THE United States has accused President Robert Mugabe of "sinking to a new low" by comparing the recent death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens to that of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
President Mugabe opened his address to the UN General Assembly in New York Wednesday by comparing the death of Stevens to that of Gaddafi, killed by Libyan rebels a year ago.
"The death of Gaddafi must be seen in the same tragic manner as the death of Chris Stevens. We condemn both of them," Mugabe told world leaders.
"As we in spirit join the United States in condemning that death, shall the United States also join us in condemning that barbaric death of the Head of State of Libya - Gaddafi? It was a loss, a great loss to Africa, a tragic loss to Africa," he said.
Responding, spokeswoman Erin Pelton for the U.S. mission to the United Nations described Mugabe’s comments as a “ridiculous and abhorrent comparison that we reject in the strongest terms.”
"(Mugabe) cynically chose to compare the best of us with the worst of us, a ridiculous and abhorrent comparison that we reject in the strongest terms," said Pelton.
"Ambassador Stevens represented the finest of America and spent his life connecting people, not dividing them. Even for President Mugabe, this is a new low."
Stevens and three other Americans were killed on September 11 in what the United States has called a "terrorist" attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, an eastern Libyan city that was the hub for the Libyan rebel movement that toppled Gaddafi last year with the assistance of NATO air strikes.
In his speech, President Mugabe also joined fellow African leaders in calling for the reform of the United Nations Security Council which he accused of wielding "an insatiable appetite for war".
Mugabe said: "Zimbabwe stands by Africa's demand for two permanent seats complete with a veto, if the veto is to be retained, plus two additional non-permanent seats, as clearly articulated in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration.
"For how long will the international community continue to ignore the aspirations of a whole continent of 54 countries? We shall not be bought-off with empty promises, nor shall we accept some cosmetic tinkering of the Security Council disguised as reform.
"It is indeed a travesty of justice that the African continent, which accounts for almost a third of the membership represented in this august Assembly, has no permanent representation in the Security Council. Is this good governance? Is this democracy? And, is this justice?"
President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and Jacob Zuma of South Africa also called for immediate reforms at the UN so that Africa can have a say on the international arena.
U.S. spokeswoman Pelton said Mugabe should have taken advantage of his allocated time at the General Assembly to inform the world how he intends to bring Zimbabwe back from the brink after years of what she said was Zanu PF misrule.
Mugabe revealed Wednesday his desire to call for national elections at the end of March 2013.