Since the beginning of time, the world has been ruled by a good number of ruthless leaders. Africa once referred to as the Dark Continent, has had its share too. Greedy men who wanted everything for themselves have indeed taken many of the African countries for a spin.
While the world still grieves at the atrocities committed by these men, let us not forget that there was some good done by Africa’s worst dictators. Here we look at some of them.
1.Muammar Gaddafi, Former Libyan President
Gaddafi is arguably the worst tyrants in the world’s recent history. However, according to a report by Global Civilians Peace shortly after his death, many people are grateful for Gaddafi’s efforts to develop his country. Several other people are reported to have a deep regret for his assassination.
In fact, the BBC reported that one of Nelson Mandela’s grandsons is named after Gaddafi, a sign that this Tyrant was cherished even in Mandela’s family.
Under Gaddafi, Libya had the best health care services in Africa. If any Libyan needed medical treatment which wasn’t available in Libya, the government funded them to get the desired treatment abroad. What was even more amazing was that every woman that bore a child was given $5000 for child care, the highest single amount of money given to a new mother anywhere else in the World. Education was free, and if a Libyan desired to study a course that wasn’t available in Libyan universities, they were funded to study the course abroad.
Farmers under Gaddafi’s rule were flourishing. Anyone that wanted to start a farming business was given free farmland, seeds, a farmhouse, and livestock. Besides, Libya carried out the World’s largest irrigation system.Electricity was free as well, and so was water.
But behind all these good things, Gaddafi is known to have brutally tortured his people. Human rights watch reported that the Tyrant often collected young school girls of the age of 13years and sexually harassed them before murdering them. It was discovered that even his female bodyguards he slept with them before they were recruited as guards.
It is these and many other brutal acts that brought down Gaddafi’s 42 years rule when he was beaten and shot in the head on 20th October 2011 by National Transitional Council forces.
2.Idi Amin Dada, former president of the Republic of Uganda
With all his brutality as displayed in the film, “the last King of Scotland” Credit still goes to President Idi Amin Dada for buying Uganda’s first and only national airlines, Uganda Airlines Corporation.
Uganda Airlines helped to reduce air transport for Ugandans as it flew to most of the World’s airports, including the Middle East, Europe, and Africa; not forgetting that it also provided cheaper cargo fees. The dictator also renovated the Uganda Railways Corporation and built earth satellite which made Uganda and Nigeria the only countries to be connected to the World through satellite in the 70’s.
Although Amin is known to have marginalized women and even reported to have killed his wife, He appointed Elizabeth Bagaya as Foreign Minister in 1972, which made her Africa’s first female Foreign Minister, even before Europe and Britain.
An author who posted to one of Uganda’s biggest Facebook media forums called “Ugandans at heart” said, for a government run by semi-literates like Mustapha Adrisi, Yusuf Gowan, and Idi Amin, their achievements cannot be compared with today’s leaders who are graced with PhDs and MBAs.He added that the current government has not even reached 20% of what Idi Amin’s government achieved.
3.Omer El Bashir, Sudan’s current President
Sudan is one of the African countries that follow the sharia law so austerely. Women caught in adultery are stoned to death, a thief’s right hand is amputated, and besides other harsh laws, apostasy is punished by death. The worse part of it is that for 27 years now, Bashir has refused to leave power.
As harsh as this may sound, there is a part of President Bashir that is worth to be applauded. Sudan is home to Africa’s largest gold refinery.
The country’s economic growth is stable with frequent inflows of foreign investment. The transport system is cheap and has multiple transport lines like it’s 4,725 kilometers of railroads and well paved wide marred roads.
Agricultural is the most developed sector, contributing 95% of Sudan’s exports. In the past five years, Sudan slowly established itself to become the biggest supplier of medicines to East Africa.
4.Robert Mugabe, current President of Zimbabwe
From 1962, a now 89-year-old Mugabe has ruled as President of Zimbabwe, making him the 3rd longest serving African President with 35 years in office.
There might not be much to congratulate Mugabe for yet this one the only achievement carries a lot of mass. President Mugabe stopped the inequitable distribution of Zimbabwe’s land which was largely dominated by a white minority.
This had been a long problem in Zimbabwe during the colonial times that extended even after independence. The black majority lived in poverty while the whites enjoyed large farmland on which they employed the blacks.
Although Mugabe was blamed for bringing the change impetuously, many Zimbabweans who spoke to the BBC said they were happy about the achievement.
5.Hastings Kamuzu Banda, former President of Malawi
President Banda is the man who led Malawi into independence in 1964. He did this even before becoming President. He was serving as the Prime Minister of the then Nyasaland, a British colony.
In his country, President Banda he is hailed for improving the education system, holding women’s rights and improving the country’s infrastructure. But his dictatorship overshadowed his good. President Banda jailed, tortured and killed 6000 people without trial.
His rule ended in 1993 with a referendum in which his party was voted out when he was 93 years old. The President died three years later while living in South Africa.
6.General SaniAbacha, former Nigeria President
General SaniAbacha was Nigeria’s head of state from November 17, 1993, to June 8, 1998, when he died suddenly. Many analysts have concluded that Abacha brought the most development to Nigeria.
Nigeria began to continuously export petroleum products under Abacha’s reign. For his entire era, the Naira maintained at $1=N22 exchange rate.
Due to this stability against the dollar, foreign exchange reserves increased from $494 million dollars in 1993 to $9.6 billion in 1997.
Between the same period, Nigeria managed to pay $9billion of its foreign debt.