Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Will the African Union Condemn Egypt?

Embattled Morsi
President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt was neither a despot, a tyrant or tin can dictator as his foes are trying to portray him. He was a democratically elected president of a country who received his mandate to govern at the ballot box with more than 51% of the votes cast in elections that were generally free and fair and conducted under the authority of the very military that has now used the excuse of demonstrations and civil unrest to oust him from power.

If this had happened in any Sub-Saharan country, the condemnations would have been pouring in thick and fast from; the United Nations, Western diplomatic missions and the African Union. But because Morsi is the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that is viewed with suspicion by many in the Western controlled international community, his ouster has not raised any ire in the West and the African Union countries are willing to turn a blind eye to a reversal of the democratic gains that have been made in Egypt.

I am neither a fan of Morsi nor of his party. I believe that religious interference in politics usually results in tyranny, especially from groups like the Brotherhood which if allowed to have their way will want to impose medieval rules that will restrict the rights of women and impose their dogma on even those individuals who are of different religious convictions. I believe that the only way religion and politics should mix is if the tenets of whatever religious party is in power is imposed only on members of that particular religion.

The removal of Morsi sets the negative precedent that democracy is good only when the winner of elections are popular with the Western controlled international community. Morsi has allegedly been removed from power for defying the "will of the people," but was it not the same "will of the people" that brought him to power in the first place? 

So which will of the people is important? The more than 13 million or 51% of the electorate who voted for Morsi for president or the less than 3 million opponents who were marching in the streets of Cairo requesting that he should be ousted? What about the will of the counter demonstrators?

The African Union should suspend Egypt just as it has suspended other members who have in the recent past engaged in military coups against democratically elected governments. Even the presence of the roadmap presented by the military leadership does not justify what has happened in Egypt. It is a military coup, pure and simple. Egypt should be suspended until fresh elections are either held or at least Morsi be given the chance to form a government of national unity, none of which is likely to happen.

All the fears of an Islamic takeover by Morsi and his followers were unfounded, there are enough safeguards in the current Egyptian constitution that would have prevented Morsi and his followers from imposing their beliefs on the rest of the country. The country already has constitutional courts and a semiautonomous military leadership just for preventing any over reach by Morsi and all the excuses so far given are weak at best. Morsi's crime is that he had wanted to assert his constitutional authority and the Egyptian military long used to being in charged, has used the excuse of the protests to oust a leader they see as a threat to their long standing privileged status in the country.

The coup in Egypt should be rejected and roundly condemned by the international community. It was an identical problem in Algeria in which elections that were won by the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) and rejected by the powers that be in the 90s led to immense civil unrest and conflict leading to a lot of bloodshed in the country.

Democracy can not only be good when those that you like are in power. What has happened in Egypt shows the hypocrisy of the international community as in democracy, it is only the will of the people that matters. A sad day for Egypt and a sad day for those who believe in the principles of true democracy.

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