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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.