Zimbabwe has deported Libyan ambassador Taher Elmagrahi one week after he turned against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and expressed his support for the rebels of his home country.
Zimbabwe's foreign minister said his country will not recognize the Libyan group’s rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate ruling entity.
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, from Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party, said Elmagrahi and all his staff have 72 hours to leave the country.
Once you renounce the authority that gave you the letter of credence and then proceed to pledge allegiance to another authority... it means that act deprives you of your diplomatic standing, which you had been accorded, he told reporters in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.
“This is what happened here with the ambassador and his staff. That act alone deprived the Libyan ambassador and his staff of any diplomatic status or standing in Zimbabwe because Zimbabwe does not recognize the National Transitional Council.”
When he declared his allegiance to the NTC, Elmagrahi reportedly said: I am not Gaddafi's ambassador. I represent the Libyan people.
In explaining its decision to deport Elmagrahi, The Zimbabwe government issued the following statement: “The Government of Zimbabwe regards the recent statements and activities of the ambassador and staff of the Embassy of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya as being inconsistent with their status as diplomatic agents of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Furthermore, both the statements and activities are unacceptable to the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, which has diplomatic relations with the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.”
The president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe is closely allied with Gaddafi (as are many other black African leaders), given that the Libyan strong has long financed the African Union (AU).
There were in fact rumors floating around recently that Gaddafi may have escaped to Zimbabwe under Mugabe’s protection, but these have not been confirmed.
Another prominent country in black Africa, South Africa, recently sought to block measures by the United Nations to provide the NTC with access to Libyan government funds.
According to some analysts, African dictators like Mugabe are increasingly concerned about the flurry of revolutions in the Arab world, even though they are happening thousands of miles away.
Mugabe has already condemned NATO’s missile strikes on Libya and claim the western powers simply want to consolidate their hold on Libyan oil reserves.
Earlier this year, more than three dozen Zimbabweans are arrested simply fort watching a video about the protests in Egypt.