Analysts say the action taken by the Zimbabwe government on the issue of the Libyan ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr. Taher Elmagrahi was most appropriate as it is in line with the stance of the African Union (AU) which has not recognised the rebel-led National Transitional Council.
Speaking at a news conference in the capital this Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister, Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi gave the former Libyan ambassador to Zimbabwe 72 hours to leave the country saying by renouncing the authority which gave him letters of credence as ambassador to Zimbabwe and pulling down the portrait of Gaddafi who appointed him and pledging allegiance to a different authority, the former envoy had contravened international law and protocols governing diplomatic relations.
While the struggle between Gaddaffi loyalists and NATO-assisted rebels rages on, the African Union has said it will not recognise the rebel-led National Transition Council which is claiming to be the government in Libya.
Zimbabwe which is currently in the 15-nation African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) has remained principled on the common stance taken by the continental body and refused to recognise the council.
At its last summit, the AU resolved that the two warring sides sit down and come to a common understanding where they will form an inclusive government.
A local academic, Wellington Gadzikwa said the Zimbabwe government’s move to expel Mr. Elmagrahi was justified as every diplomat is sent to a given country by the head of state of his country and it is therefore unprocedural to defect in a foreign country and retain diplomatic status.
Another commentator, former Zimbabwean ambassador to China, Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa said it would have been careless of the Zimbabwean government to retain Mr. Elmagrahi’s diplomatic status after his defection as the move is not in tandem with diplomatic protocol.
Cde Mutsvangwa said his ejection from Zimbabwe is also in keeping with the United Nations and African Union stance of not recognising the authority in Libya as a legitimate government.
Meanwhile, Mr. Elmagrahi has confirmed that he leaves Harare this Thursday, a date which coincides with Libya’s national day of independence when Colonel Muammar Gaddaffi conquered the monarchy, King Idriss.