Rowing Against the Tide

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Mansour
Mansour

African Union, Nigeria condemn undemocratic removal of President Mohammed Morsi by Egypt military

By Chinwe Okafor  |  Jul. 15, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

ONE year after Mohammed Morsi, first Egyptian democratic president was elected, the military overthrew his government, on July 3, after he failed to meet demands to share power with opponents, who thronged the streets of Cairo, in protest. The military took over after Morsi failed to meet the 48-hour ultimatum issued to him to resolve the country’s deadly crisis.

Adly Mahmud Mansour, a top judge of Egypt’s constitutional court, had been sworn in as an interim leader hours after the military ousted Morsi and put him under house arrest because of his anti-people’s policies. Mansour said after the swearing in that fresh elections would be conducted soon, but gave no indication of when it would be held. “The time had come to stop our industry of making tyrants. Elections would be held based on the genuine people’s will not a fraudulent one. This is the only way for a brighter future, a freer future, a more democratic one,” he said.

The removal of the president followed four days of mass protests against Morsi and a 48 hour ultimatum issued by the military, which expired on July 3. In his televised speech, Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi, a general said the armed forces could not ignore the call of the Egyptian masses.  He outlined the new roadmap for the future, and said Mansour would be given the task of running the country’s affairs during the transitional period until the election of a new president.

Mohammed Morsi
Morsi

World leaders have responded to the dramatic events in Egypt following the army’s overthrow of Morsi. The US President Barack Obama, said his government was deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove Morsi and suspend the Egyptian constitution. “I call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsi and his supporters. Given today’s developments, I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under US law for our assistance to the government of Egypt. The voices of all those who have protested peacefully must be heard including those who welcomed the developments and those who have supported President Morsi” he said.

David Cameron, British prime minister, said he was not in support of military intervention in Egypt. He noted that what needed to happen in Egypt “is for democracy to flourish and for a genuine democratic transition to take place. All parties need to be involved in that, and that’s what Britain and our allies will be saying very clearly to the Egyptians.”

Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, said what Egypt needs at this moment of continued high tension and uncertainty is calm and dialogue. “An inclusive approach is essential to addressing the needs and concerns of all Egyptians. Preservation of fundamental rights, including freedom of speech and assembly remain of vital importance. In their protests, many Egyptians have voiced deep frustrations and legitimate concerns. At the same time, military interference in the affairs of any state is of concern. Therefore, it will be crucial to quickly reinforce civilian rule in accordance with the principles of democracy,” he said.

Bashar al-Assad, Syrian President, said what had happened in Egypt was the fall of the so-called political Islam. “This is the fate of anyone in the world who tries to use religion for political or factional interests,” he said.

Egypt protesters
Egypt protesters

Morsi became Egypt’s first Islamist president on June 30 2012, after winning an election considered free and fair following the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak, former president. Morsi’s presidency was marred by constant political unrests and a sinking economy. The mass protests that led to the army’s intervention were called by the Tamarod movement, in response to worsening social and economic conditions. As at press time, neither the African Union, AU, nor any member country had commented on the coup in Egypt.

The African Union is not amused by Morsi’s ouster and has urged the military to ensure his safety.  Erastus Mwencha, AU deputy commissioner, said the union would soon meet to discuss the latest developments in the country. He said already the union has an agenda on what has happened in Egypt and if the country fails to listen to the continental body, it could lead to its suspension because the AU has zero tolerance for forceful seizure of power from a democratically elected leader.

“The road map ahead is to get in touch with the interim authority and to work with it to bring the country back to constitutional order. Under our principles, the route is quite clear for any undemocratic or unconstitutional change of government. Such a country is suspended immediately, and can only rejoin the organization once the constitutional order has been reinstated,” Mwencha said.

The Nigerian government has also condemned the ouster of Presient Morsi, by the country’s military. It therefore called for an immediate restoration of constitutional rule in the country. The ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement that the development is a truncation of the aspirations of the Egyptian people to freely express themselves through the ballot box. “This unfortunate development is a gross violation of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, which prohibits unconstitutional change of government. It constitutes a serious setback to the remarkable progress which Africa has made in fostering the culture of democratic governance in the continent. Nigeria calls for an immediate restoration of the democratic order in Egypt and urges the Egyptian Armed Forces to allow the democratic culture to thrive in the country.”

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