Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Mugabe in crisis over Gaddafi death

By Bridget Mananavire

The ouster and eventual death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi increases pressure, and the possibility of Tripoli’s new rulers to unwind “shady deals” between President Robert Mugabe’s government and the late tyrant.

Muammar Gaddafi killed by rebels he called 'rats'
Muammar Gaddafi killed by rebels he called 'rats'

Zimbabwe is named as one of the destinations for Gaddafi’s money, estimated at $150 billion in both listed and non-listed entities around the world. Apart from banking assets, the late dictator had interests in farming, tourism and mining, and his son Saif al-Islam was in the country last year to scout for more deals.

Mohammad Elbarat, one of the Libyan diplomats expelled from Zimbabwe for supporting Tripoli’s new rulers, the National Transitional Council (NTC), raised the spectre of a reversal of the deals when he handed a dossier on possible plunder to NTC leaders.

The body of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi lies on a mattress in a morgue in Misrata, Libya, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. The burial of slain leader Moammar Gadhafi has been delayed until the circumstances of his death can be further examined and a decision is made about where to bury the body, Libyan officials said Friday, as the U.N. human rights office called for an investigation into his death.
The body of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi lies on a mattress in a morgue in Misrata, Libya, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. The burial of slain leader Moammar Gadhafi has been delayed until the circumstances of his death can be further examined and a decision is made about where to bury the body, Libyan officials said Friday, as the U.N. human rights office called for an investigation into his death.

“We have asked the NTC to cancel all the deals that Gaddafi made with Mugabe’s government, and the NTC has agreed since Mugabe’s government is refusing to recognise the NTC,” said Elbarat.

“These deals were not done in good faith and we want the NTC to investigate them because we had no documents to follow the transactions and this must be made clear on who benefited and for what purpose,” Elbarat recently told the Daily News from Tripoli.

Zimbabwe expelled Taher Elmagrahi and four other senior diplomats in August for flying the NTC flag at the Harare embassy. Mugabe’s coalition partner Morgan Tsvangirai said the change of baton in Tripoli left the 87-year-old “embarrassed”.

Jubilant fighters also killed Gaddafi's son Muatassim
Jubilant fighters also killed Gaddafi's son Muatassim

Douglas Mwonzora, spokesman for Tsvangirai’s MDC party, said Mugabe was in a fix on how to repair relations after “chasing the Libyan diplomats like dogs.”

“Now that Gaddafi is gone, there is going to be embarrassment on Zimbabwe government on how to relate with Libya,” said Mwonzora.

“A few weeks ago, Mugabe’s side of the coalition government ignored MDC advice not to chase away the Libyan ambassador in favour of someone clearly in the sunset of his political life. As usual, Mugabe displayed arrogance,” he said.

Information minister Webster Shamu yesterday maintained support for the dictator who, with the help of his family, ruled Libya with an iron fist for 42 years.

“Government has closely followed developments unfolding in Libya, especially in the last 24 hours. Zimbabwe just cannot accept what has happened in that African country as a legitimate way of correcting systems on the African continent,” said Shamu, a fierce Mugabe loyalist.

Ordinary Zimbabweans, on the other hand, say Gaddafi got what he deserved, although some feel the death was too brutal. Harare resident Tafadzwa Chirisa, 32, said: “Justice has been done not only for Libyans but Africa because he was a dictator.”

One shop attendant said Gaddafi’s fate showed “justice” will always catch up with leaders who murdered their own people for the sake of power.

“You can never run away from people and justice. He was stubborn. If he had stepped down earlier, none of this would have happened,” she said.

Godknows Kasavi, 21, said: “The man was a cause to many deaths, including children and that is how he died, chaunodyara ndochaunokohwa (you reap what you sow).”  36-year-old Bornface Chavira said: “What I am happy about is that Libyans are now free.” Daily News

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