Khalifa Haftar told Libyans to be ready for an all-out battle against corruption and political absurdity in a speech before a crowd in Ghat city south of Libya on Monday.
In his address, he called on the civilians to engage in this battle alongside the army and to “change the grim reality”.
Haftar, who was found liable for war crimes in an American court last July, said his forces “are ready to protect the people and the national and civil forces”.
He called on Libyans to set an example for the people of the world in freedom, civility, urbanization, growth, progress, reconciliation, and peacemaking.
The retired military commander, who is approaching his eighties, has for years been vying to become the leader of the country.
Since the so-called Dignity operation, he launched in 2014, Haftar had made non-stop coup attempts framed as a “war on terror” and fought to remove all civil authorities, including Libya’s first democratically elected parliament, the General National Congress.
He told the crowd that Libya had slipped into a dark tunnel at the hands of politicians and the parties competing for power.
“The battle of building the state cannot be won by speeches, lies, and hypocrisy, or by those who claim they are acting on behalf of the people, who should represent themselves,” Haftar added.