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Regional quotas and corruption

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By: Essa Baghni*

At the time of founding the Libyan state, and after the collapse of the structure of former regime, and the absence of permanent

Essa Baghni
Essa Baghni

constitution, Libyans are sensing their way forward to build their modern new state. Opinions and thoughts appear and contradict, sometimes honest and careful, other times, a desire to found factional interests. There is no harm in raising questions and discussions without imposing or intransigence.

There is no doubt that revising and examining previous ruling experiences in Libya since the independence, and experiences in the Middle East countries, is of grave importance to put and develop the coming ruling system.

What raised concern, during the past five years, that despite the agreement between Libyans on the importance of the democratic approach and promotion of freedom, justice and equality; entrench for effective citizenship, many politicians and intellectuals drifted far away from the previous principles, and became a stumbling block in front of building institutions on solid grounds.

Of phenomena that everyone publicly hates but supports secretly, is the principle of quotas in the distribution of ministerial bags, and appointments to the public senior management. Such phenomenon was alive in all previous governments under the pretext of (geographic representation) for each area in the government, and a way to compromise efficiency, bowing to regional and tribal demands.

What is more dangerous is that fixed quotas would become of the fundamentals in the successive Libyan governments. Such quotas spoiled the political life in Libya, and created officials have no knowledge of management.

Only the quota system is intact on sound foundations in the democratic countries, when no political party decisively win the elections or get the required votes that qualifies the party to form a government, so a coalition or governor bloc is formed to distribute ministerial portfolios through negotiations.

The quota system was a bad omen for many countries walking through the democratic course. Quota is most obvious in the Middle East countries namely; Lebanon and Iraq. Lebanon built its political system, since independence in 1943, on sectarian quotas due to the presence of different sects. Despite enunciated quotas in the constitution, and the great margin of freedom, it suffered a lot from assassinations, wars, the presence of sectarian armies, administrative and financial corruption, which led its people to flee to other countries beginning from West Africa to South America, as a result. Lebanon was stormed by unrest, wars and endless bombing.

The second example is Iraq, the oil state with two rivers and long history, Its constitution is (apparently) civilian in its composition, but the country suffers from sectarian quotas on a large scale since 2003, with vying parties for control of its capabilities. And between this and that, armed groups were established and supported with corrupt money, the state has entered a poor dark tunnel and couldn’t come out yet.

Quota system in both countries, Iraq and Lebanon, made both countries a battleground for external powers by national hands, and created rival political blocs affiliated to the outside, which missed the national interest. There is no longer hope to build collective public opinion even on the simplest things, such as the election of a president in Lebanon or fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq. The IS entry to Mosul was by the help of Iraqi governmental officials.

During the monarchy, there was ministerial quotas among large families that have had a role before the independence of Libya, or among those who returned from exile as an educated class in a country where illiteracy spread to a large extent. Through such quota, corruption spread in varies areas, including oil companies’ contracts, bribery and nepotism. governments were replaced along short periods. Even that the cover of Libya Al-Hadetha magazine, in 1960s, carried a picture of a new prime minister, carrying an empty sack, and the outgoing Prime Minister carrying full sack on his back .

The quota system in the era of Gaddafi was programmed, by creating new tribal basis loyal to the leadership, from all regions of Libya, then agitated and managed according to the required needs. Those figures might disappear for many years and then re-polished again.

Corruption of ministers at this stage was rationed, but the corruption of the state was extended with no limits, which included financing of terrorists, wars, separatist movements and suspicious transactions, run by a handful of close associates of the people loyal to the country’s leadership.

The quota system in Libya is no less a threat to the Libyan state of their counterparts. It has created stumping constitution assembly that didn’t and will not complete the constitution with its current position. The quota system made Libyan embassies spots for the unemployed and those who can’t even write their names, earning millions of Dollars from the state treasury overseeing bankruptcy and caused fierce fighting between parties, as what happened in the embassy in Egypt, Rome and Malta. Quotas opened the door for foreign intervention to bomb Libyan cities.

The quota system, was the protective shield for opportunists who closed oil fields and pushed the state to the brink of bankruptcy. Quota system builds tribal and regional affiliations that deny access to collective public opinion, encourages financial and administrative corruption due to the presence of social immunity that prevents accountability.

For that most Libyans yearn to form the Government of National Accord, which means: agreement of political forces on the formation of a government that implements agreed upon policies by the House of Representatives (HoR) and the General National Congress (GNC). It has to be a qualified government, as we will not find a minister of culture working to heal regional or tribal in-fighting, and the defense minister does not lift a finger, or an appointed doctor mired in understanding security breaches, or Minister of Energy immersed in national reconciliation, and half of the country plunge into darkness for hours every day.

When the quota system expires, responsibility entrusted depending on the efficiency, and corruption of all types ends, then the Libyan state can make its first steps towards integrity, transparency and development, which is the way to public welfare.

*A Libyan Writer

Translated By LIBYAPROSPECT: Source