By Vanessa Tomassini.
Tribes are part of the social fabric of Libya and have often played a decisive role in the dynamics of the North African country. In light of Saif Al-Islam Al-Gaddafi’s candidacy, we reached Mohamed Khalifa Nael, Chairman of the Social Council of the Qadhadhfa tribe, to which the rais’ son belongs.
First of all thank you for accepting this meeting. Who the Qadhadhfa tribe intend to support in the upcoming elections?
“Without a doubt, the Qadhadhfa tribe will support Dr. Saif al-Islam Muammar al-Gaddafi. Not only because he belongs to our tribe, but because he possesses the political, scientific and leadership qualities that qualify him to lead the country.”
What do you think of Dr. Saif Al-Islam Muammar Al Gaddafi candidacy?
“It was expected and it is the most likely candidate to win”.
At what stage is the national reconciliation in Libya?
“The national reconciliation is an important national entitlement which has not received the right attention. It was deliberately neglected by the successive authorities that ruled the country. The last one of these authorities is the current Presidential Council, which announced, after taking power, the establishment of a commission for national reconciliation then neglected the issue and the matter remained as it was. It is just a slogan to tickle the emotions of the people. Overall, from a procedural point of view, this entitlement is still being obstructed.”
Is there a political division within your tribe? Especially with regard to the candidacy of Dr Saif Al Islam Al Muammar Al-Gaddafi?
“No, there is absolutely no division. There is a comprehensive consensus on choosing Dr. Saif al-Islam Muammar Gaddafi by all the sons of the tribe.”
What do you think of his choice to submit his candidacy in the city of Sabha?
“A successful choice which has historical and geographical connotations: the city of Sabha is the capital of the south and suffers from marginalization”.
Where you approached by other parties? And if so, what did they offer you?
“The matter is limited to conversations. There is hope for increased opportunities, convergence and joint action.”
Were you among the delegation that met Fathi Bashagha in Misurata recently?
“No, I wasn’t in the delegation. It was a meeting about the prisoners in Misurata. It did not result in any action in particular.”
In your opinion, are elections really a solution to the Libyan crisis?
“Yes, and most of the Libyans accepted it. This is the method used in most countries of the world.”
Do you think that all parties will accept the election results, or are we fighting another war?
“This depends on the extent of the seriousness of the international community in implementing the political agreement, and how keen they are to deter any obstructionist.”
What do you think of the current electoral law?
“Although it included a lot of compliments… but it’s okay, we’re in a crisis”.
Is it true that the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) from Benghazi prevented the Qadhadhfa tribe from receiving other tribes’ delegations?
“Unfortunately, yes, this is true and it is not acceptable for the Qadhadhfa tribe, as we said in a statement. All the tribes of Sirte are in solidarity with us and supporting us. The ban has been rejected in all social circles. We are still making efforts with the the tribes of Sirte in order to resume visits as many tribes called us to visit us”.
What is your position on the withdrawal of foreign forces, fighters and mercenaries?
“The presence of mercenaries in Libya is unacceptable and shameful. We do not accept them in the first place and we have repeatedly demanded their exit.”
How do you see the role of the international community in helping the Libyans to reach fair and free elections?
“If the intentions are genuine, and the statements are true, we expect the international community to support the electoral process.”
And what about Russia and Turkey policies in Libya?
“In the circumstances the country is going through, all the countries interfering in the Libyan affairs are seeking their interests. They see Libya as a cake and they are trying to get as much of it as possible.”