Egypt’s political transition must slow down

Abdel Latif el-Menawy
Abdel Latif el-Menawy
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I am extremely worried by how the situation is panning out in Egypt. I am extremely worried about several issues to the point that no matter how long my article can be, it’s not possible to list them all. It’s also not possible to wait for the date of my weekly columns to detail each issue I’m worried about so I will summarize these fears of mine, call for holding dialogue on them and warn of what I think poses a threat.

I know there are a lot of local and foreign pressures on the political decision-makers in Egypt. But the voice of the people must be the major motivator of the events. Based on this, I think there’s an amount of haste in committing to a schedule with tight deadlines to reach a phase of political stability through the constitution. We must note that the Egyptians have for two and a half years lived through political exhaustion, the worst of which was endured through the phase of the Brotherhood’s governance.

And so, when we launch a new political process that begins right away and lasts for at least another year, then we are truly complicating the surrounding public atmosphere and ramping up the pressures. Not to mention that the lack of time deprives new political entities, which sparked the second uprising on June 30, the chance to organize themselves. This will lead to traditional political parties dominating the upcoming political scene considering that these parties already have the experience and are already present on the arena.

The traditional parties I speak of also include the Muslim Brotherhood. It wouldn’t be surprising to find these heading the political scene once again.

I am also worried about the manner in which the cabinet is being formed. Egypt in this phase cannot afford going through this spiral of quotas and the division of gains. This is why I saw from the very beginning, that a cabinet of technocrats, with a limited number of ministers who are experts in their fields, will be formed to manage the crisis Egypt is going through. But the dialogue, the pressure and the disputes that happened over naming a premier and the interference of all influential parties, and of parties claiming to be influential, in choosing a PM was a huge mistake.

The mistake swelled after Dr. Hazem al-Beblawi was named. The problem is that some of these candidates considered for his post do not have the required expertise which makes them not competent enough. All what they possess is their political affiliation and some fame gained through media appearances. This led those concerned to intervene to put an end to these nominations. This is yet another mistake. Quotas and dividing gains is an imminent danger, so avoid it.

Now, the major concern which we must also work towards resolving is the economic crisis. This crisis will not be resolved unless we quickly act towards bringing back the wheel of production into action and unless we take measures to once again gain investor trust. Calls to support Egypt and calls on our brothers to support us will not resolve the crisis. Although these calls of support are important, we must be aware that we are the only path towards restoring production and investment. This is linked to a strong interim cabinet formed of experts capable of restoring trust.

I think there’s an amount of haste in committing to a schedule with tight deadlines to reach a phase of political stability through the constitution.

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

I am also very worried about the absence of proper representatives to deal with foreign parties. We were extremely angry when Western media described the Egyptian’s revolution which was backed by the army as a coup. It’s a justified anger. Yes. But what did we do? We stood to yell in anger announcing our rejection of the West’s stance. But amidst our anger, we forgot to address those whom should be addressed. We continued to speak among each other. Even the institutions and the people assigned to communicate with those concerned got occupied making local media appearances and forgot to address the foreign audience. The most important principle is that we speak to others in a language they understand and with a logic that convinces them.

The Brotherhood and its allies are making a big mistake with their ongoing protests calling for former president Muhammad Mursi’s return. The change has become a reality. What they are currently doing will only widen the gap between them and the rest of Egypt’s social fabric. They will become a group confronting a nation. This is a grave threat against the Brotherhood as it affects their future of being accepted among the Egyptians. But one here must inquire about the manner in which they are being dealt with during this phase. Is it the right approach to attempt lobbying them and their leadership? I think the chance is there for anyone who wants to be part of this nation but I am not with the lobbying attempts. I am, however, with the logic of moving forward and of creating a new fait accompli which all parties are forced to deal with.

I understand the resulting anger from some Palestinians and Syrians working with the Brotherhood and its allies in acts of violence or in preparation for terrorist acts. But this must not make us generalize all Palestinians and all Syrians. Egypt has always supported all Arabs, and it will continue to do so. Therefore, we must work towards putting an end to these campaigns against the Syrians and the Palestinians in general. Instead of generalizing, we must specify who the perpetrators are - and they are in fact known.

No one, whether an individual, party of group, can claim that they mobilized the Egyptians or that they have the ability to do so. We have all seen it with our own eyes and realized that the people were more developed and progressive than anyone who claimed to lead them. Therefore, the Egyptian people are to thank for the June 30 revolution. No one and no party has the right to claim that they possess the absolute right to express the aspirations of the people or that they have the right to represent the people.


Abdel Latif el-Menawy is an author, columnist and multimedia journalist who has covered conflicts around the world. He is the author of “Tahrir: the last 18 days of Mubarak,” a book he wrote as an eyewitness to events during the 18 days before the stepping down of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Menawy’s most recent public position was head of Egypt’s News Center. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom, and the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He can be found on Twitter @ALMenawy.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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