Lessons from Libya for African countries to grasp
Ranga Mataire, Group Political Editor
More than 3 000 people have died in Libya while 10 000 are still to be accounted for following a devastating Mediterranean Storm Daniel, that ravaged the port city of Derna and other eastern parts of the country.
Surprisingly, there has not been much fervent rescue efforts from Western countries to assist the Libyans whose problems have been compounded by long-running conflict pitting two rival administrations.
Mother nature hit a huge blow through catastrophic floods that broke dams and swept away whole homes in a country already wrecked by years of internal strife.
The floods are said to be the deadliest in the country’s history. Years of internal instability and lack of central government have left the country with run-down infrastructure that became vulnerable to intense rains.
According to the United Nations, Libya is the only country in the world to yet develop a climate strategy. Rescuers have been slow in coming. Literally, the Libyans are on their own with no sight of NATO or countries that instigated the slide into the current chaos.
Climate experts say the storm itself was not wholly to blame for the destruction that wrecked on Derna, where infrastructure, including burst dams, was already in a perilous state.
More than a decade after the Libyan cities were bombed by NATO warplanes assisting a revolt against Gaddafi, the country has remained a shadow of its former affluence.
While the hearts of many are with families that have lost relatives, the current Libyan situation offers huge lessons to African countries still grappling with Western powers’ obtrusive interference in their domestic affairs.
Twelve years after Libyan leader Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi’s fall instigated by Western backed uprisings, the country has been rendered dysfunctional and unstable.
Since 2014, political power is split between rival governments — yes rival governments. On one side is the UN backed Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah governing Tripoli and on the other side is the self-described anti-Islamist General Khalifa Haftar, who leads the Libyan National Army (LNA).
Each side has captured oil-fields, the country’s economic lifeblood and each has its own central bank. For years, the same European leaders who frantically removed Gaddafi, have failed to end the conflict.
In fact, they are probably feeding or benefitting more out of the chaos obtaining in that country.
The conflict has become some sort of a proxy fight of external powers. Haftar’s LNA is supported by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates while the GNA is supported by Turkey which is keen on restricting the influence of its regional rivals- Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Just like in most African countries, foreign powers are more interested in exploiting resources in Libya than any concern for the welfare of the ordinary citizens.
In Libya, external powers’ eyes are fixated on oil. Libya has the largest oil reserves in the world and is among the 10 largest in the world.
Continued stability in that country which has now been worsened by floods threaten to disrupt oil output, a development that has the potential of triggering global prices to rise.
While some Libyans celebrated the fall of Gaddafi and the intervention of NATO under the guise of a Responsibility to Protect (R2P), very few of the citizens would have anticipated that a decade after Gaddafi the country could become a haven for competing Western powers and a pale shadow of its past glory.
A stable future for Libya looks remote with much of what is happening there safely hidden from the news headlines.
Western governments and journalists who hailed NATO intervention as a success are now silent. Libya has descended into mayhem. But this is the direct consequences of their invasion and they need to take responsibility for it.
Western political proxies in Africa must learn something from the Libyan situation. Western powers are only interested in exploiting the country’s resources and don’t give a hoot about the welfare or so called democracy in countries they are sponsoring regime change.
In the case of Libya, the world was misled by a barrage of misinformation from rebels and Western media outlets who exaggerated Gaddafi’s alleged transgressions. And yet the truth was that Gaddafi had responded to incursions that emanated from violent tribal, regional and radical Islamists rebels.
Zimbabweans need to be conscious that the country has large reserves of the much needed transitional minerals like lithium and of late has become the apple of an eye of many global investors.
The country boasts of having the sixth largest lithium reserves globally and Africa’s largest producer of the commodity.
Zimbabwe is poised to play a crucial role in advancing the global energy transition through the supply of lithium and related products.
The production and processing for lithium is mostly concentrated in Australia, Chile and Brazil but new focus is now on Zimbabwe, which has the largest reserve in Africa and the sixth in the world.
It must not come as a surprise that some Western countries had so much vested interests in the just ended harmonised elections.
It’s not propaganda that certain Western countries prefer Zimbabwe being run by pliable post-independence opposition political parties with less affinity to politics of liberation.
It would be a tragedy in any time in the future for Zimbabwe to bestow their trust and vote in Western colluders who are prepared to sell the country for a case of whisky.
Zimbabwe needs to guard against Western funded regime change like what happened in Libya.
In interfering in Libya, NATO used all manner of justifications including demonisation of President Muammar Gaddafi.
Futile attempts to discredit Zimbabwe’s just-ended elections and push for a negotiated settlement are part of a devious scheme to allow certain Western proxies to gain some form of power.
Lessons from NATO’s intervention are crucial to all African countries battling to wade off imperial machinations coming from some Western nations.