Opposition parties in orbit

Firas Al-Atraqchi
4 Min Read

Gamal Mubarak, head of the National Democratic Party s Policies Committee, is getting married in early May. Congratulations to Mr Mubarak and his bride. But what is disconcerting about the upcoming wedding is the hoopla and near hysteria displayed by the so-called opposition newspapers. They have hatched conspiracy theories that the marriage is a means for Mr Gamal Mubarak to succeed his father, President Hosni Mubarak. Why, they ask, did Gamal Mubarak not marry till now? Surely this must mean a plot is afoot. That is incredibly petty. There is an abundance of problems to be found in Egypt s political processes and the least thing on my mind as editor of this paper is Mr Gamal Mubarak s wedding. Leave the man alone, his marriage is a private matter and consequently should be left out of the mandate of opposition parties and their criticism of the government and its running of the country. It is entirely astounding that political commentators in this country have lowered themselves to ridiculing the marriage. Have they nothing else to comment on? And what of the opposition newspapers – surely they realize they are engaging in the worst forms of character assassination and yellow journalism. Have the opposition newspapers so lost their readers that they must resort to supermarket tabloid fare? There is a gross disconnect between the opposition parties (and movements) and the populace in this country. Since the presidential elections in September 2005, the opposition parties have faced internal strife, lack of vision, in-fighting and loss of support. Opposition parties are generally established to offer the electorate an alternative to the manner in which the majority government is running the country. Opposition parties must have effective platforms – social, economic, financial – on how they would run affairs should they ever be voted into power. I have yet to see such platforms. All I see and hear is criticism of the government, little else. Give the people alternatives … Two years ago, when Mr Ayman Nour was running for president, I sent a journalist out to interview him about his platform – where he stood on the economy, taxes, tariffs, foreign affairs, etc. He answered that indeed he had a platform and it would be ready soon. Later, when pushed on the same issue, he said the platform would be available on his then party s website. Unfortunately, Egypt has 40-50 percent illiteracy and one must wonder how many of those who can read and write have access to the Internet. What is a democracy if it does not address the needs of the people and communicates directly to them? Egypt s opposition parties should understand the concept of the four Es: educate, empower, evaluate, emancipate. The media hoopla surrounding Mr Gamal Mubarak s wedding is just a desperate attempt by opposition parties and commentators to try and regain some legitimacy with the Egyptian people by creating controversy where there is none. It betrays the impotence and disarray of the opposition movement.

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