Tripoli, 16 April:
Beleaguered Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al-Kib defended the record of his transitional government yesterday saying that the object of . . .[restrict]the present government was “the interest of the Libyan citizen and his stability and security”.
In an interview with Libya TV last night (Sunday 15th April), Al-Kib went on to say that his government’s aim was “the transformation of the nation from the stage of revolution to the stage of a nation where security and stability are dominant”.
He described the period of his government as “a short transitional stage, a stage of establishment and crises management. We inherited from the previous regime an administrative systems lacking in training or preparation, despite the presence of an active spirit of patriotism and the desire for work and performance,” he pointed out.
“Libya has great youthful capabilities and energy which revealed itself to the world after the revolution, and which amazed the world in its ability to activate its productivity, especially in the oil sector. Oil production has in fact now reached its previous levels of 1.5 million bpd,” Al-Kib proudly claimed.
“The issue of safety and security is the responsibility of all not just that of the government,” he retorted as if seeking general popular support. “Despite that, the government moved swiftly to activate safety and security in all the parts of Libya especially the speed of action taken in Kufra and Sabha and the impressive results that followed there – and the even faster action taken in the Zuara-Rigdaleen-Jmail area,” he pointed out in defence of his government’s record.
Al-Kib’s appearance is seent in reaction to the growing rumours, which reached a crescendo yesterday evening, that he had either resigned, or had been asked to resign by the National Transitional Council (NTC) head Mustafa Abdul Jalil, and that Dr Ali Tarhuni had been appointed in his place.
In fact, the rumours doing the rounds and eventually taken up by Libyan television stations yesterday, said that the NTC had triggered the threshold needed to force Al-Kib to resign in an NTC vote of no confidence in him by a two-thirds majority.
This vote, if it had actually taken place, would in itself have been a remarkable event since it is widely believed that the composition of the NTC is still until today incomplete and unknown. In fact, many critics of the NTC believe that it has never actually met as a complete body, and therefore makes the removal of Al-Kib a technical impossibility.
The rumour, reported on yesterday by Libya Herald, was totally denied by the Prime Minister’s office in the evening, but it seems to have been serious enough to merit a television appearance by premier Al-Kib.
The Prime Minister was evidently trying to dampen increasingly rising expectations of the Libyan public and especially of the hordes of Libyan youth, who make up the majority of the thuwar, and have suffered from unemployment or any direction in life under old regime.
The Al-Kib government, which has often been described as a ‘fire-fighting’ government by critics, due to the number of incidents it has had to defuse, has struggled to move forward of late. It has struggled to control the armed thuwar and has failed to evict them out of government property, especially Tripoli International Airport.
As the Prime Minister alluded to in his television appearance, rather than being able to move forward with various urgently needed policy programmes, his government has been stumbling from one crisis to another: Kufra, Sebha, Zuara-Jmail-Rigdaleen, and culminating in the shooting by protesting thuwar inside his office building last week.
His government has had very little time to concentrate on pressing issues such as preparing the public for the June elections, pursuing and putting on trail members of the old regime, creating business and economic activity and especially jobs for the hundreds of thousands of thuwar, building institutions, and the like.
It will be interesting to see for how long the NTC, its head Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the general public and Libya’s wartime allies keep faith with the Al-Kib administration. There is suspicion that there are parties working actively against Al-Kib. There may even be a split within the NTC as to the merits of continuing to support Al-Kib in view of his government’s lackluster performance.
Nevertheless, it must be asked: can Libya afford the uncertainty that would necessarily come with a change of government with the June elections so close? It took the Al-Kib government about three months to settle-in.
Equally, it is believed that the Al-Kib government has very little authority to act in most areas without prior clearance from the NTC. In fact, defenders of his administration say that any short comings of the Al-Kib government only reflect those of the equally lackluster NTC and its leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil.