The candidate for the Libyan presidential elections, Muhammad Shaweesh, wishes to modernize the country and shake up a corrupt and aging political class. The Arab world gives its vision of modern Libya.
Muhammad Shaweesh – a 35-year-old young businessman who specializes in jewelry. What drives you to engage today in a difficult political career in Libya, especially to try to conquer the highest political position in the country?
I am fortunate to have worked in a variety of different sectors, such as technology, smart cities, digital banking, e-commerce, construction, risk management, crisis management, resilience engineering or even innovative infrastructure. I am fully aware that all of these areas, on their scale, will tomorrow be major challenges for changing the world in general, and Libya in particular. This is the experience and awareness of the importance of these issues that I would like to raise by presenting myself in the Libyan presidential elections.
I face an aging political elite that is unable to respond to emerging challenges and risks. In the face of it, only independent political movements have ideas and projects that meet the basic needs of Libyans, who aspire to improve the quality of life, education, more medicine, and individual security in all its forms.
For us, the goal of these elections is to reverse the current situation and ensure that the population respects their vital needs and reassures them of basic human rights. If I want to win this presidential election, the matter above all is the revival, structure, modernization and operation of the Libyan economy, which will be a prerequisite for improving the quality of life of Libyans in general. It is now up to us to unite the different forces of our country, to unite them all for a better future.
Mohamed Shawish – How will your experience help you?
I have a very high opinion of entrepreneurial leadership, which I see as a vector for the transformations that all countries need, not just Libya. I believe in the ability of entrepreneurs to shape the world and adopt a critical mind that allows them to analyze the basic needs of individuals in order to provide them with viable solutions. We must not be afraid to say that to deprive the world of the spirit of the project is to drive it directly into stagnation, even into social and economic decline. This vision I hope to spread to the Libyans.
In the very special political context of Libya, we need the spirit of institution reform, which can unite different people and mindsets within the same country, and make them work together for the common good, while releasing their creative energy. In short, we have to seize the opportunities that this country offers and turn them into something much better.
Mohamed Shaweesh – The failed attempt to seize power on May 17 by Fathi Bashagha, the head of the Libyan government who was sworn in before Parliament last March, shows that some political elites refuse to relinquish power. How do you hope to destabilize the political life of a country dominated by a largely corrupt political and economic elite that will do anything to stay wedded to power?
Historically, Libya has tried to solve its internal problems by drumming up solutions from outside the country. Likewise, the weakness of the state has always been a factor of external interference. However, we must look to reform Libya from within, by relying on the live forces in the country. Obviously, this starts with making endemic corruption one of our priorities on the one hand, but also by ensuring the rule of law and border protection on the other. We should not fall into the trap of isolationism. Only by working with international partners will we be able to address the major issues in Libya to address challenges such as national security, migration, climate change, and the global energy crisis.
Politicians today are all clinging to or trying to gain power because they fear that the opposition will threaten the political rent they are carefully trying to keep. In the face of the political violence that pervades the country, I believe in a culture of peaceful dialogue. By creating a culture of cooperation and cooperation where all viewpoints are respected and considered, but discussed in order to seek the best for Libya, tensions will naturally decrease. Not only in the country, but also with our international partners, with whom we must establish a relationship of equality and mutual respect.
Muhammad Shaweesh – Libya today is the land of divisions. The country is divided between the forces of Field Marshal Haftar, the forces of the Tripoli government, and various tribal groups. The country is also subject to multiple external pressures, particularly Turkish and Russian. What do you think are the best approaches to reunifying Libya, its stability and above all, to restore its independence?
The common denominator between Libyan citizens is far more important than what separates them. All Libyan citizens want a better future for their country, and I know we can achieve it. Thus, restoring unity, without which there can be no prosperity, is a priority goal. Unity must also be external, as we rebuild alliances, trust and respect with our international partners.
Libyans need to see hope and this is what we will show them, a path to hope that everyone will be called upon provided that they adhere to a set of values, such as fighting corruption, zero tolerance for attacks on the rule of law and renouncing injustice and inequality. By reforming our country from within and taking swift action, the external danger of international interference will slowly but surely fade away.
Mohamed Shaweesh – The Libyan economy is still closely linked to oil, which accounts for nearly all of its exports. How would you like to help diversify the country’s economy?
It is clear that the global environmental crisis is real and will affect all of us if we do not act now. Libya, as an oil exporter, has a unique opportunity to lead the way in generating clean energy, not only for Libya, but also for the entire world. Libya, which is also a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement, must naturally join other nations in leading the way in the global fight against climate change.
By supporting a paradigm shift away from fossil fuels and towards exploiting the natural resources of deserts, the economy will explode, jobs will be created, and Libya will show everyone how this can be achieved. Here again, we must trust the entrepreneurial spirit to develop green and clean technologies and contribute to the development of STEM (so. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics). This need calls for strengthening our educational and university system to bring out the human resources needed for this transition to a more sustainable, modern and economical economy.
Mohamed Shaweesh – In the end, your goal is to make Libya a technological “hub” in Africa. What is your vision for the country by 2050, for example?
In the year 2050, I hope that Libya will be seen in the world as an example of a successful transformation from a country in ruins to a solid nation capable of meeting the needs of its people, but also centered in the most promising vectors of development, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which are the only basic requirements For amazing progress in innovation and clean technologies. I also want it to be seen as a compassionate nation that cares not only for its own people, but also for its neighbors and all the nations of the planet.
New smart cities and infrastructures will emerge and create new innovation jobs. A new transportation system will connect the West, South and East to allow the flow of goods and people to experience the true harmony, integration and unification of Libyan cultures and people. Not only will it be an opportunity to bring the disparate cities of Libya together, but thanks to the transcontinental connections, the whole of Africa, Asia and Europe will finally become interconnected because integration is key in our current world.