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Morsi and the erosion of legitimacy

These days, where rhetoric runs high and adrenaline runs even higher, it is worth taking a step back to take a look at things with a cooler head. Having said this, it is worth taking the news with a grain of salt. The latest chatter to have become widely accepted as fact surrounds the mandate …

Dr Mohamed Fouad
Dr Mohamed Fouad

These days, where rhetoric runs high and adrenaline runs even higher, it is worth taking a step back to take a look at things with a cooler head. Having said this, it is worth taking the news with a grain of salt.

The latest chatter to have become widely accepted as fact surrounds the mandate of President Mohamed Morsi; in the lead-up to 30 June, many voices are subscribing to the statement that the “legitimacy of President Morsi has eroded.”

Against my better judgment, I will preface my coming arguments by stating two simple facts: I have never voted for this president and I have faced a Muslim Brotherhood contender as a parliamentary candidate myself in the runoff of the 2011 parliamentary elections. In short, I have all the reasons in the world to go with the current hype, but I simply do not think it is right. While I fully comprehend the extent of mismanagement that President Morsi has displayed, I struggle to see his removal as a conceivable solution.

Let’s start with politics 101; the concept of having a legitimate mandate to govern through the winning of a democratic election remains the cornerstone of representative democracy. Therefore, the fact that we are aiming to launch a street movement to take down an elected president no matter how strong we feel he deserves it, is simply setting a chaotic precedent.

Arguments go further by saying that a mandate “is not a blank cheque”; hence people have the right to remove the president when he doesn’t deliver. I can somehow understand this statement; however what we are lacking here is due process. While it is all great that the Tamarod campaign has been collecting signatures, this is unfortunately not a procedure sanctioned by the laws of the land. Other arguments surrounding the same issue claim that “democracy is not only about the votes.” That is news to me! Perhaps, I may have been mistaken when I thought Egypt was looking for democracy while in fact we seem to be inventing our own form of democracy. Egypt is stumbling into state of disarray. It is fair to say that not only are we progressing backward, we are doing so with dizzying velocity.

What we are now faced with is not sustainable by any stretch. What we have here is many people shunning political life and choosing the revolutionary way as means for change. It is all fun and games to pull a Che Guevara for a bit, but it gets pretty old after a while to continue on this revolutionary mode. In a country with 90 million inhabitants, plagued by acute socioeconomic problems, that will be quite the irresponsible thing to do. What Egypt needs to aim for is a true political transition by means of mass political participation. Now, I fully understand that what I am saying is boring, not sexy and does not provide immediate solutions, but all other scenarios are gloom and doom.

To sum it up, this so called “erosion of legitimacy” is a contrived statement aiming to vent anger and frustration.  It is everyone’s right to be angry and frustrated, however we must ensure that we channel such frustration into the same political process that we are disenchanted with. That is unfortunately what democracy is all about. That is, of course, if we still believe in it.

Mohamed A. Fouad is a global expert on service quality as well as a political and social activist.

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  • Let’s pull this down to a smaller scale, shall we? Let’s say that your family has elected your wife to handle the money of the household. Then, she promptly goes and gamble away the entire funds. And she keeps doing this every month.

    You are in deep shit at this point since your family was in deep economical problems to begin with. So, she goes to the neighbours to borrow money to “solve” the problems. Those neighbours are not especially naive and knows what kind of situation you are in, so they demand very high interest on the money to “save” you. So, by lending money from the “nice” neighbours, she is digging your family even deeper into the hole you were in to begin with. That hole is a pretty black one.

    She has been elected for four years to keep doing this.

    Tell me now: will you continue to trust your wife in this situation? Would it perhaps be better to get someone else to do it? Someone more capable of handling things?

    There is the principle of democracy, and there is stopping the train from going outside the cliff.

    • crescent5

      It’s clear that in a contest between Morsi and Shafiq, people preferred Shafiq. Now, they don’t like their choice, and they’re saying- no – we want a do-over. Will they do this every time an elected official does a bad job? What kind of stability will this bring? Or will we just keep switching presidents every year until we find one we like? I’m probably going down June 30- but because I want to send a message- not actually force the current, elected president to step down in favor of a military coup.

      • You make some good point here, and as i said: democracy is not a simple, black and white process. I guess the Egyptian people needs to find what works for them. Direct democracy could be an alternative for a this country. Referendum on every, single decision until trust is established.

        The main problem now is the total lack of trust between all political players. Trust is needed to get anything going longer term.

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  • Ibrahim Ben Nemsi

    For many years, the propaganda of Al Qaeda has been telling Muslims around the world that the only way to get rid of corrupt, un-Islamic rulers is by armed struggle.

    This narrative took a serious blow when the revolutions of the Arab Spring showed to the world that autocratic regimes sponsored by the West can be brought down though peaceful mass protests, and also, that Islamic movements can come to power through democratic elections.

    This is the reason why the US is supporting moderate Islamist governments in Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey, not out of sympathy or common ideology. Their message to the Muslim world is: “You don’t need to turn to terrorism to live in an Islamic state.”

    Besides, they realised that the best person to convince an ultra-conservative Muslim that terrorism is wrong is a conservative Muslim who speaks the same language, not a westernised liberal.

    Given these facts, there is no way avoiding the truth that a victory for Tamarod would be an unintended victory for Al Qaeda, making it much easier for their propaganda to convince angry young Muslims that democracy is a charade and that only through bullets, not ballots, an Islamic state can be achieved.

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