Our Expert Opinion by Nadia Jeouda (See below the article to find her biography)
Since February 2011, the women and youth led civic movement took off in spreading the principles of the universal declaration of human rights, citizenship rights, and political participation rights with the assistance and support of international organizations. It was an active movement demanding the rule of law. During the time of this movement, there was the threat of considering the informal Regional (tribal) Quota system was getting stronger behind the scenes to paralyze this movement. This led to a complete collapse in the public offices appointment mechanisms in order to satisfy the tribal and regional expectations as well as those who aspire to possess high level positions through bypassing the mechanisms and required criteria for these positions.
The informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system got more emphasis during the transitional democratic phase and over-stepped the transitional constitutional declaration with no reaction in return from the civic movement. Nonetheless, there were few voices who paid attention to the negative impact of the matter. That was the start of the transition from working towards the civil state path to having conflict over power. The informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system is an indirect violation against all citizenship rights due to the discrimination it holds between one citizen and another based on their regional (tribal) background, As it favors members of a certain region (tribe) over others and it worsened by the adaptation of some activists to this mentality. Which of course, contradicts the legal doctrine, the principles of human rights and citizenship rights.
Furthermore, the lack of awareness by the emerging political parties and their inability to present a convincing political and economic project to the people, some parties informally adapted this regional (tribal) quota system. Therefore, this system built strong roots and allowed the marginalization of the existing capacities as there is no counter wave for this informal system in a simple society of people who dream of a decent life and prosperous future.
The economic effects of the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system:
Economy-wise, the impact of the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system on the production process which is the main engine for the economic growth. It also, reflects on the gross domestic production GDP, which represents the sum of goods and services provided for society members during a specific period of time. This is most negatively affected by the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system. The GDP is an indicator for economic growth and job creation which is reflected by the individual’s capacities and performance. It is also an indicator of economic recession. The adaptation of the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system in the positions appointment process as an alternative for merit and experience had led to the reluctance of society members as they lack the motivation.
Who is responsible for the enforcing of the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system during the transitional phase?
Firstly: The rising powers of the tribes and the absence of a civil state.
Secondly: The weakness of political parties and their in-compliance with a peaceful democratic transition of power in exchange for holding positions on the ground of the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system.
Thirdly: The society’s acceptance of the situation as a reality in the absence of a powerful civil movement.
Hence, the negative consequences for the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system during the transitional period is what’s hindering the desired state. Also, the prevalence and protection of all kinds of corruption is one of the reasons hindering us from reaching the constitutional phase. Not to mention the waste of public money and the continuous political dispute, as well as the disruption of the political process, the collapse of the economy, the deterioration of services, and the citizens’ complaints about the living conditions to reach this position of a failed state. It is also the direct reason for the popular rejection of democracy and their lack of participation which has led to people’s disappointment in political elites’ capacities to abolish corruption and the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system.
Solutions and alternatives:
The civil society’s willingness to uphold the rule of law.
Fostering the private sector and an economic shift.
Integration within the global economy.
After struggling between the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system and corruption, the solutions now lie in the real will within the women and youth led civic movement to impose the principles of the rule of law and adhere to its mechanisms. Therefore, it’s important to emphasize a peaceful democratic transition of power. according to the law. The society is supposed to consist of three components: Authority, civil society and the market.
What is meant by the market is the private sector which is affected by the competition of the public sector and its monopoly over providing services. Due to the lack of public awareness of the importance of the private sector and the potential shift to increase growth rates. The private system is capable of shifting the country from a failed one to a globally present and regionally powerful country by using its natural resources in the most efficient way which will connect the Libyan economy with the international economic system.
Reaching a locally stable and regionally powerful state can be achieved by eradicating the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system, which is considered the primary reason for administrative and financial corruption, through an economic shift which enables us to integrate in the international economy.
Many civic activists and economic experts tried to give an early warning of the danger of falling into a closed economy imposed and monopolized by the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system. Those experts carried out many activities and seminars promoting for an open economy and an economic transition that can completely eliminate informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system, as an example of these expert groups is Benghazi’s tank of ideas group, which is a group of expert bankers, businessmen and investors. Also, other media interviews have been previously conducted with the economist DR. Ahmad Al Jhani, who was present as a speaker in some seminars where he warned about the control of certain positions as influencing the Libyan economy and the livelihood of Libyans. He explained that these positions fall under the control of the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system and suggested the Open City project to eliminate the webs and lobbies and its effect on the Libyan economy. Awareness workshops were made regarding the principle of the rule of law and its connection to the production and economic process and the role of the market and the civil society in embedding and ensuring the success of the rule of law’s mechanisms.
Why did the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system lead to a failed state?
The informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system lobbies ensure to control the high decision making positions and expanding its leverage by appointing relatives and cousins and forming a web of influential centers that controls politics and economy through violating the right of specialty and eligibility to assume positions which has led to poor services. Despite the presence of competent and highly experienced figures, the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system weakened the government’s ability to work in harmony and integration to accomplish the government’s tasks. A specialized expert needs an integrated team of experts from different fields to implement the government’s plan which has earned the trust and willingness to achieve goals and tasks. That cannot be achieved under the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system as the intergovernmental working team is suffering from the lack of expertise and experiences in different sectors.
The government’s failure in providing services to all citizens and its inability to meet the needs of the people in all cities which can result in the complete mistrust in the system and bringing it to a failed state.
The legislative authority’s inability to hold the government accountable as most of the members of the executive authority are protected either by their tribes or from within the legislative authority. Lack of accountability in a society where you can’t hold accountable those who uphold positions based on a tribal support. The integration of the concept of tribes at the expense of the concept of civil state and the prevalence of the tribe’s power and authority over the government’s institutions.
The informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system lobbying becoming a parallel force to the government’s institutions.
Therefore, the active movement should work to tackle the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system through following-up on the performance of the political parties involved in the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system and sticking to the legal mechanisms by pressuring, advocating and demanding to spread the resumes of those holding positions to prove their efficiency, experience and competence.
The informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system impact on the future of women’s political participation and their role in the production process:
Women’s submission to the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system has a critical impact on the decline of their participation level and lack of independence in decision-making. If a woman accepted a position based on the tribal affiliation, she will not have the freedom to make a decision based on her beliefs and capabilities and to actively participate in politics. She will be under a tribal authority speaking on their behalf. All the efforts made to empower women and the women-led movement will be disrupted by the control of tribally supported women. Also, women’s activism will deteriorate and the elimination of women capacities from the production process will happen, if the informal Regional (Tribal) Quota system is fully adopted, women’s role will become nominal and not actual.
Our expert opinion by Nadia Jeouda:
- BA in Economics from the University of Benghazi (formerly Garyounis) in 1985.
- Economic Consultant at Milkm Libya Oil Company / Libyan-Foreign Partnerships in the Oil Sector.
- Chairman of the Libyan Center for Economic Studies.
- Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Organization of Heritage and Multiculturalism.
- Certified trainer from the Danish Institute DHIR in Rule of Law and Citizenship.