Anger from the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood came to the surface Wednesday, following statements by the Acting Supreme Guide of the group Mahmoud Ezzat to begin a progressive limiting of the powers of the group’s international office, with the intention to close it completely in the future.
The dispute is the latest to emerge from the Egypt’s oldest political group. The Higher Committee, the authoritative body of the local branch, rejected Ezzat’s decision, citing the importance of the international office “in countering the military coup”, adding that “removing the office is not acceptable unless there is an administrative decision”.
The committee attempted to defy the authority of Ezzat, saying the current Deputy Supreme Guide “has ended his term, and it is impossible for its members to meet, as they are under arrest.”
Ezzat was appointed as Acting Supreme Guide after the detention of Mohamed Badie, who filled the position before the military-led ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Badie has received several death and life sentences in different cases related to the pro-Morsi Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in and the violence that surrounded its dispersal in almost every governorate of the country.
A spokesperson of the group said Wednesday that for the Supreme Guide to vote on any decision “there has to be a 50% +1 vote”. He added the committee is the only legitimate entity that is entitled to take such critical decisions. “The international office was established to be a platform to talk to the outside world and show the international community that there is an ongoing revolution in Egypt due to continuing oppression and killings. If it made some mistakes, there should be discussions and solutions not attempts to exclude.”
Ahead of the anniversary of the 25 January Revolution, the committee stated: “We call upon all the brothers to continue their revolutionary mobilisation to quell the military coup.”
On Sunday, the Higher Committee assigned the international office to establish a new board, after several members resigned due the latest dispute on appointing the official spokesperson of the group.
Hours later, Ezzat said the international office “committed several violations and refused the decisions of the group”.
The Brotherhood has been facing a violent crackdown following Morsi’s ouster. Many of the group’s members and leaders are facing prison sentences, or are wanted by the regime.