Egypt: Back to Square one

The key lesson from Egypt is that institutional conflict does not lead to effective governance.

Editorial July 04, 2013
A poster of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi saying, "No substitute for the legitimacy". PHOTO: REUTERS

The Arab Spring unleashed in 2011 seems to be continuing. The removal of Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi through a military intervention marks a new phase of public mobilisation in Egypt and is a step in the wrong direction. Army Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on state television announced that the junta wants to “achieve the building of a strong Egyptian society that is cohesive and does not exclude anyone and ends the state of tension and division”. For Pakistanis, such words invoke a sense of deja vu as time and again the military chiefs have made similar promises to people.

Mr Mursi, who was elected with popular vote a year ago and represents the influential Muslim Brotherhood, made numerous mistakes and isolated himself through a set of policies and actions that enraged the popular opinion. His brief rule was viewed as divisive, incompetent and too heavy handed for a large number of citizens in the country. However, the real disappointment of Egyptians was related to the economy and the shrinking real incomes and scarcity of basic necessities such as fuel. Another critical factor impacting the events in Egypt has been the tacit Western support to the protests against Mr Mursi.

The key lesson from Egypt is that institutional conflict does not lead to effective governance. Mr Mursi, without consolidating his power base, took on the courts, the army, the police, the media and, therefore, opened multiple battle fronts, rather than concentrating on effective governance. The electorate voted for change in the country and expressed their rejection of the farce of secularism which the army had imposed without real democratic freedoms and political competition. Perhaps, Mr Mursi and his backers in the Islamists group took that as an endorsement of hardline policies that the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical groups have been advocating.

The Supreme Court has been complicit with the army in this derailment of democracy in Egypt. Mr Mursi may have angered people but coups are no solutions for complex political issues. In fact, such acts further deepen political crises as has been witnessed previously in Pakistan and countries of Latin America. The people of Egypt deserve better than a recourse to praetorian rule which suppresses democratic freedoms.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2013.

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syed wajih | 9 years ago | Reply

Everybody interpret the events as per his/her wishes. But the fact remains, that Muslim Brotherhood was single largest Party elected to govern by the people of EGYPT in their first independent acceptably held elections in decades. First Brotherhood's main Presidential candidate was disqualified by the Court and then before couple of days from the Presidential Elections, these kangaroo Courts dissolved Constituent assembly where Brotherhood was in Majority. Right from the day when in Morsi came in Power ARMY, Liberals of the country (who are in minority), West, US, and judiciary all were creating hurdles. Finally this petition signing drama - what an eyewash. What is legitimacy of the petition, against the genuinely elected leadership of the Country

One cannot forget the deaf, Dumb & Blind behavior of this Coalition of Judiciary, Liberal of Egypt politics, US & Military against despots like Mubarak & Anwar Us sadat, when they ruled the country for decades without any moral or legal justification. Hilarious is their argument when they say that since they wanted Morsi's impeachment and there was no clause of impeachment in the constitution they had no option but to ask the ARMY to intervene. It is similar to ‘dismantling of a rooftop of a house when you don’t find a drain pipe’. These dictators never organize elections as per their commitment. The democratic process is now derailed, God knows for how many years. But Liberals of Egypt, US, and their allied Arab rulers are happy that they have buried the politics of Brotherhood. Lets see who would have a last laugh.

expaki | 9 years ago | Reply

this thing BROTHERHOOD are not the elder brothers of Pakistani Mullah Moudoodi group, present day, Jamat e Islamai ? Anyway15 millions voted in to these religious scholars in and 25 millions co signed to kick them out.That is democracy, confirming that Egyptians do not want religious extremism in their country. WELL DON EGYPTIANS

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