African Union will 'work better' without Kadhafi: Zuma

13th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

The African Union will work better without Libya's ousted leader Moamer Kadhafi, who repeatedly tried to convince members to form a pan-African government, South African President Jacob Zuma said Thursday.

"The African Union will have more time to implement its programmes now, because Colonel Kadhafi spent a lot of time discussing a unity government for Africa that was impossible to implement now," Zuma said in a foreign policy speech.

"He was in a hurry for this, possibly because he wanted to head it up himself," Zuma added.

"I had arguments with him about it several times. The African Union will work better now without his delaying it and with some members no longer feeling as intimidated by him as they did."

The self-styled "king of kings" had campaigned aggressively for the continent's then 53 members to form a United States of Africa, and even built a sprawling complex in his hometown of Sirte where hoped the new government would be based.

Zuma's government had a complex relationship with Kadhafi and with his ouster.

The colonel had been an ally of Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) when the party was still a liberation movement fighting against white minority rule in apartheid South Africa.

But South Africa voted for a UN resolution that imposed a no-fly zone over Libya when Kadhafi started bombing rebels who revolted against his 42-year-rule.

Later Zuma accused NATO of over-stepping its mandate with airstrikes aimed at protectiving civilians and of blocking AU peace initiatives.

"As the AU, we felt our work was being undermined, especially in the case of Libya," he said in the speech. "The AU was not given space to implement its roadmap and to ensure an African solution to the Libyan question."

"The people of Libya must determine their own future, in a Libyan-led political solution, supported by the African Union and the United Nations."

On September 20, South Africa finally recognised the National Transitional Council (NTC) as Libya's legitimate representative and is urging it to form an all-inclusive government.

© 2011 AFP

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