There are always two sides of the same coin. This can also be applied to africa’s dictators whom have always been blamed and slapped by sanctions to make the lives of their country men miserable. I took time to study some of the badass dictators and here is what I believe their good side. There is no better way to gauge this other than assessing their development records.So lets get to it:
Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku wa za Banga-Zaire
1. Inga dam Hydro Electric power project
The Inga Dam, was slated to produce one-third of the world’s hydroelectric energy.After launching this bid, Mobutu to be courted anew by Western capitals and their countries’ largest construction firms and banks. But the debt crisis brought on by costly borrowing and the collapse of world copper prices ultimately thwarted this project.
However, in 2014 his dream lived on.The World Bank has already approved a $73.1 million grant for the massive and controversial $80 billion—by conservative estimates–Grand Inga’s first stage in a project that has so far spanned five decades to tap the Congo River’s massive energy potential. The Grand Inga has the potential to supply energy to half of Africa’s 1 billion people–only 40 percent of whom have electricity today. The Grand Inga is expected to provide 40,000 MW of electricity—twice that of the world’s current largest hydroelectric project, China’s Three Gorges Dam.
In addition to the World Bank’s grant, the African Development Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) approved $33.4 million last year. These funds will go towards establishing a legal framework and state authority to oversee the construction of the first stage of the project and operations in the infamously politically volatile and corrupt nation.
Mobutu single handedly transformed his village into a city of a kind in Africa.Mobutu had replicas of the French palace of Versailles and the Chinese forbidden city built in his hometown, far in the remote north of the country (Zaire). As well as a Coca Cola factory that employed 1500 workers, an airport large enough to accommodate a Concorde jet, and a nuclear bunker that could fit up to 500 people.
Four of Zaire’s banks had also opened branches there. A satellite-dish communications station provides crisp color television and crackle-free international telephone calls. A German-run hospital provides the best health care.The cars sped down Boulevard Mobutu, a handsome parkway. Quickly it became evident that Gbadolite is no longer the lethargic village of 1,700 souls it was in 1965 when he seized power.
The Great Man Made river
It was Muammar Gaddafi’s dream to provide fresh water for all Libyans and to make Libya self-sufficient in food production.However this wasn’t easy given that Libya is a 90% desert nation. But luck struck was its way.
In 1953, the search for new oilfields in the deserts of southern Libya led to the discovery not just of significant oil reserves, but also of vast quantities of fresh water trapped in the underlying strata. The four ancient water aquifers that were discovered, each had estimated capacities ranging between 4,800 and 20,000 cubic kilometers. Most of this water was collected between 38,000 and 14,000 years ago, though some pockets are believed to be only 7,000 years old.
The total cost of the project was projected at more than US$25 billion. Libya has completed the work to date without the financial support of major countries or loans from world banks which declined to help.Libyans called it the eighth wonder of the world. Western media called it a pet project and the pipe dream of a mad dog.According to its website, it is the largest underground network of pipes (2,820 kilometres (1,750 mi)) and aqueducts in the world. It consists of more than 1,300 wells, most more than 500 m deep, and supplies 6,500,000 m3 of fresh water per day to the cities of Tripoli, Benghazi, Sirte and elsewhere.
Other positive Muammar Gaddafi’s contribution to the people of Libya were:
1. All the newly weds people of Libya used to get about 50,000 dollars from Government to lead a very happy life.
2. Home was the basic right of every citizen of Libya.
3. There was no electricity bill in Libiya. Electricity was free in Libya.
4. No interest loan for the people of Libya according to Law. Gaddafi was against interest since interest is forbidden in Islam.
5. Gaddafi has increased the literacy rate from 25% to 83%. Education expenses in Government universities are free in Libya.
6. Medical expenses in Government hospitals was free in Libya.
7. The price of the patrol was 0.14 cents in Libya. Yes we all know Libya has got good petroleum resources. But the price seems to be too low. Isn’t it?
8. When Libyan citizen wants to buy a car, Government used to subsidized 50% of the price of the car. 50%? sounds great!
9. A huge bread used to cost only 15 cents in Libya.
10. The GDP per capita of Libya is very high. Over 15,000 us dollars. Purchasing power was very high compare to the GDP.
11. The economy of Libya was improving rapidly. In 2010 it had 10% growth. It has not external debts. It also has the reserves amount of 150+ billion dollars.
12. Unemployment fees were given from the government until the person finds a Job.
13. A Libyan mother used to get 5000 us dollars for giving birth a child.
Idd Amin Dada-Uganda
Idi Amin, for those who may know him had a funny self conferred title: His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, CBE, Lord of all the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.
Amin may be perceived by many Ugandans as a disgrace to the nation, but to some he was not. Documentaries have been developed naming him one of the most evil men in history but what else are we not told of Amin? Often Amin has been accused of so many wrongs, that any of his right doings always obscured
Sembuya in his biography on Amin said,“I’m not absolving Amin of the documented mistakes he made. I am making a sincere record of the positive contribution which he made to this country.” In his new book, The Other Side of Idi Amin Dada, Christopher Colombus Sembuya praises him for his “positive contributions” to Uganda in the fields of business, infrastructure, religion and sports, among others.
Sembuya credits Amin for the creation of Uganda’s first and only national flag carrier, the Uganda Airlines Corporation and expanding the Uganda Railways following the collapse of the East African Community in 1977.
Amin’s government introduced many changes in the textile sector including the creation of the National Textiles Board to co-ordinate all the industry’s activities. Sembuya attributes the poor state of the country’s textile garment industry to the privatisation of Nyanza Textile Industries Ltd and abolition of the Lint Marketing Board.
A sportsman in his own right, having been a rugby player, swimmer and boxer in his youth, Amin also played football and drove rally cars as president. He did not stop at that and provided moral and financial support to sports. During his rule, John Akii Bua won the 400m hurdles gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics in Germany. The Uganda Cranes were runners-up at the 1978 Africa Cup of Nations, losing to hosts Ghana.
Amin is credited for constructing, purchasing and maintaining national assets abroad. In 1974, Uganda joined the Organisation of Islamic Conference. He united the country’s once fractious Muslims under the banner of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council. He contributed generously to projects of different faiths in the country. Amin created a special department of religious affairs, which was almost at ministerial level.
He also brought back Sir Edward Muteesa II’s body from the UK for state burial with full honours on April 4, 1971.
Amin is also remembered for linking Uganda to the rest of the world by putting up earth satellite stations at Mpoma in Mukono and at Ombaci in West Nile region.
Mohammed Said Barre – Somalia
Though Barre’s regime attempted to accomplish many worthy feats at the beginning of its rule, at the end he turned out to become among Africa’s top 10 worst dictators of all time. Siyad Barre’s early years in the presidency were marked with zealous-like socialist revolution that drew heavily from the philosophies of the Marxist ideologies promoting cooperative farming and social volunteerism to build schools, hospitals and roads. One of the earliest achievements the military junta led by Siyad Barre was adopting the new writing script for the Somali language, which served Somalia attaining official language status. That same year 1970, Siyad Barre also served as chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which gave him a great pride and recognition among newly independent African nations. In 1972, all government employees were ordered to learn to read and write Somali within six months. The reason given for this was to decrease a growing rift between those who spoke the colonial languages, and those who did not, as many of the high ranking positions in the former government were given to people who spoke either Italian or English.
Additionally, Barre also sought to eradicate the importance of clan (qabil) affiliation within government and civil society.
During the first five years Barre’s government set up several cooperative farms and factories of mass production such as mills, sugar cane processing facilities in Jowhar and Afgooye, and a meat processing house in Kismayo.
Another public project initiated by the government was the Shalanbood Sanddune Stoppage. From 1971 onwards, a massive tree-planting campaign on a nationwide scale was introduced by Barre’s administration to halt the advance of thousands of acres of wind-driven sand dunes that threatened to engulf towns, roads and farm land. By 1988, 265 hectares of a projected 336 hectares had been treated, with 39 range reserve sites and 36 forestry plantation sites established.
Between 1974 and 1975, a major drought occurred in the northern regions of Somalia. The Soviet Union, which at the time maintained strategic relations with the Barre government, airlifted some 90,000 people from the devastated regions of Hobyo and Caynaba. New settlements of small villages were created in the Jubbada Hoose (Lower Jubba) and Jubbada Dhexe (Middle Jubba) regions. These new settlements were known as the Danwadaagaha or “Collective Settlements”. The transplanted families were introduced to farming and fishing, a change from their traditional pastoralist lifestyle of livestock herding. Other such resettlement programs were also introduced as part of Barre’s effort to undercut clan solidarity by dispersing nomads and moving them away from clan-controlled land.
As part of Barre’s socialist policies, major industries and farms were nationalised, including banks, insurance companies and oil distribution farms.
However by the mid-to-late-1970s, public discontent with the Barre regime was increasing, largely due to corruption among government officials as well as poor economic performance. The Ogaden War (where the Somali national army invaded Ethiopia in order to annex the Somali-inhabited Ogaden territories) had also weakened the Somali army substantially and military spending had crippled the economy. Foreign debt increased faster than export earnings, and by the end of the decade, Somalia’s debt of 4 billion shillings equalled the earnings from seventy-five years’ worth of banana exports.
By 1978, manufactured goods exports were almost non-existent, and with the lost support of the Soviet Union the Barre government signed a structural adjustment agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the early 1980s. This included the abolishment of some government monopolies and increased public investment. This and a second agreement were both cancelled by the mid-1980s, as the Somali army refused to accept a proposed 60 percent cut in military spending.
Though he ultimately led to the failed state Somalia is today, he will be remembered at least for being the last leader of a ‘united’ Democratic Republic of Somalia.