Thursday, July 11, 2013

Egypt: Mohammad Mursi an author of his misfortune |

‘He always acted to protect the interests of his Muslim Brotherhood, not Egypt’s’
  • By Ramadan Al Sherbini, Correspondent
  • Published: 13:55 July 10, 2013
  • Image Credit: EPA
  • A man paints anti-Mursi graffiti outside the presidential palace in Cairo last week. Mohammad Mursi and the opposition were locked in a political dispute for most of his short-lived presidency. They accused him of betraying the revolution that brought him to power.
Cairo: Mohammad Mursi’s failure to act as an inclusive president and address Egypt’s economic and social problems expedited his fall only one year after he took office, according to political experts.
“He always acted to protect the interests of his Muslim Brotherhood, not Egypt’s,” said Mohammad Al Desouki, an analyst in the state-run newspaper Al Ahram.
Al Desouki cited the Brotherhood’s angry reaction when the UAE arrested 10 Egyptians from the Brotherhood charged with setting up an anti-government clandestine organisation in the country and illegally sending money to the Islamist group in Egypt.
“In sharp contrast, Mursi and the Brotherhood lifted no finger to assist Egyptians held in other countries.”
“He did not keep any of his promises, triggering instead divisions in Egyptian society. These splits were so serious that they drove the country to the brink of infighting,” Al Desouki told Gulf News.
“Mursi and his group sought to reshape Egypt’s identity, long based on moderation and harmony, to a country where its citizens would be judged according to their religious backgrounds, not competence.”
On July 8 last year, after taking office, Mursi ordered the reinstatement of the parliament, where Islamists had held more than two thirds of the seats. The legislature had been dissolved by the country’s top court weeks earlier.
“I think the first real nail driven in the coffin of Mursi’s presidency came in November when he issued a constitutional declaration that expanded his powers and made his decrees beyond judicial review,” said Al Desouki.
The charter incensed the judiciary and the secular opposition that accused Mursi of becoming a dictator.
Mursi and the opposition were locked in a sharp political dispute for most of his short-lived presidency. The opposition accused him of betraying the revolution that brought him to power, while his supporters charged that the opposition deliberately caused street turmoil to give a bad public impression about his administration.
Mursi’s Islamist allies surrounded the Supreme Constitutional court for nearly a month last December to prevent it from ruling on a case requesting the dissolution of the Islamist-led Shura Council, which acted as a temporary legislature.
“His leadership lacked in wisdom and rationality,” said Al Desouki, citing Mursi’s handling of Ethiopia’s decision to divert the course of the Blue Nile to build a grand hydraulic dam.
“It was a disaster to discuss such an issue, with its serious implications on the national security, live on the air,” he said, referring to a crisis meeting between Mursi and political leaders who did not notice that their suggestions to bomb and cause unrest in Ethiopia were being shown live on Egyptian state television.
Mursi was also at loggerheads with critical media whom he accused of being illegally funded and collaborating with loyalists of his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.
In March, Mursi’s supporters besieged the state-run Media City near Cairo for several days to protest TV stations, which used to sharply criticise the Islamist leader’s policy.
In a televised address he gave on June 27, six days before the army ousted him, Mursi named and lashed out at certain business tycoons accusing them of funding a “counter-revolution” against his rule.
“He was a good listener, but did not take real positive steps because the Guidance Bureau was the one which controlled the decision-making process,” said veteran writer Sekina Fouad, referring to the Brotherhood’s influential body. Fouad was an advisor to Mursi before she quit last November to protest his decision to expand his powers.
“The bitter legacy of his presidency prompted the people to stage a revolution against him,” Fouad told the private station ON TV. “He failed to solve the daily problems of the people who suffered from shortages of petrol and electricity in an unprecedented way.”
Large numbers of disaffected Egyptians turned out on June 30, which marked Mursi’s first year in office, and demanded he step down and call early elections.
Army chief Abdul Fatah Al Sissi gave the country’s politicians, including Mursi, a 48-hour ultimatum to “respond to the people’s demands”. Two days later, the army overthrew Mursi and has since kept him in its custody in an unknown location.
“The millions took to the streets (on June 30) due to the Brotherhood’s abysmal failure in managing the country. The army just responded to the people’s wish without being interested in taking power,” said Fouad.
Mursi’s backers condemned the move as a “coup against legitimacy” and vowed open-ended protests until he is restored to power. His term was to end in 2016