Sunday, December 9, 2012

(Opinion) Mohammed Morsi: too little, too late

Say what you want about politics as a profession or process but one thing that can be said about politics that would be true is that politics is not a game of half measures. Mohammed Morsi today has learnt this to his detriment as the Egyptian president “scrapped a decree… (that gave) him near-absolute powers”[1].Initially defending his move to usurp power Morsi has abandoned ‘sweeping powers’ that allowed Morsi to “declare emergency laws and him from judicial oversight”[2].

Morsi’s power grab has instantly split the country into two or at least the protesters in Cairo, Egypt’s capital. A prime example of the split manifested outside the presidential palace as “supporters and opponents of president Mohammed Morsi threw rocks and firebombs at each other” throwing the country into crisis[3]His usurpation of pharaoh-like power has been costly as it has sapped away any political capital Morsi may have had and sure not be forgotten due the death of seven Egyptians[4].

Mohammed Morsi must have seen this reaction coming as pulling power moves in a country with a healthy dislike for dictators is sure to spark widespread anger, just ask Hosni Mubarak. His mandate was narrow to begin with due to just beating a pro-Mubarak apparatchik narrowly as the nation effectively chose to go with the lesser of two hated but organized evils.

The only legitimacy Morsi had was to implement reforms that gave Egyptians more freedoms, the main reason, along with other factors, behind the revolution in the first place. Now he has to mend fences and make real concessions to bring the secular and liberal opposition to the table, probably starting with the draft constitution secular and liberal groups strongly disagree with as they contest that the document “only represents Islamists, disregarding the rights of liberals, women, workers, and Christians”[5].

In sum, Morsi has made a serious mistake in usurping ‘sweeping powers’ as he should have calculated that there would be a serious reaction to such news from a people who have grown a healthy appetite for protest and confrontation of power.

[1] A.R Hussein, 2012, Egypt: Mohammed Morsi cancels decree that gave him sweeping powers,
[2] Ibid
[3], 2012, Morsi supporters clash with protesters outside presidential palace in Cairo,
[4] The  Jerusalem Post, 2012, Morsi meets army chief, cabinet after clashes,
[5] H. Maher, 2012, ElBaradei says Morsi’s’ legitimacy ‘hangs by thread’,

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