By Ibrahim Drissi.
Benghazi, 22 September 2016:
In the latest move by the Libyan National Army to take control of all levers of power in the country, Major-General Abdul-Razzaq Al-Nazhouri has dismissed officials in charge of state electricity company GECOL in the east of country and replaced them with a seven-man committee answerable to himself.
Nazhouri, appointed military governor of the area from Tobruk to Ben Jawad (in effect all of Cyrenaica) by House of Representatives president Ageela Saleh, has now ordered the new committee to solve the power shortages in the east and other issues such as the delays in salary payments for company staff.
The order follows a rise in power cuts in Benghazi and the east of the country and the LNA knows that they could be politically damaging. With it taking direct control over Benghazi, it is clearly aware that its credibility could be affected if the power cuts continue.
The new committee is headed by Osama Ahmed Saaiti and includes Ramadan Abdussalam Rabea, Abdulmawli Younis Al-Barasi, Sulaiman Al-Kharshufi, Faraj Belgassem Al-Ajili, Mohamed Hamad Algaili, Rafi Ibrahim, Saad Abdel-Salam and Adel Omar Al-Birju.
However, the order may prove difficult to fulfil. GECOL does not have cash in hand to pay salaries; they are paid by the Tripoli-based Central Bank of Libya.
Also GECOL is having technical problems at Benghazi North power station. It has announced a drop in output because of necessary works to one of the gas-power units at the power station.
Yesterday, when the State Council announced that it was assuming the powers of the House of Representatives (HoR), one of the reasons given that that the HoR was deliberately allowing the LNA to take control of the country.
As part of that, Nazhuri has already replaced four mayors with military figures.
There are meanwhile unconfirmed reports that the Beida-based prime minster, Abdullah Al-Thinni, who was an army colonel until he retired in 1997, has been made a brigadier-general by Khalifa Hafter. While this may be an honorific title, several delegates to last week’s reconciliation conference in Nalut pointed out that he would henceforth be subject to orders from the LNA and Hafter, now a field marshal.