Lately I have been working with a group to manage the process of transition in Libya. The main element that is on the minds of most people in Libya deals with the question; What has been accomplished since the revolt? This question indicates a lack of information getting to the people, difficulties in the management of the process and the presence of the old guard mentality.
It would be unwise to think that violence would not take place in the coming months or years. The reason is because the people (any people in the world) do not change their methods in such a short time frame. Libya still has a large component of people that believe in the same governing style as the past government did. Mix that reality with the strong desire for quick change by the public. That scenario is like putting a match near gasoline.
At the moment there needs to be a very aggressive communication plan set out in tandem with an equal diplomacy effort to all tribes, rebel groups, political parties, religious factions and any other element of society that exists. Both the communication plan and the diplomacy effort need to reach out to as many people as possible.
The message must inform everyone that a period of time is needed to quell the element of violence that is still fresh in peoples’ minds. With that the diplomacy effort needs to ensure that all armed factions are informed as to the process of transition, steps that each faction must take to secure the peace and where they can assist with the transition process.
When and if violence does occur it will most likely start because people are not satisfied with the speed of transition or feel left out of the process. The only tool that is available to ensure violence does not take place is through communication. A government that uses threats of violence dies the same way – just as the past government went. Also it must be acknowledged that this is the time where a relapse of war can take hold. The next few months are tenuous as the patience of the people begins to wear thin, thus the need for a robust effort to reach out extensively.
The communication and diplomacy points to a large education program for the entire country. Goals need to be set, validated, marked and evaluated constantly. The people need to know what state the police, army and court systems are in. People need to know the people that are in charge and what their plans are. Right now there is not enough information getting to the people and there is no clear idea of what is going on.
Large public events/speeches need to take place. Newspaper articles written, radio and television interviews need to take place. If these actions are not taken we may see violence erupt.