- Source: Metro International
- Title:Mohammed El Senussi: “If Gaddafi does not go, he will be killed”
- Date & Time:19 April 2011
Mohammed El Senussi is the polar opposite of Gaddafi. He is quiet, considerate, wears business suits, and runs in the mornings. El Senussi is the main opposition of Gaddafi.
King Idris died in 1983 and now Mohammed is the heir to the Libyan throne and can claim his rights for the throne after the removal of Gaddafi. For many years the Crown Prince has tried to return to Libya, but everytime his visa has been denied. If he returns now he will place his life in danger, because many regions of Libya are in the hands of Gaddafi supporters.
Metro met Mohammed in his home in London, where he lived with his mother, the Crown Princess.
Mohammed El Senussi has said he would succeed his great-uncle, King Idris, who was deposed by Gaddafi in 1969, as king of Libya if that is the will of the people. The exiled crown prince says however, that he will respect the choice of the Libyan people about the future of their country.
Is Gaddafi your enemy?
"Absolutely not. I personally have nothing against Gaddafi. What he did to my family was wrong, however I hold no personal revenge."
How did you feel when the rebellion first broke out in Libya?
"I was happy because this is the will of all Libyan people, it gave them hope. I do not like revenge because it ones only goal is to kill. Most importantly, a Libya free of Gaddafi is our goal. "
If the people hate him so much, why has there never been a massive coup before?
"He had money, oil, and the support of the international community. But thanks to modern technology and communication, people can understand what is happening inside and outside of Libya. "
Are you saying that Libyans did not stand up against Gaddafi because he had international support?
"No. This is just the right time. He has slaughtered a lot of people, in the streets of Libya’s cities and towns, and this has been shown on television. It is horrible to watch. "
What are people of Libya really like?
"Gaddafi always wanted to promote himself rather than the country. Libyans are simple people. They help and welcome everyone who come to Libya. They're not terrorists. They just want to live securely like everyone else. They want a house, a good education, a better life. They do not want war. "
What should happen in Libya?
"Gaddafi and his family must leave. Their time is over. If he does not leave, his life will be at risk. If he leaves, people will not catch him. Six million people have declared war against him. Gaddafi claims he has many supporters, but in reality no one wants him to remain. He cannot win against six million people even with his militia."
Should he be brought to justice?
"This is a decision for the lawyers, but for now he and his family have to just leave the country. He is the biggest problem. The killings happen because of him. With his departure crimes will stop. "
His sons want to seize power. Is that an option?
"They’re all the same. Like father, like son. The killing must stop and Gaddafi and his sons must leave. He is trying to buy time by coming up with new ideas. But nobody believes him. He has done this before and he has always lied. "
What needs to happen after his departure?
"The transitional government of the Libyan opposition must act on behalf of the Libyan people. They must organise democratic elections, in which the Libyan people shall decide what new form of system they want. We have no right to decide whether it should be a republic or a monarchy. The people should decide the first free elections. "
Are you in contact with the opposition?
"Yes. The transitional government is important for the Libyan people. But the institute is only temporary. If Gaddafi leaves the situation will be different. "
How do you see your role?
"My family has headed Libya for many years, and if people elect a monarchy my family will return. Shall they want a republic, we shall respect the choice of the people. "
Are you considering a political career if there is a republic?
"I see myself as a servant of Libya. I respect the choice of the Libyan people, and I will not compel them to accept me as king. My great-uncle Idris did not do so, he was elected king. "
Is democracy the best solution for Libya?
"You can not export a European system to Libya. The country is very different. We need our own democracy, a democracy that is appropriate in the Middle East. We do not need a dictator. Libyan people should feel secure, they should have good schools and hospitals, where there is a constitution and freedom of speech. Through good education we can teach people the principles of democracy. It took Britain 800 years to reach the level of democracy they have now. We must take things step by step."
And before that?
"We had, under my great-uncle, eighteen years of democracy, a constitution, a parliament, and elections. It was one of the most advanced constitutions in the Middle East at the time.”
Should Libya become a beacon for democracy in the Middle East?
"Libya is in a strategic location. We are close to Europe and we form a gateway to Africa. The country, with a population of six million people and a great history, has everything it needs to attract foreign investors. This is our chance to make Libya a role model for the Middle East. "
Is Moussa Koussa, the defected minister who for years was loyal to Gaddafi, a brave man or an opportunist?
"I have no idea. For me it is important that anyone who is close to Gaddafi leaves. I do not call for revenge or massacres in the streets. Anyone who has committed wrongdoing, including Moussa Koussa, must be held legally accountable."
When do plan to return to Libya?
"If I could, I would go today. But I have work to do in Europe and other Arab countries, where I speak to a number of political leaders on behalf of Libya. And I have to make sure I'm safe. Gaddafi is still in control in some parts of the country."
What do foreign leaders say?
"Most support the Libyan people and want to see a democracy in Libya. And there are some who do not want Libya to fall apart or spilt."
Do Arab leaders support the rebels?
"Yes. They are praying for the Libyan people. "
When will Gaddafi go?
"I hope today. But the most important thing is that Libyans keep on fighting. They do not want him to stay on after 42 years because they have had enough. In this revolution it’s not just young people who are participating. This is why it is so effective."
On 1 September 1969, under the leadership of Gaddafi there was a military coup in Libya. The result of which was the deposal of Idris and the full rebuttal of monarchy. A new leadership system was formed, Jamahiria. The new leader did not murder the fmily of the ex-king because he was afraid to turn them into martyrs in the yes of the people. Instead of killing them he left them in poverty. There was a time when the family of the ex-king lived in a shack. “It was a very difficult time for us tells the Crown Prince, but today when I see that on the streets of Libya I understand that my problems are nothing. What happens now in the country is not war, it is one insane man launching an attack on all the other.” In 1988 the family of the monarch was driven out of the country as Gaddafi’s supporters burned their house and all of their possessions.