By Maha Ellawati.
Tobruk, 2 January 2017:
Beida-based interim prime minister Abdullah Al-Thinni appeared today before the House of Representatives (HoR), having been summoned to give an account of his premiership. Also appearing before the HoR in Tobruk was his health minister, Reida El-Oakley, as well as Ali Hibri, the HoR-appointed but largely powerless governor of the Central Bank of Libya.
The health service was one of the main issues in what was, technically, not a formal session because there was no quorum. It was, however,chaired by Ageela Saleh and was distinctly combative. It was also televised, as demanded by Thinni.
Members had been trying to question him for some time but he had refused to appear unless in front of television cameras. According to an HoR official, several members were opposed to this, fearful that Thinni would publicly expose them as corrupt by providing evidence of demands from them to the government to appoint relatives to key posts or give them or their relatives major contracts.
The same official pointed out that a majority of members wanted to sack Thinni but were divided as to who should replace him.
In the event, today’s session, although argumentative, focussed largely on water resources, the electricity supply and the state of the health service, with HoR members wanting to know what was being done to improve the situation. Benghazi HoR member Isa Al-Araibi noted that people were fed up with it. Both the HoR and the government, however, tried to present themselves as hard working but prevented from doing more because of the crisis.
In particular, there were questions from HoR members about the state of the hospitals and the services they provide, and why more people were not being sent abroad for treatment. There were questions too why the Beida government was so concerned about Benghazi to the exclusion of other places. To this, Thinni said the problem was that the interim government could not operate everywhere. It was not welcome in Sebha, for example, he pointed out.
The session is due to continue tomorrow at 10 am.