By Houda Mzioudet and Callum Paton.
Tripoli, 17 March 2014:
Representatives from civil society organisations met in Tripoli yesterday to discuss ways of . . .[restrict]fostering national dialogue in an event organised by the National Dialogue Preparatory Commission (NDPC).
A panel of 12 representatives from the Commission heard from a cross-section of groups including doctors, academics, students and members of the the Amazigh and Tebu communities as well as politicians and activists.
The president of NDPC, Fodhil Al-Amin, told the gathering that discussions of this kind were crucial to building consensus and of paramount importance for Libya’s democratic transition. “Elections and other mechanism on their own are not enough,” he said, adding that civil society engagement had to come from grassroots participation and could not be created by the political elite.
Director of Communication for NDCP Ali Hammouda told the Libya Herald that the commission had organised a series of dialogue sessions throughout Libya, touring 30 towns and cities in Libya over the last few months. It has distributed surveys and allowed residents to suggest of different areas of discussion as well as asking them to provide local figures to take part.
There were, however, challenges to overcome. “There are parties that still think they can impose their opinion through the use of force of with guns. They are hijacking the Libyan people’s resources and do not want to start the national dialogue process or to participate.” he added
The NDCP has succeeded in holding talks in areas of the country worst affected by violence following the revolution. In Derna it was able to bring Ansar Al-Sharia into discussions and has remained in contact with the group. Groups in Derna have asked the roadshow to return to the town to hold discussions with all Islamist groups in the area.
A source close to Derna Local Council told this paper the talks had been a great success and had allowed residents to participate in the national debate when they are so often overlooked.
The NDCP is planning further talks in other areas including Sebha and Kufra.