By Sami Zaptia.
London, 21 April 2020:
Libya’s first unelected Interim Prime Minister, Abdulrahim Al-Kib, died today in Alabama, USA. He was 70 years old and is reported to have died of a heart attack. Libya’s internationally recognized Prime Minister, Faiez Serraj, paid his condolences today.
Kib, a Professor of Electric Engineering, was prime minister for a year, taking over from the head of the Executive Office, Mahmoud Jibril, from October 2011 to November 2012. Jibril had resigned 3 days after the death of Qaddafi on October 23. Ironically, Jibril had died earlier this month, on 5 April.
Kib had the distinction to be the first to hand over the reins of power peacefully to Ali Zeidan in November 2012.
Kib was a gentle and calm man who made little political enemies. Socially, he was very much respected and was able to go about his business in Tripoli without fear of reprisal or attack. He attended social occasions often and freely. He would often be found praying at the famous Mezran mosque in central Tripoli and sitting outside its popular bench.
Kib’s short term in office was a difficult one. He had to contend with a lack of state institutions, Libya’s increasingly empowered militias, an interfering and splintering National Transitional Council (NTC), an inability to create a narrative and counter Libya’s newly liberated traditional and social media, accusations of misspending of the budget and huge pressures to prepare for Libya’s first post-Qaddafi era elections.
On one occasion he innocently came out from his office to listen to demonstrating militias who, in turn, manhandled him and pulled his tie. His government had to contend with a succession of crises and was described as a ‘‘fire-fighting’’ government. Towards the end of his term a group of NTC members attempted to replace him due to his lacklustre performance.
In the 70’s Kib left for the USA where he continued his university education going on to become a Professor at the University of Alabama. More pertinently, he joined and became an important member of the anti-Qaddafi opposition formed by the Libyan diaspora.