By Sami Zaptia.
London, 2 June 2016:
The Tripoli-based Civil Registry Authority (CRA) has announced that it has resumed its services in western . . .[restrict]Tripoli after having been suspended since March. The Tripoli-based CRA had been forced to revert to a paper-based services during the dispute over who controls Libya’s registry of families, marriages, births, deaths, passports etc.
The dispute had broken out between the internationally unrecognized Salvation Government in Tripoli and CRA management over the independence of the database. CRA staff accused the Salvation Government of wanting to politicize the system.
The CRA had accused the Salvation Government and its ‘‘ideologically extremist groups’’ of kidnaping four IT engineers in March attempting to force them into gaining access to the database. It said that it had gained control of the database briefly before CRA staff succeeded in blocking access.
It will be recalled that two Libyan and two foreign IT technicians, an Indian Reji Joseph and an Egyptian Hussam-aldeen Mohamed are still missing. The names of the Libyan technicians have not been publicized.
However, a compromise has subsequently been reached. The database has now been located in a neutral location, maybe even outside Libya, but both eastern and western Libya can have access to it.
Initially, western Libya authorities refused to use it unless it was located physically under their control. However, eastern Libyan authorities do not trust their western counter parts fearing it would politically misuse or alter the database.
This fear is not far-fetched in view of the fact that the two sides are politically, and at times, militarily at war with one another. In view of the false documents discovered after the US bombing of IS in Sabratha, there is a realistic fear that western Libya may issue ID or passports to extremists or terror groups.
The eastern authorities are also asking that those responsible for the kidnapping of the CRA IT technicians are held to account. Tripoli is stalling. As a result, Tripoli went ahead and created their own system giving them access to the same database from the west. The east has its own access system to the shared system. It is expected that the kidnapped IT engineers would be released soon.
A well informed IT source told Libya Herald ‘‘It is on a unified database with a main replication to the disaster recovery site, but it looks like Tripoli are going to be using their own frontend application that interfaces with it whilst the east are going to stay with the same system’’.
Underscoring the powerlessness of Serraj and his Presidential Council/Government of National Accord, the source said ‘‘Let’s face it, (Former Salvation Government PM) Ghwel is still in charge since Serraj is stuck in Bu Sitta (Naval Base).
‘‘The eastern CRA management were very wise in handling the situation. Yes, they compromised by allowing Tripoli to use their own system, but they are still united in access to the same data. There is no split!’’
‘‘To the normal citizen, everything works. But if you look at it from a technical standpoint, it is a distributed, decentralized system now’’, he concluded in typical techie-speak. [/restrict]