News / Africa

Analysts Cite Gadhafi’s Legacy of Corruption and Extravagance

Many say destruction of independent institutions will make it harder to create democratic and modern state

Ashenafi AbedjeWilliam Eagle

It’s time for Libyans to build a new, united Libya, now that Gadhafi is dead. The prime minister of Libya's National Transitional Council, Mahmoud Jibril, made the comment Thursday in Tripoli, at a news conference confirming Gadhafi's death.

The former Libyan leader came to power in a military coup in 1969. His supporters say he was a source of social and economic progress. With the assistance of oil revenues, Libya’s small population has enjoyed one of the continent’s highest rates of economic growth. Loyalists say with that money, he built roads, schools and hospitals, at least in his early years in power.

Libyan revolutionary fighters react during an attack on the city of Sirte, Libya, October 6, 2011 (AP photo)
Libyan revolutionary fighters react during an attack on the city of Sirte, Libya, October 6, 2011 (AP photo)

Others, like Wayne White, an adjunct scholar with the Washington-based Middle East Institute, cite his extravagance and say he will be remembered for waste, misgovernment and corruption.

“Gadhafi hindered Libyan development very seriously,” said White. “That is why Libya in many ways is one of the least capable of the Arab oil states that can take care of itself without foreign assistance.

“He also wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on silly projects like the Great Man-made River Project [a vast network of pipes and aqueducts] which never produced much in the way of farming.”

White said Gadhafi’s authoritarian governance will make it harder to establish democratic rule in Libya

“He ruled with a divide and rule system pitting tribe against tribe, creating regional rivalries, and he also stifled civil society to such a degree that it will be a hard job for the NTC, its successors and even rebels who have spent too much time fighting to settle down into a period of not being rebels and form a government.”

One way to bring about unity in the years ahead is the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission. More than 50 such commissions have been created around the world in recent years, including one a few years ago in neighboring Morocco, said Professor William Schabas, a professor of international law at the University of Middlesex in London.

“The success of any institution like this,” he said, “relies on the credibility of the institution, and that means finding people who are deemed to be credible and who are going to be acceptable to the public. In a country like Libya, that has many different political constituencies, it’s going to be a challenge because even people who do not like the Gadhafi regime are not all going to agree on who is going to do this type of job.”

Another potential challenge in creating a truth and reconciliation mission is determining its mandate.

“There are issues of how far back do you go,” said Schabas. “What’s the time frame, the geographic scope, what are the violations, the issues you’re looking at? All of these things define a truth commission and they are what make them controversial when they are being established.

Picture of Libya's ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi is seen in the ashes in downtown Sirte, Libya, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)
Picture of Libya's ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi is seen in the ashes in downtown Sirte, Libya, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

“There will be about 25 different visions of what is important to get at,” he continued, “in terms of the search for truth within Libyan society, and then there will be some people who want to know the truth about some aspects of the past, but not others. That’s another difficulty.”

Schabus said truth commissions often reflect tensions between victors and survivors, and among factions of the new forces.

“A truth commission can alter the landscape,” he said, “the relationship between those various bodies, and I think that that means in Libya it is full of potential but depending on who you are, it’s also full of danger.”

One of the earliest truth commissions was established in Uganda in 1974. Its mandate was to look into civilian disappearances attributed to the military over the previous three years. The government of then-President Idi Amin rejected its findings of government abuse of power, including by the security agencies and the military.

“When it released its report,” said Schabus, “the commissioners were so honest and had much integrity that they had to leave the country and get refugee status outside. I don’t think that will be (the case) with Libya.”

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs