Mar 13


Muammar asked Zulu monarch to help him become ‘king of Africa’


Three weeks before the bloody uprising began in Libya, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi asked Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini to sign documents in support of his campaign to be the king of Africa.


THE COLONEL AND THE KING: Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and King Goodwill Zwelithini Pictures: GETTY and JACKIE CLAUSEN
‘He politely declined to participate in any such campaign’

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Last month, King Goodwill went on a “private trip” to Libya, where he spent a few days with Gaddafi.

Details of the trip, which have been closely guarded by the royal household, emerged in an interview with KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize this week.

Responding to questions by the Sunday Times, Mkhize said: “Although the meetings between His Majesty and Gaddafi were private and confidential, we wish to point out that Gaddafi had informed His Majesty of his desire to become ‘the King of Kings in Africa’.”

Mkhize said Gaddafi wanted King Goodwill, whom he had known since 2002, to endorse his bid.

“These documents were purported to have been already signed by many other kings and traditional leaders across Africa.”

He said that King Goodwill had opposed the campaign on two separate occasions.

“He politely declined … to participate in any campaign of such a nature.

“He disagreed with the notion of a king from another country being given absolute rights to be the king of other kings who live in other countries.”

Mkhize added that King Goodwill believed that a king was born a king and could not “be voted in like politicians”.

The Zulu monarch first met Gaddafi at the African Union launchin 2002, where the Libyan leader agitated for the creation of a United States of Africa.

“Since the summit in Durban, Gaddafi has invited His Majesty to Libya about four times … but he was only able to honour two invitations,” said Mkhize.

This week in the KZN legislature, where the royal household budget was being discussed, political parties demanded to know the reasons for the “private visit” just days before the Libyan uprising began on February 16.

The premier’s acting director-general, Roger Govender, declined to give details, saying: “The trip was private and not paid for by the state.”

On Thursday, King Goodwill’s office refused to divulge whether he and his entourage stayed in one of Gaddafi’s palaces or in one of several luxury hotels in Tripoli.

Al Jazeera this week revealed that demonstrators had gained control of and ransacked many of Gaddafi’s properties.

Last week it was revealed that Gaddafi’s government held a number of investments in South Africa, including in the upmarket Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg.


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