Interview: S. Africa expert links Libya's future with new constitution
by Ntandoyenkosi Ncube
JOHANNESBURG, July 26 (Xinhua) -- As a resource-rich nation, Libya should quickly establish a new constitution and restore security in order to attract investment for reconstruction, a South African expert on constitutional negotiations said on Thursday.
"There must first be a national consensus on the way forward, on the national priorities or national interests. In their absence the presence of new money or investments can become a bone of contention instead of supporting the national good," University of South Africa (UNISA) Political Sciences Professor Dirk Kotze told Xinhua.
He stressed that a new constitution is needed for oil rich Libya to see new investments coming in.
Libya is on a re-construction process after a civil war that led to the death of Libyan long time leader Muammar Gaddafi.
"Libya is still engaged in the phase of post-conflict reconstruction. It has to establish a new constitutional dispensation, integrate the population into a new nation, build a new state with state institutions and take control of the security situation," Kotze said.
According to Kotze, investors are obviously interested in good returns on their investments which means that it is not necessarily used for the betterment of Libya but rather to maximize profits for the investors. That can have serious destabilizing consequences for the domestic situation and can also discredit the external presence.
"Therefore investments will have to be done in a very sensitive manner," said Kotze, who has expertized in political conflict resolution.
In July this year, Libya held its first national election after the end of the civil war. The National Transitional Council (NTC) that has been in authority since the ousting of Gaddaffi supervised the elections for a 200-member General National Congress (GNC). Elections for a prime minister and parliamentary will take place in 2013.
"The situation is still far from stability and many tasks confront them for which they need external assistance (in) finalizing a new constitution, building a new and strong state, dealing with transitional justice and the unification of the country and people," said Kotze.
Kotze, who was actively involved in South African constitutional transition in the 1990s, said the GNC, which was elected as an interim legislative body to draft a new constitution, must also give serious priority to reconciliation, especially between the Benghazi and the rest of the country.
He augured that the role of Africa Union (AU) in Libya is limited but urged other regional organizations such as Southern African Development Community (SADC) or Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to assist Tripoli with technical support in the reconciliation and constitution making process.
"The AU does not have much power in situations like this. It does not have specialized agencies to provide support for any country. Normally regional organizations like SADC or ECOWAS are better suited to assist their members," Kotze said.
However, he urged the AU to keep a watch on the political developments in Libya, making sure that no unconstitutional changes take place and ensuring that elections are conducted in accordance with African Charter on Democracy.
"This body (AU) has a role to make sure elections and governance, and that post-conflict reconstruction takes place in accordance with the (AU) stated objectives," Kotze said.