October 23, 2011 by newsdzezimbabwe

PRESIDENT Mugabe and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had sharp differences founded on principles, but it was up to the people of Libya, and not Nato, to change the political system in their country, Presidential spokesman  George Charamba has said.

Charamba yesterday said the President disagreed with Col Gaddafi after he opened up Libyan systems to the West as part of reconciliation efforts.

He also said the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces did not support the creation of a single African government under the banner of the “United States of Africa” because the concept was “too idealistic”.

“There were serious differences, founded on principle, between President Mugabe and Col Gaddafi,” said Charamba, who is also Secretary for Media, Information and Publicity.

“President Mugabe did not agree with Gaddafi when he opened his system to the West; from the military to the economy, in the name of rapprochement.”

Charamba said creating a centralised continental governance system was difficult given the political dispensation in Africa.

He said while Libya experienced difficulties regarding democratic processes, only its people could bring about transformation. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation does not have the same mandate, he said, adding that the US and Europe lacked the moral right to choose friends for Africans.

“Relationships must come from our own experiences; through history and contemporary relationships. The relationship between Zimbabwe and Libya dates back to and is rooted in the days of the liberation\strugglewhen thousands of (Zimbabwean liberation war) fighters went to the North African country for military training.

“Even the integration of the army at independence in 1980 was aided by Libya. We have very senior officers in Government who went to that country for further military training.”

The Presidential spokesman said Africa should be allowed to build relationships globally without undue influence. He said Col Gaddafi was among the African leaders who supported the historic land reform programme and openly castigated the illegal economic sanctions against Zimbabwe.

In 2002, he drove from Zambia to Harare in a show of solidarity with the Southern African state. Zimbabwe also turned to Libya for fuel at the height of economic difficulties.

“Africa must build relationships with the rest of the world independently. It should never receive friends or foes from Europe and America.

“During the days of the land reform exercise, Gaddafi was one of the few African leaders who unambiguously lent support to the programme and proceeded to declare it in public. He understood that it was the continuation of the liberation of Africans. He even sent some tillage units as a symbolic act to defy sanctions, which were meant to undermine the land reform. When Libya was under sanctions, our President took the same stance against its sanctions.

“Our President defiantly flew into Libya soon after the sanctions were removed.

“How many billions did Gaddafi commit to Italy, Europe or France? Yet, these are the same countries that attacked Libya.”

Col Gaddafi was killed by rebel fighters last Thursday following an eight-month war between his loyalists and Nato-backed rebels. The United Nations has ordered an investigation into his killing. Sunday Mail


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