Zimbabwe’s foreign affairs ministry officials told Ambassador Taher Elmagrahi on Thursday he would be deported if he does not comply, a day after he pledged his support for the National Transitional Council.
Elmagrahi on Wednesday joined Libyan demonstrators in Harare who lowered and burned the green flag synonymous with Gaddafi’s regime and raised the red, black and green flag from independence in 1951.
“From today, August 24, we follow the Libyan majority, the Libyan people, through our national transitional authority,” Ambassador Elmagrahi told journalists outside the embassy in downtown Harare.
“NTC is not accredited to Harare. If they say they now recognise the NTC, it means they are no longer representing the interests of the Libyan Government in Zimbabwe,” Foreign Affairs secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha said.
The NTC, he added, had no legal status in Zimbabwe and the ambassador had stripped himself of his diplomatic privileges by his pronouncements.
“If he remains defiant, he faces deportation,” said another government official. “We don’t have diplomatic relations with NTC and the hoisting of its flag here is actually illegal.”
President Robert Mugabe, a staunch ally of Gaddafi, has been outspoken in his denunciation of the armed rebellion which is backed by western countries, mainly France, Britain and the United States.
South Africa’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on Wednesday called on the International Criminal Court which has issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son and another senior member of his regime to investigate civilian killings committed by NATO and the rebels.
His comments struck a chord with the outspoken African National Congress’ Youth League which went further to urge African governments not to recognise the rebels.
“If the rebels ultimately take over Libya, everyone will know that these are rebels who were propelled to power and imposed on the people of Libya by imperialism through military violence, which led to loss of many civilian lives,” the Youth League said in a statement on Thursday.
“Africa is now facing a real threat of re-colonisation, which comes with the brutality and violence that defined earlier forms of the battering of Africa as if in Africa resides people who are unable to take their own decisions and determine their destiny.
“The ANC Youth League humbly requests all African leaders to do the humble thing of not recognising imposed regimes in the African continent. If the African Union recognises imposed regimes and government, then imperialist forces will be encouraged to fund and assist more rebel groups to illegally remove governments without the will of the people.
“If the ICC is not a hypocritical institution established for the prosecution of people from Africa only, it should indeed take up the issue of civilian losses of lives caused by NATO bombings in Libya. Imperialist invasions and re-colonisation of Africa will never be allowed and it is high time, the youth of Africa stand firm to oppose everything that treat Africans as sub-human.”