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.