Libyan envoy expulsion not govt decision: PM
By Tonderai Kwenda, Deputy News Editor
HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said it is not the duty of Zimbabweans to foist political representatives on the people of Libya. Tsvangirai said this as the expelled Libyan ambassador, Taher Elmagrahi, was leaving the country yesterday.
Elmagrahi and his Libyan embassy staff were given 72 hours to leave the country on Tuesday after supporting that country’s rebel force. Elmagrahi, who was left stranded on Thursday after failing to secure a visa to leave the country via South Africa, left by road to Botswana yesterday.
The Zimbabwean government had threatened to forcibly deport the Libyans if they remained in Zimbabwe beyond the stipulated deadline. Tsvangirai said the decision to expel the Libyan envoy was not a government decision. He said he was not consulted and the decision was made in his absence as he was out the country visiting West African leaders to brief them on the political situation in the country.
The premier said it is not the business of Zimbabweans to foist political representatives on the people of Libya.
“The Prime Minister’s position is that we do not have monopoly on sovereignty. While we should not violate international law, we should recognise that it is not up to us to determine who should govern the people of
Libya and not up to us to determine who should represent the people of Libya in Zimbabwe,” Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka told the Daily News. “He is not aware of the so called government position on Libya because when it was taken he was out of the country.”
Zimbabwe expelled Libya’s ambassador last week after he abandoned Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and backed the rebels. The Zanu PF side of government was apparently enraged by Elmagrahi’s actions. He joined protesters who stormed the embassy and raised the pro-rebels flag although they were later ordered to restore the pro-Gaddafi flag.
President Robert Mugabe is a close ally of Gaddafi. Meanwhile, the embattled Gaddafi has called on his supporters to set Tripoli ablaze. He said this as world leaders gathered on Thursday in the French capital Paris to discuss Libya’s future following the arrival of funds for the National Transitional Council (NTC).
“Let there be a long fight and let Libya be engulfed in flames,” Gaddafi was heard saying in a voice message on a Syrian television station. “We will not give up. We are not women. We will continue fighting.”
On his West African trip, Tsvangirai met the Ivorian leader Alissane Quattara on Thursday at his presidential offices in Abidjan. The Ivorian who needed the intervention of the United Nations and French forces to dispose Laurent Gbagbo who had refused to vacate power after he had lost elections last November, pledged to assist Zimbabwe to conduct free and fair elections.
“President Quattara pledged to work hard to assist Zimbabwe to cultivate a peaceful environment and make sure that every African leader works towards assisting the electoral process in Zimbabwe,” said Tamborinyoka. Daily News