The end has finally come for ousted Libyan leader, Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi as he was killed on Thursday while trying to flee his home city of Sirte. He had been locked in a battle with the Libyan people who started a protest in February. The calls for him to step down climaxed into a civil war with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) throwing its weight behind the anti-Ghadaffi forces.
Ghadaffi who took over as a 27-year old military officer in 1969 was born on June 7, 1942. His 41-year rule made him the longest-ruling Arab leader. He often referred to himself as the ‘King of Kings’. In the heat of the crisis that led to his overthrow, he vowed to “fight to the death”.
After seizing power in 1969, Ghadaffi abolished the Libyan Constitution of 1951 and imposed laws based on the political ideology he had formulated, which he called the Third Revolutionary Theory. He thereafter published The Green Book, which became the constitution. Though he was fondly referred to as “Colonel Ghadaffi”, he took over power as a Lieutenant.
Gaddafi reportedly supplied weapons to the Irish Republican Army, a listed terrorist organisation in Great Britain while he was also said to have financed rebels in places like Sierra Leone and a number of other countries.
He served as the Chairman of the African Union (AU) from 2 February 2009 to 31 January 2010.
During Gaddafi’s period of rule many of Libya’s human development indicators improved significantly. By 2010, Libya had the highest GDP per capita, Education Index, and Human Development Index in Africa as well as some of the best health indicators in the continent.
After the capital, Tripoli fell into the hands of the National Transitional Council, as the anti-Ghadaffi forces are called, he moved to his birthplace Sirte and he controlled the place until his death. NATO confirmed that it hit Ghadaffi’s 100-vehicle convoy as the convoy attempted to flee from Sirte. He was wounded in the strike and in the subsequent firefight that heralded the attempt to capture him. He later died of the wounds sustained.