By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 7 August 2014:
Former Deputy Prime Minister to Abdulraheem Al-Kib, Prime Minister designate and currently House of Representatives member for . . .[restrict]Sug Il Juma, with the largest majority in the country, Mustafa Abushagur, did not attend the first meetings of the House of Representatives in Tobruk on the 4 or 6 of August.
Critics have of course branded Abushagur as a member of the Islamist Brotherhood, an accusation he has regularly and vigorously denied. His decision not to join the 158 House of Representatives members in the Tobruk meeting has increased his critic’s suspicion of his political leanings.
Yesterday, Abushagur decided to change his position on the Tobruk meeting of the House of Representatives and he released a statement explaining his reasoning and why and how he failed to get to Tobruk on time.
There are two reasons why I did not attend the opening meeting of the House of Representatives in Tobruk. First, I had an initiative to get around the differences of the two meetings and unite them.
This revolved around holding a meeting in Tripoli for the official handover with the participation of the (then) House of Representatives president Abubaker Baera and a number of other members, arriving from Tobruk in the morning and returning to Tobruk to hold the opening session there.
Then, GNC president Nuri Abusahmain would announce that the opening session of the House of Representatives would be in the afternoon in Tobruk presided over by Abubaker Baera. In this way, we would get passed the issue that some see as unconstitutional – the fact that Baera called for the House of Representatives to convene in Tobruk for its inaugural session when he was not empowered to do so.
I also suggested that if Baera was unable to attend in Tripoli, a number of representative members from Tobruk could have attended the Tripoli handover. Abusahmain accepted this (compromise) initiative, but Baera rejected it on the basis that he had a quorum of members in Tobruk to hold an official session and that Nuri Abu Sahmain could fly over to Tobruk in his personal plane.
I was able to win over some members in Tobruk, who I asked to try and change Baera’s mind – but ultimately not enough were convinced of the initiative and so it failed. Time had also by then ran out for me to be able to get to Tobruk on time.
The second reason for not attending the opening House of Representative meeting in Tobruk was that when I contacted the GNC office to organize my travel to Tobruk, they informed me to travel by car to Zintan and catch a plane from there to Tobruk. I informed them that as far as I was concerned the road to Zintan was not safe.
I was prepared to fly from Maetiga airport, but they were unable to organize a flight for me from there, and so I was unable to fly to Tobruk. Having failed to attend the handover ceremony in Tobruk, I also then took the decision that I would not attend the handover ceremony in Tripoli too, so that it is not interpreted that I am supporting either sides.
My aim was to try and unite the various parties as a united House of Representatives represents a united nation so as to win the confidence of the people. I am happy to attend the House of Representatives meetings wherever they are, concluded Abushagur in his statement.
It is worth noting that with Representative Abushagur’s cv and background, and his former Deputy Prime Ministerial as well as his election by the GNC as Prime Minister designate, it was expected that he would be elected by House members to one of the three leading roles of the House.
However, his delay or inability to arrive in Tobruk in time for the opening session has meant that he has missed out on this opportunity. [/restrict]