CAIRO: Opposition forces from across the political spectrum gathered at Al-Ghad party headquarters Wednesday to launch the “Egyptian Campaign Against Inheritance of Power, which opposes the mooted succession of Gamal Mubarak as the country’s next president.
The campaign is the brainchild of 2005 presidential candidate Ayman Nour, and includes numerous opposition parties and the Muslim Brotherhood.
It also has another moniker, Mayuhkumshi (He Will Not Rule).
Though oscillating in their political ideologies which are often in opposition to one another, attendees seemed united in their refusal to accept a handover from father to son.
“The constitution of this country is that of a republic, not a monarchy, Nour said, “This campaign is concerned with rights that have been violated for a long time, chief amongst them the right of the people to choose who rules and represents them.
Besides their opposition to the inheritance scenario, the coalition also made it clear that it was opposed to the continued rule of the incumbent president.
The organizers chose Oct. 14 as the launching date because it was the day President Hosni Mubarak assumed the presidency in 1981.
“Gamal Mubarak will not rule us; over our dead bodies. We will chase him in the courts and on the streets. There is no difference for us between the succession of Gamal or the extension of his father’s tenure, both are refused, said Kefaya Movement for Change coordinator Abdel-Halim Qandeel.
Kefaya was formed in the run-up to Egypt’s first multi-candidate presidential elections in 2005 and was opposed to the rule of President Mubarak.
Nour announced that Cairo University political science professor Hassan Nafie would lead the campaign during the preparatory stages. Nafie is considered a neutral figure who appeals to all groups.
At the Ghad party headquarters that were recently burnt down during the culmination of a party schism, and in front of a packed house gathering scores of foreign journalists, campaign members said they intended to go to court as well as organize acts of peaceful civil disobedience.
Mohamed El-Beltagy, deputy secretary of the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc, said, “We have a historic responsibility in defending the free will of this people . defending the right of Egyptian people to pick their rulers whenever they want, hold them accountable whenever they want and remove them whenever they want.
There was a noticeable absence of any visible security around the press conference, nor were there any central security trucks in the surrounding area.
Additionally, the campaign had placed speakers and a big screen in the balcony of the premises overlooking Talaat Harb Square in Downtown Cairo, which meant passersby often stopped to listen and watch.
Two Cairo University students standing across the road, Ramzy Attia and Karim Yehia, told Daily News Egypt that though the campaign might not succeed, it was about time the issue was publicly debated.
“It doesn’t have to make a difference, but at least someone is saying something, said Yehia, “because it needs to be said and it might encourage others to talk. And people who are here will tell others.
Attia said, “We thought of joining [Al-Ghad] in the past but they wanted us to do activities on campus but there is a State Security office on campus and we don’t need [the hassle]. However, off-campus we are willing to participate.
“We can’t leave the country in the hands of one or two, the father and then the son. If he wants to rule he must win through honest elections, not the elections we always have here. But still, he will rule; there is no doubt.
Both Yehia and Attia then went up to the party premises in the hopes of joining the Ghad Party.
An elderly man also standing in the street who refused to give his name, said, “I support whoever works for the interest of Egypt, and I wish for a better future for my children, but I don’t think they will succeed because they are going up against a much stronger foe.
Asked whether his participation could make a difference, he responded, “I am just one man amongst millions.
Campaign members were at pains to point out that they were still in the preliminary stages of the process, and would announce further plans in the future. There was, however, a sense of achievement that the many disparate political forces had come together to get behind this campaign.
“Islamists, Liberals, Leftists and Nationalists have joined this campaign knowing that fighting the inheritance of power is tied with the fight against the current corrupt, oppressive regime and fraudulent elections, said nationalist-leaning Karama (Dignity) Party MP Hamdein Sabahy.
You can follow the Egyptian campaign against the inheritance of power online at www.did-eltawrees.tv