AU better without 'intimidating' Gaddafi - Zuma
Pretoria - The African Union will work better without Libya's ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi, who repeatedly tried to convince members to form a pan-African government, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.
"The African Union will have more time to implement its programmes now, because Colonel Gaddafi 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 Gaddafi and with his ousting.
The colonel had been an ally of Zuma's ANC when the party was still a liberation movement.
But South Africa voted for a UN resolution that imposed a no-fly zone over Libya when Gaddafi started bombing rebels who revolted against his 42-year-rule.
Later Zuma accused Nato of over-stepping its mandate with airstrikes aimed at protecting 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.