Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Libya After Muammar Gaddafi
By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
[Dip. Law.(First Class)–LDC; Cert. Pol. Educ.& Lead. Dev.–NALI-K; LLB Student–Mak]
National Transitional Council fighters, the rebels fighting against Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi, have taken over his palatial residence in the capital Tripoli. After close to six months of intense fighting, it is now apparent that the inevitable has come: Gaddafi must either voluntarily relinquish leadership or be forced to do so. But the writing is as clearly spelt out on the wall as it was from the very beginning; that Gaddafi was fighting a losing battle. The situation would not have become this bad had it not been for his stubbornness and lack of wisdom.
Personally, I thank God for the demise of Gaddafi because in fact he was a liability to Africa in so far as he propped dictatorship. He was the patron saint of bad governance and poor democratic practice on the continent. I remember that on two or three occasions he told Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni that “revolutionaries don’t retire” and that he (Museveni) should “rule until he dies.” A self appointed ‘King of Kings’, Gaddafi cut a larger than life figure, playing the role of Big Brother on the African continent; albeit for the wrong reasons.
He ran Libya like his personal estate. He is reported to have personally owned over 60% of the country’s national resources which he went dishing around the world to boost his ego. For example, his public expenditure of national resources was so uncouth that he used Libyan taxpayers’ money to please foreign mistresses. Now that Gaddafi is out of Libya, the question is what next for this country. The National Transitional Council should move expeditiously to introduce across-the-board democratic reforms. For once the people of Libya should have the luxury of choosing their leaders through regular free and fair elections as much as their counterparts in other civilised countries.
Transparency and accountability to the people–the true owners of the country–is something that Gaddafi selfishly denied his fellow countrymen. The ongoing revolution is an expression of the need for openness and integrity in public administration. Corruption in all its forms should be shunned and condemned at the earliest moment. The National Transitional Council’s challenge is to deliver on this popular expectation.
Gender equality should be promoted. All practices, whether religious or secular, that inhibit the full development potential of women should be avoided. The new government should steer clear of Islamic tendencies that relegate women to the periphery of social, economic and political life. In all fairness to Colonel Gaddafi, his recruitment of women into military service was a step in the right direction and more should be done to consolidate this tremendous achievement.
The biggest challenge however, is to ensure peace and security for the people of Libya and their property. As the country emerges from the civil war, there is a high potential for anarchy and instability, considering that there are several guns in circulation, posing a high security threat. Soon after the war is over, there will be need to swiftly disarm everybody except for the lawfully constituted national security organs and operatives. To avoid a catastrophe and a boomerang, there is need to ideologically realign Libyan fighters and the population generally, to understand that their country’s problem is much bigger than Gaddafi as a person. Rather, it has much more to do with respect for and observance of human rights and resource allocation instead.