Libya's interim leaders under fire

2011-09-10 10:00

Benghazi - Hundreds of people have marched in Benghazi calling for a shake-up of Libya's new leadership while nascent political groups have challenged the country's interim rulers in a memorandum, saying their governance plan does not meet the people's demands.

The Benghazi residents marched from a charred compound of former leader Muammar Gaddafi on Friday, singing "the first martyrs were from Benghazi" and criticising what they called "climbers" and "opportunists" in the new leadership.

"Some of the executive committee are blood-suckers and thieves and we keep seeing them on TV. They should be in court," said Shukri, a middle-aged auditor, referring to the country's cabinet, which has been officially dissolved but in practice still exists.

The memorandum, signed by 56 political organisations, mostly from eastern parts of the country, highlights the political divisions emerging over Libya's future just two weeks after Gaddafi's ouster.

The memorandum says the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) plan contains contradictions and should not be used as the road map for governance in a post-Gaddafi era.

Under the existing plan, the NTC would resign and leave the country to two more consecutive interim governments for the transitional period set to last for 18 months from Libya's official liberation from Gaddafi's rule.

The signatories of the memorandum instead support continuity of the political process with one interim government ruling until the first election.

"This (constitutional) declaration does not express the desires of the street nor the wishes of the liberal people," the memorandum, seen by Reuters, said.

NTC vice-chairman and spokesperson Abdel Hafiz Ghoga confirmed the government had received the document.

"We need new forces"

He said the NTC could not consider it until the last pro-Gaddafi bastions are brought under its control. Anti-Gaddafi fighters advanced on these holdout towns on Friday.

The opposition to the NTC's plan carries weight because it originates mostly from Benghazi, the eastern city which has been credited with spearheading the military campaign against Gaddafi.

It has also been under the control of anti-Gaddafi forces for months.

The Benghazi protesters carried banners listing 11 "Nos", voicing discontent on a range of topics from centralisation in Tripoli at the expense of Benghazi to the political prominence of members of the old regime, raising the thorny question of how to integrate former members of Gaddafi's government.

"I say no to climbers...they are climbing on the backs of our rebels. We need new faces," said Novra, a young woman pointing to a handwritten placard, whose words she said were aimed at the head of Libya's executive committee Mahmoud Jibril, who once ran the state economic think-tank under Gaddafi.

Some protesters also said they wanted to protest the NTC's governance plan, and echoed the demands of the memorandum.

Nasser Ahdash, leader of the National Forum, a political group which signed the memorandum and helped organise the protests, pointed excitedly at the crowd, shouting over their chants and sirens.

"We wanted to make a hassle for the NTC and we think we have achieved this."

  • Anton - 2011-09-10 11:17

    No doubt, it's going to be a long and tough road ahead, for the Libyans. The "easy" part has now been done; The gaddafi criminals in hiding and on the run. And now it is the difficult part; The building up, of all that this tyrant distroyed, and much of this has to be started from scratch; political parties, unions, a rerspected judiciary and many civil soceity structures etc etc. But, with the help many nations have offered, they will succeed, in having a country most Libyans have been dreaming of, for many years. What a shame, that Africa has so little to contribute to this NEW LIBYA

  • letsee - 2011-09-10 11:31

    The purpose of an interim "gocervment" is to organiza elections so that everybody can participate. So, what are those guys challenging?

  • tommy 2 - 2011-09-10 11:42

    Long live Gaddafi, Long live the last king of Africa... Long live the people of Libya..... Down with these Rebel terrorists.

      Anton - 2011-09-10 12:00

      Tommy 2, No doubt, if most Libyans would read your comment, they would shake their head in disbelieve........ For you to put "long live gaddafi" and "long live the Libyan people" in one comment, you insult the Libyan people, big time !! But, to call the Rebels, aka the opposition, "terrorists" , you won't upset them too much. The same happened to the ones who freed SA of tyranny!!!

      Valis - 2011-09-10 13:37

      @Anton: So when Al Qaeda are fighting against the Americans they are "terrorists". Yet when the same Al Qaeda are doing America's dirty work for them in Libya you call them "Rebels"(sic)? Does the term "hypocrite" mean anything to you? If not go look it up.

      Anton - 2011-09-10 18:13

      Valis, Don't you worry too much, the libyans will sort out their problems by themselves, and with some help from their friends in Europe. The very last they need now ,is to be treated like children, like this THUG gaddafi did for 42 years.!!! They are not stupid and know that amongst them are extremists, but as happened in other countries in Africa, democratic elections will sort this out. AFRICA HAS NO APPETITE FOR EXTREMISM But the Libyans are certainly not waiting for some useless, dumb, half baked pseudo intelectual BS from Africa. It is actually doubtful they would even want to become members of AU. They probably wish they would not be part of this continent!!!!

      slg - 2011-09-12 01:41

      What are you talking about Valis? More twisted baby-talk. The US has zero interest Al-Quaeda doing anything.

  • slg - 2011-09-10 19:52

    This is obviously good. Democracy is at work. It's not creamy smooth, but voices are being heard, choices are being made. The leadership structure of Libyas is being formed, not by dictatorial decree.

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