About 30 Libyan nationals resident in Zimbabwe together with embassy officials pulled down the flag belonging to the ousted regime of Muammar Gaddafi and replaced it with that of the Nato backed NTC.
The jubilant Libyans burnt the Gaddafi regime’s flag and portraits of the former strongman while chanting pro –democracy slogans.
The ambassador, Taher Elmagrahi, declared he had defected to the NTC saying moved with the wishes of Libyans.
“If the people want this then I follow,” he told journalists on Wednesday. But the move angered President Robert Mugabe’s government which immediately announced the ambassador’s status was in Zimbabwe was now illegal.
Harare said it did not recognise the NTC, which now controls Tripoli after the spectacular fall of Gaddafi’s regime.
Gaddafi is now on the run and his whereabouts are so far unknown.
There were active moves to deport the ambassador on Friday but Elmagrahi reportedly pleaded with authorities.
“He pleaded that he wanted to explain his position so everything was put on hold,” said one insider. “Otherwise he was on his way to the plane. The authorities in Zimbabwe are very angry with him.”
President Mugabe is a personal friend of the fallen dictator. Gaddafi and his family have extensive investments in Zimbabwe.
Foreign Affairs secretary Joey Bimha told the media this week the Zimbabwe government still recognised Gaddafi as the legitimate leader of Libya.
“We take the African Union position which recognises the government of Libya under Muammar Gaddafi,” Bimha said.