Egypt: Uncertain Future
One year is too small a period to judge the leadership of a nation that had suffered almost six decades of dictatorship. By this yardstick, ouster of the Mohammad Mursi’s government cannot be justified, given the fact that he could not have succeeded in stemming, let alone reversing, the rot. Yet Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood are not free from the blame of squandering the opportunity to restore the people’s faith in democracy. The Opposition—divided as it is in disparate groups ranging from worst kind of salafis to liberal democrats—too cannot be spared of the charge of being impatient with the pace of things.
Between themselves, the Brotherhood and the Opposition have provided the Army and perhaps the old Mubarak loyalists the ideal opportunity to sneak back into the power. Mursi should have been aware that the mandate they had won was not decisive enough to ride roughshod in matters of decision making in a nation emerging from three decades of puppet regime of Hosni Mubarak. They should have avoided ‘Ikhwanizing’ the administration as was evident from appointing 12 city mayors, assigning five major ministries, deputing seven provincial Governors and 13 counselors to Governors, from among their cadres. Media too suffered at the hands of Brotherhood with nearly 200 scribes being interrogated during the one-year reign. Several editors were removed at the Government’s behest. There appeared little scope for cheer on economic front from the beginning itself. The national wealth had already concentrated in the hands of extremely small coterie of military-backed tycoons and industrialists. Much of the tax reforms introduced during the year only annoyed the ones who began to feel the heat of the new powers-that-be. The nation witnessed over 500 public demonstrations and a similar number of strikes. The IMF refused to loosen its purse strings while highly influential petrol lobby kept defying the Government fiats and there was no let-up in energy crisis.
The Opposition, weak and heterogenous as it was, should have cooperated with Mursi in steering the nation out of the political mess and precarious economic crisis during the year. It didn’t. Perceiving the restiveness in the ranks of the Army and expecting its support in removing Mursi and the Brotherhood, it has only helped the former by default, thereby proving its immaturity. Overall, Mursi’s ouster is a great setback in restoring the popular rule in Egypt, the largest and the most enlightened Arab nation. Army’s itch for power and its incapacity to fulfill the popular aspirations are too well known to predict the future.