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Zimbabwean Governing Partners React Differently to Death of Gadhafi

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Reflecting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s vehement objections to NATO's role in bringing down Gadhafi, ZANU-PF Parliamentary Whip Joram Gumbo said the death of the former Libyan leader was saddening

Libyans celebrated and many others around the world voiced satisfaction at the news that deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed Thursday in a final assault on his hometown of Sirte, but Zimbabwe's ruling parties diverged on the question.

Video footage broadcast on global television networks showed Gadhafi’s bloodied body lying on the ground surrounded by National Transitional Council fighters who said they killed him as they consolidated their control of Sirte, his coastal hometown.

Libyan Interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril told a news conference that indeed Ghaddafi was dead, but dismised some press reports saying he was killed in a NATO air strike.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Gadhafi's death marked a “historic transition for Libya."

Western leaders also hailed the death of the former strongman. U.S. President Barck Obama said Gadhafi's killing marked the end of his reign.

“Today we can definitively say that the Gadhafi regime has come to an end,” Obama said in televised statement, adding that “we achieved our objectives.”

The African Union, which officially endorsed Libya's revolutionary government last month after holding out for months, issued a statement saying it had lifted Libya's suspension.

The AU said it was setting up a liaison office in Tripoli to be headed by a special representatives, Reuters news agency reported.

Reflecting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s vehement objections to the Western role in bringing down the Gadhafi government, ZANU-PF Parliamentary Whip Joram Gumbo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the death of Gadhafi was tragic, and that the African Union should have taken stronger action.

But spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube said Gadhafi brought about his own death.

Dube's sentiments were echoed by lawmaker Douglas Mwonzora, spokesman for the MDC wing of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who said Gadhafi’s death should send a message of democracy to other African dictators.

The death of Gadhafi has sparked a broad range of reactions in Harare, the rest of Africa and the world. Zimbabweans took to social networking sites, arguing about how he was killed, the role of NATO forces, and other issues.

But most agreed Gaddafi was the architect of his own downfall, having ruled with an iron hand for four decades and refusing to let go when faced with a democratic rising.

For perspective on how Gadhafi’s death is likely to affect Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, far from the North African crescent of revolt, VOA Studio 7 turned to Global Post Africa Editor Andrew Meldrum and ZANU-PF parliamentarian Cairo Mhandu.

Meldum told reporter Sandra Nyaira that Gadaffi’s fall will undermine Mr. Mugabe who has lost an important - if at times somewhat distant - ally.

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