to lucrative business deals. This commercial access can easily be cut off when individuals fall out of favor.” Gaddafi, however, is noted not to have a known bank account and lives in “modest quarters, with prefabricated walls and floors that creak. The walls are white and do not feature any artwork.”
“Qadhafi himself keeps a low profile in Tripoli. The Bab al-Azizia compound has facilities for banquets and other public events, but it is not lavish in any way compared with the ostentation of the Gulf oil state families or Hariri clan.”