Libya three years after Gaddafi


AT the time of his death, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi had a dream in which his country and Africa was destined for greatness.
Just like President Robert Mugabe, he wished for Africa’s prosperity through his United States of Africa proposal.
Like Robert Mugabe he was destined to be among Africa’s greatest statesmen.
But the moment Western powers, under the auspices of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) ganged up with rebels his dream was shattered.
It has been three years since his demise but things have changed drastically for Libya.
Even those Libyans who plotted his downfall must be ruing the day they fell for Western ‘charm’.
There are several questions whose answers are being provided by the chaotic situation that Libya finds itself in today that need to be looked at especially for those who clamour for the so-called regime change agenda in Zimbabwe.
Why is it a crime for African leaders to adopt an anti-imperialism stance?
Why is the support of Pan-Africanism a ticket for regime change?
Why are those African leaders who pursue resource nationalism persecuted by the West?
In light of these compelling questions where is Libya today?
Why was Gaddafi persecuted?
In 2006 Gaddafi made a statement that rattled the West and laid the ground for his subsequent execution.
“Oil companies are controlled by foreigners who have made millions from them. Now, Libyans must take their place to profit from this money,” said Gaddafi.
The Wall Street Journal of May 5 2012 offered evidence, additional to that already accumulated, that NATO military intervention in Libya was rooted in objections to the Gaddafi government’s economic policies.
With crude oil as the country’s primary export, Gaddafi sought to improve Libya’s oil sector.
In October 1969, he proclaimed the current trade terms unfair, benefiting foreign corporations more than the Libyan state, and by threatening to reduce production, in December Jalloud successfully increased the price of Libyan oil.
In 1970, other OPEC states followed suit, leading to a global increase in the price of crude oil.
 The Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) followed with the Tripoli Agreement, in which they secured income tax, back-payments and better pricing from the oil corporations; these measures brought Libya an estimated US$1 billion in additional revenues in its first year.
Increasing state control over the oil sector, the RCC began a programme of nationalisation, starting with the expropriation of British Petroleum’s share of the British Petroleum-N.B. Hunt Sahir Field in December 1971.
In September 1973, it was announced that all foreign oil producers active in Libya were to be nationalised. For Gaddafi, this was an important step towards socialism.
 It proved an economic success; while gross domestic product had been US$3,8 billion in 1969, it had risen to US$13,7 billion in 1974, and US$24,5 billion in 1979. 
In turn, the Libyans’ standard of life greatly improved over the first decade of Gaddafi’s administration, and by 1979 the average per-capita income was at US$8 170, up from US$40 in 1951; this was above the average of many industrialised countries like Italy and the United Kingdom.
From 1969 to 1973, the RCC introduced social welfare programmes funded with oil money, which led to house-building projects and improved healthcare and education.
 In doing so, they greatly expanded the public sector, providing employment for thousands.
Compulsory education was expanded from 6 to 9 years while adult literacy programmes and free university education were implemented; Beida University was founded, while Tripoli University and Benghazi University were expanded.
 These early social programmes proved popular within Libyans.
With all this happening the West made up their mind on Gaddafi.
His policies and assertive stance on matters of national sovereignty meant he had to be dislodged.
And they bid their time until three years ago.
But now Libya is in tatters.
The major oil-producing state is not just in anarchy but reverting back into poverty.
It has had two governments and parliaments since former insurgents from the western city of Misrata took over the capital Tripoli in August, naming their own prime minister and forcing the formally constituted government to move 1 000 km to the east.
The new Tripoli rulers have appropriated several ministries and state television, cementing their grip even though the United Nations and Western powers recognise only Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni’s administration, now based in Bayda.
To regain some semblance of authority, Thinni’s government will set up a new state agency called LANA, the same name as before, in Bayda, its head Mahmoud al-Ferjani told Reuters by telephone from Bayda.
Last month, the United Nations started a dialogue between the elected House of Representatives, which also works out of the east, and Misrata members who have boycotted its sessions.
The talks have not taken in armed factions from Misrata or a rival militia allied to the western city of Zintan who battled Misrata forces in Tripoli for more than a month over the summer.
Currently there are widespread fears that Libya will descend into a civil war as citizens battle to come to terms with the suffering they are going through, post Gaddafi.
As Libya continues to slide into anarchy, the lesson for Zimbabweans who are partnering with the West is that ‘democracy’, Western type of ‘democracy’ comes at a price.
That price is suffering and neo-colonialism.
Let those with ears listen.


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