The jubilant nationals hoisted a flag of the transitional authority at the Libyan Embassy in Harare to mark the dawn of a new era in the north African country, which has been under Ghaddafi’s iron-fist rule for close to 42 years.
Libyan first counsellor in Harare Mohammed Elrabt described Ghaddafi as history after a ceremony to hoist a new flag for the country now led by the National Transitional Authority.
“We are celebrating the fall of Gaddafi. This celebration is similar to what has happened in South Africa and Nigeria where the Libyan people are rejoicing the victory of a new dawn in our country,” said Elrabt.
“We join the people in Libya and our capital Tripoli today and we want them to know that we are together in the victory we are saying Gaddafi must go.’’
The crowd, which brought traffic along Harare Street to a halt was made up of face painted men and women who were joined by jubilant Zimbabweans who also had a gripe with the Libyan dictator because of his links to President Robert Mugabe, whom locals accuse of human rights abuses.
One elderly woman carried a placard written “Ghaddafi expired.” “Down with the dictator, down with Gaddafi, ‘’ shouting on top of their voices, echoed the Libyans.
Gaddafi is a long-time ally of President Robert Mugabe, and is under siege in his home country with rebels running over the capital Tripoli.
Gaddafi visited Zimbabwe in 2002 and was given some farms in Chinhoyi to start some farming projects which includes beef and dairy farming and wheat and maize farming in exchange of fuel.
Last year, Gaddafi’s son Saif visited the country without a passport to wrap up commercial deals in tourism and other sectors on behalf of his country, and even met Mugabe at the State House.
He was looking for opportunities to start business ventures in petroleum, mining, farming and tourism and an ethanol project in Chisumbanje.
The Libyan embassy officials however said the deals entered into with Ghaddafi should be cancelled because he was doing so for himself and his family. The Ghaddafi family is said to have vast business interests around the world and had wealth running into billions of dollars.
Rebels in Libya who are backed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces stormed Gaddafi’s compound early this week. Gaddafi was not captured but rebels said it is a matter of time before he flees or is captured.
“We are now a free nation. From this day, August 24 we are following the Libyan majority, the Libyan people through our National Transitional Council,” said Elrabt to the applause of his fellow countrymen and ordinary Zimbabweans who had gathered outside the embassy.
The Zimbabwean government which used to have strong ties with Gaddafi dispelled rumours that Gaddafi might be coming to Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is host to former Ethiopian dictactor, Mengistu Haile Mariam who fled his country in 1991 to the country. Harare has been refusing to hand over him to Addis Ababa to answer charges of mass murder and human rights abuses.