Zahra’ Langhi has been on the forefront in Libya, united with a group of like-minded women demanding transparency in governance and commitment to ensuring a democratic electoral process for the next presidential and parliamentary election on 24 December 2021 which marks the 70th anniversary since Libya was declared a sovereign state.
She is a peace activist tirelessly fighting for gender equality and inclusion. Zahra’ Langhi has dedicated her life to dialoguing and preventing ill treatment and violence against women. She co-founded Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace (LWPP) established for peace building and equally addressing the gender gap in politics.
She’s one among many women masterminding a peaceful and positive re-evaluation of policies in Africa. Zahra’ Langhi has been greatly recognized for her work by the Charter of Compassion led by Karen Armstrong, Rockfeller Foundation, Helen Clark and many more.
Zahra’ Langhi: “We Must Have A Political Reset In Libya”
While the people await a peaceful and fair election, it echoes in Libya that a group of political elite are hindering the process.
Currently, an interim government is overseeing the affairs of the state headed by Abdul Hamid Dbeibah sworn in on 15 March. The interim government was formed through the intervention of the UN following the ceasefire sealed in October last year.
This time about 75% to 87% of the people want a national election and a great number of women are clamouring for a gender-balanced government. A small percentage of women (12%) makes up Libya’s councilors.
According to Stephanie Williams “the existing institutions, the High State Council has been in office since 2012, the House of Representatives since 2015. Their natural expiry date has passed. They should listen to their people. They can set the framework for these elections. The clock is ticking.”
Zahra’ Langhi, CEO of LWPP and a recognized member of the 75-member Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), is saying:
“There are political factions in Libya – an elite – that make money out of the status quo, staying in power and so do not want elections. It’s another Lebanon. They are the people the previous UN special envoy Stephanie Williams called ‘the political dinosaurs’. The whole idea is we must have a political reset in Libya so we have to have new elected legitimate institutions.”
Despite the fact that women in the past have been silenced for challenging a male-dominated government, the female activists consisting of lawyers and civil society campaigners, are determined to fight with their last breath to see that the corrupt and gender biased system is put to an end.
Last November, fingers point to the assassination of Hanan al-Barassi, a human rights lawyer, and the “arrest” of her daughter Haneen al-Abdali after revealing the alleged murderers via Facebook as a sign that the lives of assertive women fighting to positively change the status quo are still at risk.
In an attempt to create that balance, 30% of high positions in the new interim executive authority were for women. And also, 20 of the 75 places on the LPDF where Zahra’ Langhi is a leading member are also reserved for women.
For further recognition of women participation and a peaceful change of government, the LPDF have met with the new UN special envoy Ján Kubiš to discuss the new constitutional frameworks. He also encouraged LPDF’s legal committee to complete its drafting of a constitutional base for the elections. The new constitution in works provides a clear separation of powers between the next parliament and the executive.
Zahra’ Langhi urged the LPDF to meet every month to avoid backsliding and to monitor the roadmap to the election.
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an IT enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.