Which way Egypt?

That the Arab spring has wrought momentous change to the Arab World would be an understatement.

After a brief respite of celebration at the newly found freedom, the region is now engulfed in interminable internecine that threatens to make most of the countries almost ungovernable.

Egypt is in the throes of deep economic and political crisis from which it will take decades to recover, if at all.

Three sides are at play claiming to represent the interests of the Egyptian people. On one hand are the Muslim Brotherhood who feel terribly aggrieved that their democratically elected leader has been removed from office.  Then  there are the radicals who through serious activism and street demonstration expressed their disquiet and dissatisfaction which the leadership of the Islamists President Morsi, who was removed from power by the Army which is the third factor in the debate.

The Muslim Brotherhood is adamant. They state quite categorically that they won in both rounds of the presidential election, although narrowly taking 51.7 per cent in the runoff. President was elected in a poll that was widely recognized as free and fair, but soon after assuming power chose to promote the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood who sponsored him for the position.  A new constitution crafted by an assembly heavily dominated by Muslim parties and subsequent referendum clearly set Egypt on the path to a theocracy rather than liberal democracy as had been the wish of the majority of the people.

At this point the legitimacy of the authority was subverted.

What has happened since is a matter which future political theorists will have to examine and address suffice to state that the Army is working in apparent protection of the liberal ideal.

At the same time it is a well known fact that the army is being opportunistic, supporting a cause they previously opposed while serving under Dictator Mubarak.

The radicals on the other claim that they brought out 33 million protesters on the street latest “day of rage” – a precursor to the overthrow of Morsi.

 The army, which has never been known to be democratic intervened in the crisis on behalf of the majority secular actors in the conflict, who feel that their hard won democracy had been  hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood and the other Islamic parties that dominated the Parliament which drafted a very “Theocratic” constitution.

No doubt each side had an arguable case and none is likely to get absolute support of the Egyptian people. Something has to give.

Sadly 300 people have so far died and many more are likely to perish as the determined military intend to clear the pro-Morsi demonstrators camped outside a Mosque in Egypt. Egypt and Cairo in particular is a very dangerous place, to which few tourists will venture thus crippling a major economic pillar.

They would like Egypt to return to normal life and put the economy and social life on its feet.

This now seems farfetched unless the three sides come together.

The Egyptians may have to learn from the Kenyan model where the 2008 elections divided the country in two. On one hand President Mwai Kibaki said he was the duly elected President while opposition leader Raila Odinga said he was the people’s President.

The problem was only solved when a grand coalition was formed in which the two sides agreed to participate in Government.

The coalition went on to deliver an economic recovery plan and a new constitution, major milestones for that country.

Categorized | Editorial

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