home Andile's Column, Featured, News, Politics President Zuma never sold Gaddafi out

President Zuma never sold Gaddafi out

Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi hugging South African President Jacob Zuma following talks in Tripoli on 30 May 2011. Image: REUTERS via Libyan TV

By Andile Mngxitama

When the leadership of Black First Land First (BLF) visited President Zuma in April 2019, we had two sessions with him – one with and another (closed) without the media.

We had previously caucused what questions we would put to President Zuma. One of the most difficult questions was, why did South Africa (SA) vote in favour of a ‘no-fly zone over Libya’ resolution at the United Nations Security Council in March 2011, as this had given the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) the pretext to take Muammar Gaddafi out? We pressed him hard on this question.

President Zuma spent at least 45 minutes explaining this issue. Gaddafi was not just an African leader he was a friend and comrade of Zuma. Independently I was informed of how Gaddafi would let African leaders sleep in nice places that he had organized while inviting Zuma over for special talks during which he joked about how the neocolonialists were fast asleep.

Two important points emerged from Zuma’s explanation, namely:

1. It seems that Zuma was convinced that they were going to take Gaddafi out. He voted (via the South African delegation at the council) for the no-fly zone with the hope that it would buy Gaddafi time; and give the African Union (AU) the opportunity to engage him and the West. It’s clear that Zuma wanted Gaddafi to try to de-escalate so that he could use that effort to try and persuade these people not to bomb Gadaffi.

In the initial phase it looked like Gaddafi was not in agreement with Zuma. Gaddafi didn’t budge. To this end Zuma’s hope to use cessation of sorts didn’t work. Here we can argue if Zuma’s tactic was correct or not. I think he was correct. The fire power of NATO should have been avoided. But we also know that Gaddafi was a marked man. I don’t know if anything could have saved him.

So NATO unleashed unilaterally. The AU didn’t vote for the attack on Libya. NATO had exceeded the UN mandate as the resolution for a no fly zone over Libya was not understood to execute military intervention. This is what touched me the most.

2. Zuma had during the height of the air strikes on Libya actually endangered his own life by flying at a risky altitude to get to Gaddafi. The plane he flew in could have been taken out. He went there to take Gaddafi away from the falling bombs and bring him to SA. In that last meeting, Comrade to Comrade, Gaddafi told Zuma that he was not going to leave Libya; he was prepared to die on his nation’s soil.

You can imagine the last hugs of comrades in arms. Zuma knew imperialism will not let this man live. Risky fly out. Bombs….

No Zuma didn’t sell Gaddafi out …

Watch: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1648527508639424&id=100004465725031

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *