ADDIS ABABA, Monday
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who failed to win a second term as African Union chairman now eyes a similar post at the League of Arab states.
At a press conference Gaddafi called at midnight, he told reporters he is now preparing to take over chairmanship of the Arab League.
Gaddafi tried to explain his importance in African affairs stating that Libya is going to host three summits to link the African continent with the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.
At the end of this year Libya is scheduled to host the Afro-Arab summit.
The Libyan leader is also to host the Africa-European Union summit.
Another summit is the Afro-Latin summit set for 2011.
But, a European diplomat said: “This is Gaddafi’s attempt to shift the power of the continental organisation to Tripoli.”
An East African Foreign Minister said Gaddafi’s failure to win another term as AU chairman is a relief for the continental body.
“He may continue meddling here and there but I don’t think that would help both Africa and his country’’ he added.
After losing the African Union chairmanship Gaddafi was seen restless and irritated and called an emergency midnight press conference at the summit venue.
Gaddafi blasted African leaders and dubbed the AU as a failed institution.
“I am disappointed and all the African people disappointed because the AU failed to establish institutions to realise the unity of Africa” he said.
“There has been no notable achievement since the establishment of AU. I can’t see real concrete and tangible results.”
“I am a soldier of Africa and I will remain as a soldier at the fore front” he added.
He added that he is already “king of Kings” which he said is the highest position in Africa.
“It’s enough to be a head of Kings” he said. Gaddafi had hoped to stay on for a second term to see through his plan for greater political and economic unification.
“I doubt we will be able to shoulder the responsibilities before us,” he said after handing over to Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika.
“I doubt we can achieve something concrete in the future, because frankly speaking my experience of the African Union, the political elite of our continent lack political awareness and hence the political determination.”
He said if he had known how little power the AU chairman has, he would have refused to take the position.
Mutharika, suggested he agreed with at least some of his predecessor’s criticisms.
“The way forward is for the AU Assembly to recognise that Africa is not a poor continent, but the people of Africa are poor,” he noted. “Let us reflect that Europe and the much of the Western world developed using wood, meat and fish from Africa, but Europe and the Western world did not develop through resolutions, and declarations. They took action - concrete action. So I appeal to you for action, action and more action.”
According to diplomatic sources at the summit, Gaddafi spent a lot of money and energy to stay in the AU position. His ambition was thwarted in a very unpleasant way.
Libya is one of the five countries that contribute 75 per cent of the African Union budget.
Gaddafi named former Somalia President Siad Barre and former Congolese ruler Mobutu Sese Seko as unifying factor and peace maker of their county.
“We need such kind of leaders to avoid conflict and integration” Gaddafi said.
Earlier Gaddafi asked that traditional leaders be allowed to address the summit. The traditional leaders’ representative told African leaders to respect him and his fellow rulers.