Analysts Cite Gadhafi’s Legacy of Corruption and Extravagance
It’s time for Libyans to build a new, united Libya, now that Gadhafi is dead. The prime minister of Libya’s National Transitional Council, Mahmoud Jibril, made the comment Thursday in Tripoli, at a news conference confirming Gadhafi’s death.
The former Libyan leader came to power in a military coup in 1969. His supporters say he was a source of social and economic progress. With the assistance of oil revenues, Libya’s small population has enjoyed one of the continent’s highest rates of economic growth. Loyalists say with that money, he built roads, schools and hospitals, at least in his early years in power.
Others, like Wayne White, an adjunct scholar with the Washington-based Middle East Institute, cite his extravagance and say he will be remembered for waste, misgovernment and corruption.
“Gadhafi hindered Libyan development very seriously,” said White. “That is why Libya in many ways is one of the least capable of the Arab oil states that can take care of itself without foreign assistance.
“He also wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on silly projects like the Great Man-made River Project [a vast network of pipes and aqueducts] which never produced much in the way of farming.”
White said Gadhafi’s authoritarian governance will make it harder to establish democratic rule in Libya
“He ruled with a divide and rule system pitting tribe against tribe, creating regional rivalries, and he also stifled civil society to such a degree that it will be a hard job for the NTC, its successors and even rebels who have spent too much time fighting to settle down into a period of not being rebels and form a government.”
One way to bring about unity in the years ahead is the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission. More than 50 such commissions have been created around the world in recent years, including one a few years ago in neighboring Morocco, said Professor William Schabas, a professor of international law at the University of Middlesex in London…