The people of Libya under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi were virtually provided with everything that makes life worth living, except that comparatively with other countries of the world, they enjoyed less democracy. Libyans under Gaddafi enjoyed free and quality medical care, free education, free electricity, free housing, marriage allowance, car allowance for all citizens, next to zero cost of fuel, free land and farming equipment for citizens that voluntarily ventured into farming etc. Libyans under Muammar Gaddafi enjoyed better quality of life than most European countries.
Insatiable as human beings are, Libyans were not content with the leadership of Muammar Gaddafi who provided them with everything they needed but restricted some of their rights. It appears though that Libyans were presented with two options; one was to accept the dictatorship of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and enjoy quality life in peace or join the Arab Spring that fought against dictatorship in North Africa and the Middle East and embrace an uncertain future. As history and memory recalls, Libyans chose the latter and indeed the future of that country remains uncertain and at best bleak.
If I may put it bluntly, the enemies of Libya who for long have fought against their progress, in the guise of promoting good governance, became allies with some disgruntled, selfish and less patriotic Libyan power brokers whom they used to cause internal disaffection and foiled hatred for the Gaddafi regime. It was hard for them to actually perceive the real intentions of the external forces that backed them to overthrow their government. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in the bloody civil war that erupted against his government and indeed, he died violently in the struggle.
It is almost a decade now since Libyans saw the back of Gaddafi, who I believe is resting in peace but Libya remains at war. Libyans are still paying for overthrowing and murdering the man that gave them everything they needed. There is no peace in Libya neither to talk of democracy. Instead of the robust economy and infrastructure that prevailed under Gaddafi, Libya now has a weak economy and a completely broken infrastructure. Social service like free and constant electricity that every ordinary Libyan enjoyed eludes even rich Libyans now. Did Libyans go, or did they come? Your answer is as good as mine.
I want my people, particularly Nalerigu-Gambaga constituency to take lessons from the Libyan experience. Some of the lessons we should learn are:
- Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama is our best Member of Parliament ever. She, just like Gaddafi, has been laying a very solid foundation for the rapid development of the constituency. She is the only Member of Parliament in Ghana’s recent history that has built four functioning Senior High Schools (Gambaga, Langbinsi, Sakogu and Gbintiri) in her constituency in less than two full terms as MP. She has brought people out from poverty and/or unemployment and thereby reducing the dependency ratio among her constituents. Many more young men and women have become breadwinners of families because of the jobs she has given them. Like Gaddafi, she is empowering many women groups in the constituency for them to expand their businesses and become self-reliant one at a time. I know of several young men and women who are pursuing tertiary education thanks to her benevolence. The sweet fragrance of Hajia Alima can be smelt in every nook and cranny of the Nalerigu-Gambaga constituency. She has extended electricity to a whooping twenty-four communities already and many more communities will be hooked onto the national grid soon by courtesy of her efforts. Basic schools, health facilities and markets are being constructed or expanded to ease the burden of her constituents. Gambaga and Nalerigu township roads are being tarred and many feeder roads are under construction. A multi-million dollar township water system in Nalerigu and Gambaga is in advance stages of completion which will be extended to cover Langbinsi, Gbintri, Sakogu and Nagboo soon. All these she has done and continue to do is aimed at making life comfortable for her constituents. Others before her couldn’t achieve a fraction of that and it is hard to believe anyone can better her performancet at this juncture.
- The enemies of Libya wouldn’t have succeeded in turning the country upside down if they were not helped from the inside. That goes to prove the Biblical saying that “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. The lesson here is meant solely for members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). That is to say that the enemies of NPP, and for that matter Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama cannot succeed if we remain united and don’t get deceived by the opposition who now pretend to love us. In the Libyan case study, where can we find the external forces that provided weapons to some disgruntled Libyans to overthrow their own government? I bet they have achieved their aim and now care less whatever happens to them. Libya today is in turmoil and they are back to their peaceful soil. It is impossible to satisfy everyone in politics, much less so within such a short time. It is therefore understandable that there will be some disgruntled members. However, that should not tempt us into joining forces with the known enemy (NDC) that pretends to love us. What you cannot sip deep, you don’t taste. We will bite our fingers with regret if we allow our emotions and personal interests to control our decision making. We have a diamond (Hajia Alima), who, with all her human fallibilities have proven that she is trustworthy of our mandate, very hardworking and the bringer of unprecedented development.
- The final and most important lesson is that no politician, and indeed no human being has it all. Muammar Gaddafi despite his love for Libyans, couldn’t satisfy a section of them in terms of good governance. Similarly, it is possible that despite the stellar and gracious performance of Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama as Member of Parliament, she could have performed better in other aspects. I have heard people say that although her performance is unrivalled, she could still do better with how she relates with people. This has always been the accusation leveled against most politicians especially of the female kind. Without rejecting or affirming it, I can only say that if I’m presented with a choice between an MP who will call me every morning to say sweet things to my ears but does nothing to alleviate my plight and an MP who will give me schools to attend, better roads to access, electricity with which to start my business, portable drinking water etc but will not recognize or greet me, I will choose the latter a hundred and one times. God created everyone with a unique weakness, which is why no man is perfect. Very few people knows and understand honorable Hajia Alima Mahama than I do. She admits her weaknesses and improves upon them everyday. Sometimes we are just too much consumed with cynicism to notice the changes in her.
Had Libyans allowed Muammar Gaddafi to continue, they would probably have had the natural turn of events where he probably would have peacefully handed over power because he was becoming advanced in age or he would have continued as President but with the introduction of reforms to give Libyans more of the freedoms they asked for. Almost a decade has passed since the ouster of Gaddafi but Libya is only better than worse. Some of his fiercest critics have regretted and the so-called lovers of the Libyan people have soon left them to their faith. There is no functioning government today and they still don’t have democracy and rule of law. The rebels who fought Gaddafi and claimed to do so for the Libyan masses are currently busy fighting among themselves for power, long after the demise of Gaddafi. If it was possible to resurrect Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Libyans would have done so just to hand over the country back to him.
With the knowledge of that recent history, constituents of Nalerigu-Gambaga should be guided and make no mistake in contemplating a change in leadership. Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama remains the greatest asset and political leader in the constituency. Once she has shown interest in going for a final term in parliament, I believe it is our civic responsibility to support her bid in order for her to continue to bring face-lifting developmental projects to the constituency. We cannot afford to regret like the Libyans because they didn’t have the knowledge of history that we do now. Even if they had knowledge of history, they were not guided by it; we cannot tow that path because similar consequences awaits us if we do. That being said, I remain convinced that Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama will smoothly ride back to parliament after the 2020 elections. We all know she is the best!
BY Simon Suayam