Category Archives: Media & Articles

Health Services in Libya Near Catastrophe

http://www.tripolipost.com/articledetail.asp?c=12&i=10606

By Dr. Nagi Barakat,

On Aug. 20, 2013, Libyans celebrated the second anniversary of the liberation of Libya’s capital Tripoli.  That day in 2011 had been a difficult one and after breaking fast in Tripoli everyone had a mission. Tripoli residents came out and with the help of rebels from Zintan, Zawia, Ghariyan, eastern Libya, and then later from Misurata Tripoli was liberated.

I was in charge of the Ministry of Health at the time so I contacted a number of colleagues in Tripoli in order to deal with the crisis.  My first contact was with Dr. Khaled Elmaghbub from the childrens hospital in Tripoli whom I asked to establish a medical crisis committee and to report back to me on the hospitals in Tripoli whenever possible.

After the liberation of Tripoli I visited field hospitals in Tajora and Souk Al Jumma and saw the work being done by Tripoli residents, both by doctors and ordinary people. Those days of the revolution were tough yet beautiful, everyone fought against a common enemy, nobody worried about petty affairs – we all knew who the enemy was and we were united in the fight to overthrow Gaddhafi
Two years on, and after a successful revolution, that momentum has been thwarted by the militias and not a lot of real progress has been made.  Everyone is pointing the finger of blame at someone else; some are accusing Qatar, others the Islamic Brotherhood or the secularists, liberals, federalists etc… but we forget that the problem is in us.

We had established two MoH crisis committees during the revolution one for Benghazi and one for Tripoli, and these were operational before the announcement of liberation on 23/10/2011. A lot of work and organization went into them and we served tirelessly for the supply of medicines, blood transfusion, deportation of the wounded, treating patients, vaccinations and helping to release any bottlenecks and obstacles in many cities.

The committee members reached to the far south and contributed significantly in preventing a health disaster in Libya during the revolution. After the liberation of Libya, everything was handed over to the newly appointed minister Dr. Fatma al-Hamroush. The first thing al-Hamroush did was to dismantle both committees and start from scratch all over again!

New names and faces arrived  who never been on the stage before the liberation of all Libya, but with little or no experience to build on,  they set the country’s health service onto the path of chaos where nothing was achieved and it was doomed to become the worst period ever in the management of health services in Libya.

Some went further and said it was even worse than in Gaddafi’s era in spite of all the money that was available, and the goodwill of the general public.

The next Minister of Health to arrive is the current minister Dr. Noureddine Dougman who, without any further consideration, continued on the same path as his predecessor. I was against his appointment from the start as I felt his leadership and decision-making skills were very weak as I had experienced working with him while he was a member of the crisis medical committee in Benghazi.

Many colleagues asked me to support him and they assured me he would be happy to meet with me and listen to my suggestions.  I did meet with him in January 2013 and we shared many ideas.  I advised him to have a list of priorities and the high-ups on the list would be medicines, equipment, emergency medical care and inviting visiting doctors to help with difficult cases.

I put forward proposals for cardiac surgery, plastic surgery and neurosurgery and six neuro-rehab centres in Libya.  Treatment in Libya is far more cost-effective as each 10 patients treated in Libya will save the Ministry of Health £500,000.

I also suggested a few names that would be helpful for him in his tasks at the ministry, but he ignored this. Dr Dougman and the third deputy to PM in Libya (Elgadi) asked me and Dr Nuerrdin Erabi to nominate advisors to Dougman which we did and explained clearly the responsibilities of these advisors. The minister of health ignored this as well.

However, the worst decision ever made by Dougman was to take back the treatment of the war wounded from their dedicated ministry to be a part of the MoH. He also endorsed the centralization of everything back to Tripoli and wanted to take over everything by himself without using any of his deputies.

After a few meetings with him and various discussions, it became clear that he just had ideas and notions about what he wanted to see happen, but no tangible plans or priorities.

What should be done about the health services and to save it from catastrophic events?
1- To reinstate or establish the crisis committees in Benghazi, and Tripoli which were operating during the liberation as the country is still in crisis.

2- There should be three deputies to the Minister of Health:
a. One to lead the eastern part of medical crisis committee and look after the eastern and southern regions’ medical needs in Libya.
b. The second for the western and middle regions.
c. The third to help the minister at the Ministry of Health on a day to day basis.

3- The existing or the new Minister of Health should have charisma, leadership and experience in dealing with crisis. He/she should set up priorities for the whole of his/her  period of leadership, which  should include short term plans to be implemented over 6 months and a long term plan which should be continued even when transitioning from one minister to another, without starting again from scratch.

4- The polyclinics in Libya should all be activated and the current lead on primary health care should be replaced as he is inexperienced and has been twice rejected from MOH positions.

5- The European Union committee should be transparent, effective and accountable at all times. They should include more experienced people than what they have and from all Libya rather than just Tripoli and Benghazi and the two inexperienced people who have no idea about health services in Libya, and are neither strategists nor managers.

6- The priorities should include, supply of medicine, equipment, emergency care including child birth and accident and emergency departments.

7- There should be 3 centres that will look after complicated cases and continue to care for the war wounded to save money. This can be operated by visiting experienced doctors – Libyans or non-Libyans and managed by a foreign team/s with Libyan help.

8- Building capacities and human resources is very important and to develop a long-term program to improve and develop hospitals, medical education and training for all health services employees and medical colleges.

We hope that the Prime Minister and the General National Congress will pay attention to this vital sector and service. The performance of the Minister of Health is very poor after 7 months in the office in spite of there being a lot of money to use and support from PM and GNC. It is about time to re-evaluate performance and if he is doing well, should be supported but if he is a failure should be substituted very quickly and someone else be appointed with clear vision and deliverable plans.

The new Minister of Health should be given all the support he/she needs and scrutinize progress on a regular basis with advisors and deputies to support him/ her.

Finally, we must continue to be honest and faithful to Libya and put aside all our differences, completely leave them behind, so that we can concentrate on making a decent future for our country and people.

Yet what is happening these days make me sad and frustrated. Those who were key players in the process of change have now been marginalized and excluded, with obstacles placed ahead of them to block their way and contributions, and even with trumped up accusations of corruption and theft being thrown at them!

What nation on earth treats its honourable revolutionaries and others who risked their lives and contributed so importantly to its people’s victory in this way?  They are not expecting rewards but at least some recognition and respect for their contributions, and inclusion in the process of moving forward.

Hatred and exclusion is flourishing in Libya against these honorable people – but even more so against each other.  Although Tripoli and Libya were liberated from the tyrant and we have started moving forward in small steps, many want to lead Libya into a dark tunnel; but this tunnel must be demolished so that Libyans can begin to see the light of day again.

The writer is ex-Minister of Health under the National Transitional Council. He contributed this article to The Tripoli Post. He can be reached at: nagi.barakat58@gmail.com

Change has Stopped in Libya, Why and Who is Responsible – By Nagi Barakat

http://www.tripolipost.com/articledetail.asp?c=5&i=8292

To lead a change, there are usually Principles and values, but this does not happen in Libya these days due to the absence of leadership in the current government. It is customary in Libya and in third world countries where there is no democracy, for everyone to assume that when he or she holds any ministerial position, he/she will bring with them their family, family friends, people from his/her tribe and very close people to his friends.

This is without taking into account the competence and experience of the person chosen to carry out responsibilities and decision-making burden of that position.  For example, lack of experience, you can find this on the biography of some of the current government ministers, including Dr. Abdul Rahim Elkeeb himself.

Leading change has principles and foundations as John Kotter, prize winning author of the Faculty of Business Administration at Harvard University, summarised into 8 points in his book “Leading Change” as follows:

(http://www.kotterinternational.com/kotterprinciples/changesteps):
1. Establishing a Sense of Urgency (Examine market and competitive realities, and identify and discuss crises, potential crises, or major opportunities)

2. Creating the Guiding Coalition (Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort, and encourage the group to work as a team)

3. Developing a Change Vision (Create a vision to help direct the change effort, and develop strategies for achieving that vision)

4. Communicating the Vision for Buy-in (Use every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies, and teach new behaviours by the example of the Guiding Coalition)

5. Empowering Broad-based Action (Remove obstacles to change, change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision, and encourage risk-taking and non-traditional ideas, activities, and actions)

6. Generating Short-term Wins (Plan for visible performance improvements, create those improvements, recognise and reward employees involved in the improvements)

7. Never Letting Up (Use increased credibility to change systems, structures, and policies that don’t fit the vision, also hire, promote, and develop employees who can implement the vision, and finally reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes, and change agents)

8. Incorporating Changes into the Culture (Articulate the connections between the new behaviours and organizational success, and develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession)

Change is a process of transformation of reality, and its success relies on choosing the right team.

Leadership is the ability to influence others and direct behaviour to achieve common goals. It is therefore a responsibility towards the group to reach the set objectives which are planned by the leader. It is also a process aimed at influencing the behaviour of individuals and coordinating their efforts to achieve certain goals.

Leader: A person who uses his influence and power to affect the behaviour and attitudes of individuals around him to accomplish the specific objectives agreed upon with his team.

This is not found in the current Libyan government because the selection was random. Although random sometimes comes with good results, this was not the case when choosing this present head of government in Libya.

When Mr Elkeeb chose the members of his cabinet, he did not hold meetings with his prospective ministers and he totally depended on word of mouth, recommendation by someone close to him or relying on curriculum vitae of these individuals which in some cases had translation problems. The biography of some ministers can be found on this website, https://www.pm.gov.ly.

Some of the ministers are scandalously unqualified for the job but some of them have very good CVs but no experience in holding higher positions; nevertheless they are doing very well.

It is true that  most of them have experience, but a group of them lack any leadership or managerial skills nor have the charisma to be ministers. The latter are those who are failing badly.

There is a difference between management and leadership; both are complementary to each other provided there is the presence of an effective team.

A leader also needs to be an administrator to achieve his vision and develop his strategy. He will draw up a plan of action with his team for short and long term objectives with details of the implementation of the plan.

There is a big difference between leadership and management. Talking about leadership is as old as history, while talking about administration only began in the last decades of the nineteenth century.

Leadership is a branch of the science of management whilst administration focuses on five key processes: planning, organization, direction, supervision and control.

Leadership focuses on three head of operations are:

i- Determine the direction and vision.
ii- Mobilize the forces under this vision.
iii- Motivation and building of momentum

That person will be responsible to lead his team and within the requirements of leadership should be:

a- Effective: has the ability to change others or find what convinces them.
b- Influential: has the ability to give orders to implement his strategy and not to be self-centred.
c- With legal authority: the right given to the commander to act according to laws and regulations

Leaders cannot be appointed but only can be created through training and climbing up the ladder over many years to become a leader. To create a leader will need a lot of effort, training and money.  To lead on a change, you need a leader who can lead and make courageous decisions with his team.

There are many examples. The McKenzie Institute International (http://www.mckenziemdt.org/),  is the finest company in the training and making of leaders, especially in the areas of development and training.

No one person can lead a change, it needs a team that is efficient, with expertise and political direction that the change successful.  This needs a politically minded leader with significant administrative experience.

Unfortunately Dr Abdurrahim Elkeeb does not have all these qualities and he has lost it in the last few days by starting to blame the NTC for his leadership failure.

The 17th Feb. revolution has lost its momentum inside and outside Libya and we have almost been forgotten by the world. This is due to poor performance of the leadership in both NTC and the government.

The NTC is doing its best to reach out to the world and Mr Abduljeleel is meeting many world leaders who seem to believe in him as many Libyans do.

The world, however, seems not to have confidence in the Prime Minister as he does not possess the above-described qualities of leadership.  For this reason and many others, Libyans fear that the 17th Feb revolution has lost its momentum because of this. The enthusiasm  from the public  to rally behind the leaders of 17th Feb has started to decline.

But the Libyan people have never lost faith in the 17 February Revolution despite the failures of the new leaders  have started pointing fingers to each other only to come public when it reached the highest levels between the NTC and the government.

When the leader starts blaming others for mistakes affecting national security and stability, this means that he has lost control and should accept responsibility.

If the NTC blames Dr Elkeeb for all that is happening in Libya today, they should also blame themselves as they were advised before appointing him of his “poor leadership qualities”.

The major change which happened in Libya was the removal of Gaddafi and not all of his followers but the real change will take years to flourish in Libya.  Because of that, there should be creative programmes for leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and strategists with political minds.

Libya will be well on the path of progress somewhere in 5-10 years’ time and in less than 20 years I am sure it will be in a much better shape.   All of this needs security, implementation of the rule of law and to learn from others.

There is no way to create good quality leaders in 1-2 weeks as has been going on in Libya now by a religious cleric from Kuwait (Tareq Suwaidan).  Always learn to walk before you run!

Leading change was led by the National Transitional council and the Executive Office. It was a difficult stage, but it gained the support of the Libyan people and the real revolutionaries of Libya.

Everyone helped and accelerated the removal of the tyrant until he was killed in Sirt on 20/10/2011. But this change, which was acceptable to the Libyan people and the world, did not continue on the same steps as was started by the leading executive office who were forced to resign collectively as was agreed with NTC regulations.

This opened the way for the current head of government to bring his friends and his family, and friends of friends to the government without taking into account the efficiency and conditions of the transition.

We did not see him in Benghazi until end of June 2011, but after the Doha conference when he delivered a speech on behalf of the people of Tripoli, as the original speaker was forced to withdraw as he was not a very religious man nor is his family. This was all orchestrated by a religious fanatic group which we will write more about in another article.

After the liberation of Libya, he became very close to Mr Abdul-Jalil and a glowing picture was painted about him to Mr Abdul-Jalil by a group affiliated to the Islamic brotherhood.  This is how he became the front runner for the Prime minister’s office in the transitional government after the liberation.

I hope someone can write about those  days of 23-25/11/2011. Many important events took place then and I will share some of them with you next time.  It was a wrong choice and now it is time to correct the mistakes.

Some ministers should be exempted from their ministerial positions, including the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Health, Justice, Finance, Defence, Interior, Youth, Sports and Culture and Prime Minister himself.

It is true that time is short to reshuffle the ministries but it is very important to do so; this will regain the momentum of the Libyan people towards the 17th Feb revolution and the NTC leadership. This also will regain the confidence of the world in Libyan government and NTC.

There are a few steps which will help in making the changes successful. These can be measured in time and all Ministers are held accountable:

1. Some of the ministers should be exempted from their ministerial posts and the Prime Minister is one of them. This is due to the poor performance, lack of planning, poor communication with the public and the outside world and the continued deterioration of security  and stability of Libya.

2. The Transitional National Council should ask every minister to draw up a plan of action to overcome the most common problems according to priorities; he/she should correct them during the transitional phase.

3. All ministries should be held accountable after 3-6 months and all those who are failing should be replaced by the Prime Minister and not by NTC

4. The replacement ministers should be chosen according to their political, leadership and administration experience and interviewing them is a must

5. Security is the priority for the Prime minister as well as looking after the real freedom fighters  and negotiations should start with them ASAP about their future role in Libya.

6. The Prime Minister and his cabinet should take courageous decisions aimed at strengthening security and stability in Libya. The NTC should not interfere and support these decisions.

7. Election must be held in time for the national assembly with the help of the United Nations.

8. Foreign policy should be one of the priorities especially with neighbouring countries.

There is still great opportunity and not much time has been wasted. The momentum of the 17th Feb revolution is still buzzing in the hearts and minds of the Libyan people if the right prime minister is found to be leading on this  transitional period.

Everyone is talking about it and the majority of Libyans have never experienced anything like this. I am sure that if they see Libya heading in the right direction, they will stand behind the government and support them.

It is very easy to mobilise the public against any danger which may hinder the success of the government, provided there is good leadership at the highest level.

Libya will remain free and the Libyan people will not allow anyone – not even the pseudo-freedom fighters – to destabilize the security, integrity and stability of their country.

Libya is at a very critical stage in its post-revolution era and it is essential that the right leadership takes control and puts into effect the changes that have already been started by the earlier Executive Office of NTC.

We don’t want Libya to end up like another rogue state governed chaotically and without strategic forward planning.

The writer is former Minister of Health in the Executive Office of the National Transitional Council until November 2011

Do Libyan People Deserve this Treatment from NTC and Government?

http://www.tripolipost.com/articledetail.asp?c=5&i=8186

Nagi Barakat 14/04/2012 03:38:00
Everybody is talking about the Arab spring revolutions and what happened to the Arab rulers. Some who were ousted from their post left the country with their family and followers and are still living a lavish life. For the one who died, his followers are in anguish or pain for what they have done to their fellow countrymen and women. Following all of this, new faces have taken the front position in new governments. Libya is a special case, and Syria is marching towards freedom. They should learn a lot from Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) and the government’s mistakes to avoid falling into the trap of militias and lawlessness that is overrunning the country.
New faces that have joined the Government of Libya were not lucky, because they did not live with Libyans over the last 3-4 decades. This is one of the reasons which keeps them away and not communicating with the Libyan people about what they are doing and how to run the country. It is a very hard task as public expectations are very high.
This is the description of a colleague of mine about Libya after the war which is very true; he is a psychiatrist and said “when a nation goes to war against each other, the level of violence even if it was to liberate Libya is disturbing; it will change the psyche and the mentality of people for good. What you see is the outcome of violent struggle, it is expected and predicted, the trauma leaves scars, it changes the cognitive schema, it creates a tyrant of emotions, people will be mobilized with collective emotional behaviour rather than logic or reason due to widespread fear and paranoia, it is the trauma, Nagi, and the aftermath of trauma”.
If you read this three times, you will understand what is going on these days in Libya. Demands of the people are very high and expectations are major but time is not on the government’s side and the Council has accused the government that it is very slow to react but did not interfere in their work, as the NTC leader said. Is the government falling short of what the Libyan people expected them to do and perform?  Do the Libyan people deserve all of the government’s short falls and being treated like this after 42 years of tyranny and dictatorship?
Time is the best judge of the government and the NTC, but the government is too slow to communicate with the people and the outside world, both of whom have lost trust in it, and voices have raised up behind doors to change some of the figures in Elkeeb’s government, some went even further by asking to change Elkeeb himself and his position was offered to a few people but they refused.
Most of the ministers have no political experience, they are either academics or administrators or businessmen and a few of them are technocrats. They kept barriers between them and the public and kept working behind doors without tangible results during the first three months. Now the problems started to grow even bigger and are becoming harder to solve.
There are large numbers of freedom fighters – their number exceeds 250,000. Due to this high number, a chaotic atmosphere is now looming over the Libyan skies and land with lawless streets and hidden militia who one day will surprise every one.  Those who pretended to behave like the real freedom fighters show no respect for state sovereignty nor state law and they occupied government buildings and refused to leave them.  All state property has been looted and damaged beyond repair.
The majority of the real and unreal freedom fighters are Libyans and I am sure all of them  love Libya, and  a lot of them know by  doing these things, it would damage the state and image of Libya. No one knows why Libyans damage their own country, wealth and reputation. Do the Libyan people deserve all of this from fellow Libyans who pretend they are Freedom Fighters? I am sure everyone knows who fought Gaddafi’s troops and who supported Gaddafi during the 6 months, and also everyone knows who supported the liberation of Tripoli and other major cities. No one drew up criteria for the freedom fighters but the real ones are now back in their homes with their families, back to their jobs and a few are still trying to be sure that Libya is in save hands.
All of these have created chaos. Although there were signs of this since the liberation of Tripoli and even before in Benghazi, all possible solutions were met with rejection or interference by some members of the Interim Council who insisted on imposing their views on other members or agreeing on certain policies. This was systemically there and encouraged by specific members and especially by certain people who were hiding behind religion to convince and appease the President and members of the Council. This actually happened and several members of the Executive Office as well as some members of the Interim Council spoke about it publicly.
As a result of this and not listening to the experts and policy makers, all of this has turned the country into a state of chaos. Some started doing many things without referring to the state. For example, in eastern Libya there are calls for federalism, in Misurata they fly international flights and receive foreign delegations without approval from the central government and in Zintan they receive foreign delegations and seized several buildings in the capital.
Also we do not forget Hakim Bel-Hajj, who works in secret, is a microcontroller in Tripoli and has cells operating day and night and at any moment, can seize Tripoli.
What happened in Kufra and in Sebha indicates neither the government nor the NTC has plans to make Libya secure and stable country. It is frankly a lawless country which will be fertile environment for fundamentalists to grow and cause even more chaos in North Africa. All of this takes place under the nose of the government which cannot do anything about it and does not want to clash with major forces in Libya now. The Libyan people do not deserve all of this and they do not want to be governed by a weak government which has no control on the sovereignty of the Libyan state.
Is it worth the fuss that Libyan citizens fought to get rid of Gaddafi? They won their freedom through the heroic acts and persistence of freedom fighters to demolish Gaddafi’s grandeur forever. Everyone knows that most of real freedom fighters returned to work or engaged with the army or police and their love of Libya is still in their hearts.
Also we may take a look into the skyrocketing food prices and the high cost of living in Libya. Traders seem to have no moral duty to help Libyans get through this hardship. They are pushing prices up to highest levels comparing to even EU countries. In the absence of strong state these traders will keep pushing up the prices and stealing public money before people’s eyes. I was amazed by the answer given when I was in Tripoli and asked the butcher the price of one Kilograms of meat:  22 dinars for Lamb and 18 dinars for beef and 4.5 dinars for chicken. This does not exist in any place in the world. I was in Germany and I asked, Kilo of Lamb meat does not exceed 9 Euros and in Britain less than 7 pounds. Patients are suffering due to severe shortages of drugs. The price of a bottle of Calpol (equal to paracetamol) (a medication for children with high temperature) reached 10 dinars and it was never exceeding 90 pence before this time. There are shortages of general and local anaesthetic drugs, there are no cancer drugs and AIDS patients are dying. There are more than 400 children suffering from congenital heart diseases, one dies every week and others will never make it unless they have heart and lung transplant. All of these cases can be treated and children will live normal life.
Every day the shadow of chaos is circling into the minister of health’s mind. Every day mistakes are made and every day new decisions are also made which will be cancelled in the next two or three days.  It is the worst, most chaotic ministry in the current government and they don’t want to listen to anyone. After a lot of mistakes and disasters, the Minister started getting experts to help her after she sacked them as soon as she took office. When you hear all of this, you feel sorry for the patient, the Libyan people and then for the state.
You will ask yourself; do they deserve all of this mishandling due to ill choice made by the prime minister and the NTC? I wonder what will happen one day, when we become a civilized society and we can prosecute all who used to make the wrong decisions that affect the lives of ordinary Libyans. That day is far away and I hope one day our great grandchildren will enjoy it. Health teams have been working during the crisis and before the liberation with no money but with enthusiasm and nationalism.  They set priorities and worked towards achieving them with the help of the NTC, the EC and the rest of the world.
The absence of good leadership with a good team, actually will lead to many disasters. This is what is happening at the level of the government and some ministries. Batching and cut and paste will never work in Libya. Leaders can be made or trained but not appointed and they are few who can take this responsibility after the 17th Feb. revolution. This policy is doomed to failure and will always be adopted by people who have poor judgment and poor calculation of events.
Anyone betting on the Libyan people will win the bet but he/she has to work hard to understand them first, and then work with them towards building Libya.  He or she should read the statement above written by a Libyan psychiatrist and then will understand why Libya is a special case which does not deserve all this bad treatment.  Libya will remain free and all its sons and daughters will contribute in building it.
The writer is a former Minister of Health at the former Executive Office of the  National Transitional Council.

Opinion: What Challenges are Libyans Facing After February 17 Revolution?

http://www.tripolipost.com/articledetail.asp?c=12&i=7908

By Dr. Nagi Giumma BarakaI was a member of the Executive council at the National Transitional Council   (NTC) during the uprising and liberation of Libya. To get a clearer picture   of what the Libyan people are facing in the months to come, I will explain   this further and how these issues can be resolved in the short term. The   uprising by young men and women in Libya inspired all the people who wanted   freedom and wanted to live in a democratic society.

Libya was demoralised by Gaddafi’s regime for over 42 years of oppression and   injustice. Instead of distributing Libya’s wealth, or using it to build   Libya, he gave the nation’s wealth to his family, friends and those close to   him to spend on anything and everything.

The other most important issue is that during his regime Libya had a one man   show for everything who denied the people experience, freedom to speak, to   own properties, cars and businesses. He denied them even enjoying life with   their wives and children. He destroyed the social values of Libyan society   and also imposed the most brutal and unqualified and corrupt people to govern   and demoralise the public in many ways.

For these reasons and many others, the 17th February uprising started   everywhere in Libya and ended with the death of Gaddafi and one of his brutal   sons, Muatassim, the capture of his other son, Seif, and many of his very   close people. Many others escaped but I am sure that one day they will all be   tried for their actions against Libya by a fair system of justice and   implementation of Libyan law.

Challenges Libya Faces Today:

Security and national stability are the paramount concern to Libya and the   international community. There are more than 200,000 freedom fighters   registered by now and there are many weapons circulating amongst them and the   general public. For those reasons no one is obeying the law and the country   is lawless for the time being.

The second point is the absence of a strong police force. This will be   difficult to address unless all weapons are taken from the public and freedom   fighters. This can be done through many different ways (incentives, licences   or join army or police and keep your weapon) plus rehabilitation programmes   for freedom fighters and people affected by the uprising.

There is lack of money and absence of foreign companies to complete or start   projects. The money issue is a major problem for Libya, is 100% controlled   from outside of Libya, and will be used to twist the arm of the Libyan   people, the NTC and government. This will enable foreign countries to dictate   what they want from Libya.

I know Libya will not bow down to those who want to use this against them.   This happened in July last year when there was a severe shortage of petrol to   run the electricity in the eastern part of Libya. The Italians tried to use   these strategies as well as the French, but they were faced with furious   opposition from all the executive committees, Libyan people and the NTC and   actually been told……?

The other point is the interference of different countries in the affairs of   Libya who are trying to support one group against the other. Qatar did an   excellent job to help Libya and we benefited from their help to reach where   we are, but recently the Qataris have started to deviate and are very clearly   supporting the Islamic brotherhood and even went further during the   revolution by giving them weapons and they are the only group to get much of   it.

Many incidents happened and the Qataris were trying to put pressure on NTC to   accept, but they faced furious opposition by many executive committee and   also now from the public. These practices should not happen again or   practiced by any other country or group of countries that may try to exercise   this kind of behaviour on Libyans, NTC or the government

The most important one is the weakness of the NTC and the government in   communicating with the public and the world.

It is very obvious to everyone that the NTC is very weak due to the lack of   experience of its members and many of them. In fact, the majority of them   have no political experience whatsoever and also have no experience in   dealing with the public and few held any executive positions before.

Some of these officials have never been in leadership positions, e.g. the   Minister of Health, the Interior Minister, the Defence Minister and the   Foreign Minister. Many came from abroad and knew only little about Libya and   how much it had changed over the past 42 years.

The absence of political advisers is causing a lot of mistakes to be made and   they are unable to prioritise things and act swiftly e.g., Al-Shajara Square   protests in Benghazi, then Tripoli and now every where. If there were a good   political analyst who could see through this problem, this could have been   contained earlier and many solutions adopted.

The government is failing badly to communicate with the people and very   rarely do they come out and talk. Most are technocrats and not politicians.   They are very good administrators but not analysts. They can describe every   thing but to analyse and execute is not their way of sorting problems. They   need to have political advisors as well as strategists to plan short and   long-term solutions.

Until now those people are absent and very few are around and none will take   the risk and contact the government. They also have started building a shield   around them and preventing people from getting close to them. Those people   are very well known and are politicians and strategists and served Libya in   many different ways.

These challenges are very concerning to everyone and without trying to sort   them out, Libya will be having a hard time and the country may slip into a   very narrow alleyway, with no exit. It is very unlikely to become Somalia or   Iraq but it doesn’t feel that it’s that far away. It is time to work very   hard and get advisors who are politicians, strategists and thinkers to help   out.

The results may take 2-3 months but will be published to public and will be   transparent. No need to be shy to ask for help and no need to be shy to use   Libyans and non Libyans to help in this situation. Closing doors and not   engaging with experts, public and thinkers, may lead to a disaster which is   not far way, if NTC and the government move very fast and fast, then some   goals may be achieved before next election.

Libyan people are very tolerant and they will be patient for the time being   but when you cannot have medical treatment in Libya, electricity cut off   every day, communication with the rest of the world is below standards.   Different groups hijack the media, absence of government and not talking to   people and shortfall of NTC members due to inexperience.

The justice ministry is ineffective and there is no military or strong   police. Many thieves and thugs got their hands on weapons and people do not   feel safe in there own home and country. So they will come out and this has   already started but it is not too late to contain it.

The NTC and government are swimming against the current but this can be   corrected if the right people are leading in the right position with the help   of the technocrats. Never too late and the February 17 revolution will   prevail and Libyans will taste freedom over many years to come.

Libya will be free and will rise up against all odds and Libyans will govern   Libya.

(Dr. Nagi Giumma Baraka is a former Minister of Health at the National   Transitional Council until the current interim was formed in Libya. He   contributed this article to The Tripoli Post.)

 

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