Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is the GNC in Libya being bribed ? who are we trying to placate?

Last time a Prime Minister ( Dr Mustafa Abushagur ) was proposed in Libya and he in turn submitted his choice for government, he was summarily dismissed with a vote of no confidence from our General National Congress ( GNC). The GNC was elected by the Libyan people in July this year. The GNC is composed of 200 people who are the legislative branch of Libya's government and who will vote/agree on who the members of the executive branch will be such as prime minister and minister to run the government. This was an embarrassing fiasco and he walked right into it without consulting  thinking he could get away with actually proposing members from the party that won the majority seats? I really don't know on whose toes he must have stepped among the  various factions, parties, foreign agendas and independents  who were unable to agree on how to distribute the Libyan cake.

Another PM , Mr Ali Zidan was proposed and accepted and had two weeks to propose a government. This guy must have learnt a lesson because  interestingly a few days before the deadline a decree was leaked whereby the president of the GNC signed a resolution that grants each of the 200 members a loan of 45,000 Libyan Dinars to allegedly purchase a car! That's a total of 9 million Dinars can you imagine?  A deluge of accusations were flying all over social media mostly by citizens disappointed at the materialism and  exposed self interest of the GNC members some even jokingly saying that finally Libya's riches have been divided among  200 poor families in Libya in an indirect reference to Gaddaffi's style of giving more benefits to his inner circle while all the time promising to support the Libyan families in need.

While Libyans are understandably disillusioned with all the seemingly irresponsible behaviour of our elected officials and civil servants and the dashing of their hopes, I'm not sure if anyone has stopped to think that perhaps this was a fantastically smart move from all those involved ! why ? because "Congressmen seemed broadly satisfied with the names, [and]  this time members have agreed to vote on the government as a whole. It is believed that this time the government will pass." [source]

Why all the confidence and why now  ?  Could it be that 9 million Libyan Dinars ( approximately 7 million US$) have just bought the approval of the whole GNC. Interesting idea to contemplate no? It's quite possible  bribery is nothing new in politics and it helps smooth out problems. On the other hand the proposed list has 32 ministers. 32  for 6 million people!  I am thinking it's excessive but if that will make Libyans happy and calm the specter of regionalism maybe it's the right price to pay or is that to placate the parties, militias and various agendas ?  Is this the compromise ? obviously we are not able to form coalition governments because of our overall weak parties because we are unable to agree on anything hence these 32 ministries and the 200 GNC members . Looks like some interesting times ahead... and we still don't have the 60 who will be drafting the constitution. We are looking at epic decision making paralysis!

Why is everyone treating Libya as a big cow to be milked and then to jump the boat once it capsizes?There is plenty of cake for everyone let's just have a bit of trust and patriotism.


joe said...

This sets a bad precedent. Now the GNC will expect "something" whenever another important vote comes up. But, hey... it's the Arab way.

programmer craig said...

Interesting post. Other than the no-confidence vote, I hadn't read any of that.

I know this isn't your favorite News Source, but I'm having some major problems trusting the objectivity of the western media when it comes to Obama and Libya:


Libya's new prime minister on Tuesday put forward a Cabinet for parliamentary approval, but protesters stormed the building during the session, forcing a postponement of the vote on the new government. Around 100 protesters, a mix of bearded civilians and self-proclaimed rebels, broke into the hall during a session in which Ali Zidan, the new prime minister, was telling the National General Congress that he tried to strike a geographic balance among different regions and cities.

Would you say that is accurate? If so, how does that play into this dynamic you are describing?

"Let Libyans know the atmosphere in which we operate," al-Megarif said. "The least we can say about what happened is that it is pressure on the Congress members." He said criticism of the Cabinet was welcomed but appealed for a peaceful expression of opinion. "The Congress represents legitimacy in this country," he said.

Sounds pretty grim.

Highlander said...

Joe corruption, bribery is not confined to a particular people, not sure that is constructive as a criticism as you make it sound as if there is a genetical marker for that.
On this corruption index there is a score and while some countries fare better than other it is NOT the "Arab way". For in this context it does set a bad precedent...

Highlander said...

here is the link I was referring to

Highlander said...

Thanks for the link Craig, yes the session was stormed by protesters and a few have been identified on Facebook as of the 'salafist' view I cannot confirm how many have walked in and obviously the compromise could not be made with everyone and so these people are dissatisfied, I'm not sure if they represent a particular city or and ideology... we have to me many people who only want to secure their own interest and the hell with the rest of the country

joe said...

I would not put much stock in Fox News reporting since they are biased right wing Christian Zionists.

Highlander said...

PS Joe I wanted to add that in Libya we are not just Arabs, we are Touareg, Berber, Tabou etc.... so not sure what way it can be :P

Highlander said...

as for the news well as someone who actually is in Libya I can confirm that they did occupy the GNC premises and GNC are negotiating with them today as well.

programmer craig said...

Yeah, Joe, I would have posted a link to the same story from the BBC or CNN. Except, they didn't have any article about that on their websites. Imagine that? :o

The silence about Libya is deafening.

Mitchell said...

Giving a car loan to the representatives didn't sound bad to me. Politicians need to be able to move around in the country they represent. In most countries, the state would just pay from the treasury for the MPs' cars; it wouldn't even be a loan, just a "gift" from the taxpayer.

Maya M said...

The stereotype about Arab states and corruption does exist. When, at the beginning of the HIV outbreak investigation in Benghazi, people of different nationalities were detained and then exclusively Bulgarians were charged, some people here commented that other countries had rescued their nationals by bribes, and blamed Bulgarian diplomats for failing to do the same.
(Bulgaria itself is infamous for its corruption.)
However, this stereotype is eclipsed by another one - of bearded men and veiled women who cannot be bribed because of their firm belief (without apparent reason) that they know the thoughts of God. The latter stereotype is so scary for Westerners that the story of greedy MPs who exchange their votes for cars is almost cute in comparison.
Forgive my brutality, but what can you expect from a biased right wing Christian Zionist? Eh well, not exactly Christian and sometimes left-wing when it suits me, but you understand what I mean :}.
In many countries, including mine, MPs use cars for free. However, these cars are Parliament property and after each election season remain at disposal of the new representatives. I do not find it reasonable to subsidize MPs in any way to buy their own cars.