The government of Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh has picked Ziad Daghim, a member of parliament, to become Libya’s next ambassador to the Netherlands, according to multiple reports by Libyan press sources.
Libyan press reported that Daghim will officially assume his new diplomatic role in October with monthly salary worth 12 thousand euros.
The news provoked an outcry by the Libyan public on social media as it raises legal and ethical suspicions due to Daghim’s political record and history with corruption.
Several Libyan journalists highlighted that Dbeibeh’s decision to hire Daghim is against the law, which stipulates that lawmakers cannot take on any governmental role while serving in parliament. Such move is prohibited under Libyan law because it jeopardizes the separation of powers; a democratic concept that refers to the separation of the executive and legislative authorities in order to maintain transparency and accountability.
Daghim, who was elected as MP for Benghazi in 2014, did not recuse himself prior to accepting the nomination to lead the Libyan diplomatic mission in the Netherlands. This drove many Libyans on social media to raise the alarm over the likelihood of Daghim abusing his role as lawmaker to serve Dbeibeh’s interests as well as his own.
In 2018, Libyan Consul in Egypt, Adel Al-Hassi, accused Daghim of “financial and administrative corruption” while serving as MP, which led 34 other MPs to demand revoking Daghim’s parliamentary impunity and placing him under investigation.
Concerns over legal and ethical peril of appointing Daghim as ambassador go far beyond his controversial views. Shortly after the lawmaker’s patron, Dbeibeh, was selected as premier in 2021, a UN inquiry found in March 2021 that he allegedly gained power after his supporters offered bribes as high as $200,000 to attract votes.
No longer following the UN inquiry findings were released, it would emerge that one of those bribery accomplices was non other than Daghim himself. In June 2021, a video of him was leaked online, in which he informs Dbeibeh that he secured the votes of six members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) in exchange of appointing Ramadan Boujnah as Dbeibeh’s deputy.
“You have delegated us to do this,” Daghim told Dbeibeh in the leaked video.
During an T.V. interview in January this year, the lawmaker would go on to disclose that have had a “long-standing relationship” with Dbeibeh and that he voted for the premier in 2021 purely on the basis of “personal interests”.
فيديو | عضو لجنة الحوار والبرلماني "زياد دغيم" : " أنا إنسان مش ملاك ، وتصويتي لقائمة الدبيبة كان مبني على مصلحة شخصية".#العنوان #ليبيا pic.twitter.com/LmXYXuMbSG
— صحيفة العنوان الليبية (@address_libya) January 12, 2022
The lingering question now is: What will be the price of having Dbeibeh appoint Daghim as ambassador to the Netherlands?. Libyans have conjectured that he might lobby the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on behalf of Dbeibeh in order to implicate the latter’s political opponents in criminal cases. Others have expressed fears that Daghim might abuse his role to influence the Netherlands’ political position in Libya, which has long been rooted in neutrality.
The definitive answer to that question might not be available at the moment, but it is safe to say that whatever Daghim and Dbeibeh are plotting is going to be detrimental. The two of them sold Libya’s democratic future the last time they brokered a deal together.