Call for clarity on Zuma's 'phone call' with Gadaffi
Libyan state television has reported that President Jacob Zuma has come out in support of Muammar Gaddafi’s theories concerning the conflict in the Arab state, but the Presidency has yet to provide clarity on the matter.
At 5.55pm GMT on Monday, BBC News reported in its live news feed that Libyan TV had highlighted what it said were remarks made by Zuma in a phone conversation with Gaddafi. BBC Monitoring, a division of BBC that monitors media sources around the world, quoted Zuma as calling on the African Union to “take decisive action and uncover the conspiracy that Libya is facing”.
It also quoted him as “stressing the need not to depend on tendentious reports circulated by foreign media outlets” and to listen to the Libyan media in this regard.
Accused of spreading lies
Gaddafi and other senior Libyan officials have repeatedly accused the foreign media of spreading lies about the violence in the country.
They maintain that al-Qaeda is behind the unrest in the country. News reports by Libyan state television have also been widely supportive of Gaddafi’s views.
In a statement released on Wednesday, DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip said: “Libyan TV has been known to make a variety of statements for the purposes of propaganda, so it is important that the Presidency issues a statement immediately, clarifying whether a phone conversation did indeed take place, and whether the president made the comments that have been attributed to him.”
Trollip said Zuma’s close relationship with Gaddafi is a cause of concern. “We must recall that just 12 days after being arrested on charges of rape in 2006, Jacob Zuma undertook a five-day trip to Tripoli where he met with Colonel Gaddafi. Numerous media reports have suggested that he provided President Zuma with financial support to contest the allegations against him,” he said.
Zuma is currently in Ethiopia for a high-level AU meeting concerning the leadership struggle in Cote d’Ivoire.
The Mail & Guardian could not reach his communications adviser, Zizi Kodwa, for comment.