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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid