By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 24 February 2013:
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan revealed in yesterday evening’s press conference that his government has sacked a number of government officials and has appointed replacements and that his government would standby its decision.
This was breaking news as far as the media was concerned as there had been no leak of any news of the sacking of any government officials.
Zeidan would not reveal either the names or the number of officials that had been sacked. But what could be deduced from his revelation is that it seems that some of those that have been sacked are refusing to leave their posts.
It is not believed that Zeidan was referring to Ministerial or Deputy Ministerial posts.
It is also not clear where the GNC stands on this matter and whether those sacked are seeking the GNC to intervene on their behalf.
The removal of officials from public posts is a rarity in Libya, and the removal of numerous public officials is even the more so. Libya is a country where employees are not sacked for poor or corrupt performance. At worse they are usually moved sidewards.
Zeidan’s statement yesterday about the subject came across as more of a message to those that have been removed from their posts rather than to the press or the public.
The Prime Minister did however stress that the decision to remove these officials was made only “after long and detailed investigation”.
“I don’t work for specific groups or parties or cities or regions, I work for the whole nation. I won’t allow any tribal, regional or political party influence to pressurize my decisions”, he added cryptically, leaving members of the press corps trying desperately to decipher his coded messages.
“I will not allow the misuse of public funds and I will take the strongest procedures against corruption”, he added with a sense of determination.
“We will work with the (new) National ID Number to solve matters of administrative and financial corruption and the duplication of wages”, he concluded.
Despite Prime Minister Zeidan being economical on the details of who and how many, it is quite clear that in the background his government has been engaging in some kind of anti corruption drive.
This has obviously rubbed various interest groups up the wrong way and that he is facing political resistance to his anti -corruption cull. It will be very interesting to see how far he succeeds.
A failure to fight corruption, or more importantly, a perception of a failure would reflect badly on his government. It would also send the wrong message about the new post-Qaddafi era Libya.
On the other hand, the perception that Zeidan is imposing his independence upon the various pressure groups and that he is seriously attempting to fight corruption would boost his standing and invigorate his government. It would also send the right message about the type of new order and democracy Libya is attempting to build.