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Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (File Picture: ANA)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has accused continental heavyweights South Africa and Nigeria of being complicit in the toppling and assassination of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

AD VI Dunas Grey Rider Black Addressing 47 health ministers at a World Health Organisation conference in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Mugabe said South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon voted in favour of a United Nations Security Council resolution in 2011 which imposed a no-fly zone in Libya, leading to the eventual ouster and killing of Gaddafi.

Mugabe, who was the guest of honour at the meeting, criticised the Killing of “innocent” people by “greedy and envious” world leaders.

“Yes he (Gaddafi) may have been a dictator but he was a friend of his people, a lover of his people, one who desired that his people should develop and not live in poverty and had managed to draw water from underneath our world to create a huge massive dam for the benefit of his country which is semi-desert,” said Mugabe.

VI AD Black Grey Dunas Rider “He became friends with us. He wanted to democratise the African Union to be better politically  and economically united.”

The UN Security Council resolution had initially failed to garner the required level of support, but the three African states were later persuaded to vote in support of a no-fly zone which would lead to outright military invasion by Western forces.

Mugabe said while Africa managed to convince Russia and China that the invasion of Libya would cost lives, the three nations, namely South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon went on to vote in support of military aggression.

“Yes, the matter came to the UN Security Council. The whites said he (Gaddafi) must be attacked and China and Russia said no. The matter could not have proceeded any further because of the necessary two-thirds majority, with China and Russia abstaining. 

“Then it came to us the poor Africans. The poor Africans, sometimes not thinking well about the consequences of those attacks. So, what did we have? Quite disgraceful and shameful thing,” added Mugabe.

He said when the African bloc asked China and Russia to exercise their veto, the two giants refused, saying they could only abstain from voting, in view of the three African countries which had supported military aggression against Libya.

Gaddaffi, one of the most flamboyant and controversial leaders of the last century, was killed aged 69 on October 20, 2011, more than 42 years after rising to power through a bloodless coup. He was toppled by Western-backed militants. 

The insecurity that followed his death has plunged Libya into vicious armed conflict, opening a floodgate of illegal African immigrants in rubber dinghies who are flocking to Europe in unprecedented numbers.

Meanwhile, South African health minister Aaron Motsoaledi has again criticised African leaders who seek personal medical treatment abroad while cutting back on spending on health in their own countries, echoing face to face what he said in May this year.

Delivering a speech at the conference, Motsoaledi said leaders must show commitment to the improvement of health facilities in their countries.

In remarks which appeared aimed at host President Robert Mugabe who frequently seeks treatment in Singapore as well as Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari and former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos who regularly seek medical services in Europe, Asia or North America, the South African health minister urged African leaders to walk the talk on the provision of better health care for all.

“I have said this before and I will say it again: We are the only continent that has its leaders seeking medical services outside the continent, outside our territory. We must be ashamed of that. This is called health tourism. We must promote our own,” he said.

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