Dictator son to run for Presidency in Africa


The election is to take place next month

<p>Saif al-Islam has not been seen in public for years </p>
Saif al-Islam has not been seen in public for years

The son of former Libyan ruler Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has registered as a presidential candidate in the country’s election next month.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was the apparent heir to his father and integral in shaping policy in the country before the 2011 uprising that toppled his family’s reign and pushed him into the shadows.

The 49-year-old appeared in an electoral commission video in a traditional brown robe and turban signing documents at the election centre in the southern town of Sebha. He addressed the camera and cited a verse from the Koran that translates as, “judge between us and our people in truth”.

“God always prevails in his purpose,” he also said, citing another chapter of the Muslim holy book, and adding from another section – “even if the unbelievers hate it”.

The elections scheduled for 24 December has been met with hesitance by rights groups insisting it will not be free and fair.

While Mr Gaddafi is likely to play on nostalgia for the era before the 2011 uprising that swept his father from power and ushered in a decade of chaos and violence, analysts say he may not prove to be a front runner.

Muammar al-Gaddafi was captured outside his hometown of Sirte by opposition fighters in October 2011 and subsequently shot. Saif al-Islam was seized days later by fighters from the mountainous Zintan region as he tried to flee Libya for Niger. He was held for six years, receiving a death sentence in 2015 complicating his presidential ambitions. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court.

Saif al-Islam, who was educated at the London School of Economics was highly regarded by western leaders before siding with his family when the uprising broke out in 2011.

He gave an interview to the New York Times earlier this year from his villa in Zintan but has not yet made any public appearance speaking directly to Libyans.



Frank Fremer is a seasoned journalist, blogger and political analyst for over a decade in Uganda

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