Shooting ourselves in the foot

Published on 27 February 2014 in View Point
Nadia Al-Sakkaf (author)

Nadia Al-Sakkaf


Just when we started to see progress with the power-transfer process after the conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference last month, politicians are resorting to their old ways, trying to derail the process.

The NDC final document says the constitution should be drafted by professionals with at least 10 years of professional experience and that this drafting process should be supervised by a political committee.

It was clearly documented and agreed that the creation of the constitutional drafting committee would be a transparent and merit-based process where the president would create an open mechanism to receive applicants who would then be filtered through based on experience and professionalism.

What happened was the opposite of this. The president met with the politicians, asked them to each nominate three candidates and that was that.

Why was the process not an open one as agreed upon? Who will be reviewing the nominations of these political entities? What if a political party or group presents a sub-par candidate while there are more capable players outside the political game?

This is a critical committee whose performance will either help or harm the transition. We already know that the political committee supervising it will have a difficult time reaching consensus. Now we have two battles to fight. We have to deal with the political committee and the so-called “technical” committee.  

This is a clear breach of the NDC outcomes and one that is directly managed by the president himself. He is supposed to be the champion for change—not surrendering to political pressure in the middle of our euphoric celebration of the NDC as we look forward to receiving the UN Security Council sanctions committee.

If we start making exceptions and allowing ourselves to twist agreements in order to please this group or that group, then the NDC document is not longer our ticket to a better future. Who is to say that the 30 percent quota for women is not going to be changed or that the hard-won agreement to set 18 as the minimum age for marriage will not be ignored by this pseudo-technical constitutional drafting committee.  

Here we go again shooting ourselves in the foot just when the real race is yet to begin. We were just warming up and this bad move is not a good sign.