By Sami Zaptia.
London, 9 September 2020:
The mayors of the Municipalities of Tripoli yesterday called on the Faiez Serraj Tripoli government to officially declare that the epidemiological situation in Tripoli is bad and requires a declaration of an emergency in all health facilities in the capital.
In a withering eleven-point statement, the mayors condemned central government and the Health Ministry for numerous failures and areas of mismanagement. They stressed the need to enforce isolation between cities and regions to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus outside the highly infested areas.
They also called for larger and more realistic budgets, the urgent appointment of a new Minister of Health, taking into account the standard of adequate expertise in the field of health, extensive experience in crisis management and the standard of integrity – away from quotas and regionalism.
Yesterday, 749 new Coronavirus cases were declared as Libya’s exponential increased took its total to 19,583, with 17,022 active, 2,247 recovered and 314 deaths.
The call by Tripoli’s Municipalities indicates the new Libya where central government now has to live and interact with local government. Although there is a very long way to go, it indicates the new and more mature democracy beginning to emerge in Libya.
It shows that now central government is slightly more accountable and held to task by local government, which linked to the electorate much more than central government – and especially the defunct, domestically illegitimate and mandate-less, Skhirat anointed Serraj government.
Serraj has been making a show of his new decrees giving more powers to local government, but in reality the system is still very much centrally entrenched. By calling for more funds and issuing a list of blistering criticisms in the handling of the Coronavirus outbreak, the Tripoli Municipalities have shown that they will not be scape-goated by the ineffective and beleaguered Serraj government.
As the members of the House of Representatives and High State Council meeting in Rabat Morocco are lambasted in Libyan social media for meeting for personal gain and apportionment of sovereign positions, this latest issue and a host of other Municipality issues over the last few months and years, such as dealing with waste collection, waste and tyre recycling, delivery of gas cylinders and bread during the Coronavirus etc, indicate that the way forward for Libya may well be through local government.
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