Following her death yesterday, the global communities are expressing mixed reaction to her departure from this world. While others regard her as a hero, some think otherwise.
UK High Commissioner to The Gambia, David Morley described Thatcher as “a truly remarkable woman who led with compassion, strength and character.” According to Moorley, many may not have agreed with all she stood for but there is no doubt she did her best for the UK and was an inspiration to millions of women around the world.
Saw the rise of poverty in UK
A Gambian civil society activist said Margaret Thatcher “represents that category of ‘MisLeaders’ who eroded the fundamental rights of citizens and workers by denying their right to development through slashing social benefits and spending, and privatising public corporations. In this way, she made the State completely irresponsible and not accountable to the people, and it is these measures that saw the rise of poverty in UK, and the emergence of a stream of capitalism that has devastated the world ever since.”
The current economic crisis hitting the West, this activist opined, is an offshoot of the neo-liberal stance of people like Thatcher and Reagan in which they removed the State from playing its regulatory role thus leaving capitalists and their companies to do anyhow, hence plunging nations in mess in their corruption and unethical businesses.
A staunch supporter of the apartheid regime
Pallo Jordan, a once-exiled African National Congress leader of South Africa, reacted thus: “Good riddance. She was a staunch supporter of the apartheid regime. She was part of the right wing alliance with Ronald Reagan that led to a lot of avoidable deaths.”
“Her passing signals the end of a generation of leaders that ruled during a very difficult period characterised by the dynamics of the Cold War,” ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said.
Thatcher refused to impose sanctions on South Africa’s apartheid regime and went so far as to describe the African National Congress in 1987 as terrorists. “Anyone who thinks it is going to run the government in South Africa is living in cloud-cuckoo land,” she said of the ANC at the time.
Brought a strong, controversial style to British diplomacy
“She changed us all. We went from being a people who saw ourselves as eternally on the downward slide to a nation that was proud to be British again. On the world stage too, she made Britain count once more. She was a startling presence who brought a strong and controversial style to our diplomacy after years of Foreign Office blandness, said Charles Powell, one of the closest aides of the “Iron Lady” during her time in power.
Revolutionized the social order in Britain
The UK’s first female prime minister transformed a sclerotic British economy, all but neutered the trade unions and endeavoured “to roll back the frontiers of the state” with a policy of offloading the great nationalised industries and selling council houses to their occupants. Abroad, she was the indomitable leader who won victory over Argentina in the Falklands war, who decided that Mikhail Gorbachev was a Soviet leader she could “do business with”, and who inspired a respect for “Thatcherism” as a political philosophy that was never quite matched on the domestic front, one commentator eulogized in the Financial Times yesterday.
“We’ve lost a great Prime Minister, a great leader
British Prime Minister David Cameron who was on a visit to Europe cut short his trip and flew back to London. Before departing he said: “We’ve lost a great Prime Minister, a great leader, a great Briton. As our first woman Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds, and the real thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she didn’t just lead our country, she saved our country. I believe she’ll go down as the greatest British peacetime Prime Minister.
“We’ve lost somebody great in our public life but they’ve lost a much loved mother and grandmother and we should think of them today. Her legacy will be the fact that she served her country so well and that she saved our country, and that she showed immense courage in doing so, and people will be learning about what she did and her achievements in decades, probably centuries to come. That’s her legacy, but today we must also think of her family.”
Foreign Secretary William Hague MP said: “She changed our country forever and all of us owe so much to her. A legacy few will ever equal. Rest in peace Margaret”.