Why Egyptians shouldn’t vote for Shafiq
By Mourad Anouar
Morocco World News
Oklahoma City, June 7, 2012
Let me begin by saying that this is not meant to be interference in Egypt’s internal business. Nor is it some type of know-it-all position that I assume to have in order to mislead some Egyptian voters into voting for a particular presidential candidate. But as a keen observer of the electoral campaigns, which are now taking place in Egypt, I think it is everybody’s responsibility, especially for those who believes in democracy, to have his or her own say on one of the most important presidential elections in the Middle East.
This election is very important as the Tunisian President Tunisian Moncef Marzouki said, “That the Arab nations are awaiting the results of the Egyptian presidential election, and that these results will have an impact on the Arab Future.” More eloquently, a Saudi blogger said when he commented on a woman’s ink-stained finger after she cast her vote that, “The ink of freedom is more precious than all the oil which is owned by Arabs.”
That said, as an Arab who always dreamed of a better Middle East, I strongly believe that each country in this vast region has a great impact on the rest. Since both campaigns for the two presidential contenders seem to deepen Egypt’s polarization, I find myself compelled to share with you my view on what is going on now in Egypt as far as the presidential elections race is concerned, and at the same time present to you my reasons why Egyptians should not vote for Ahmed Shafiq.
First, let me begin with the fact that this gentleman, Ahmed Shafiq, appointed by Hosni Mubarak as Prime Minister until the latter was overthrown on Feb. 11, 2011. It is obvious that the reason why he had Mubarak’s trust during the last days of the latter’s regime was the ex-president’s strong belief that Shafiq was the best to crack down on the overwhelming revolution. To their dismay, Mubarak and Shafiq both failed and they were both removed from their offices. For this reason, I agree with some liberals and Islamist parties in Egypt that Shafiq is a bid by the Military council and Mubarak allies to roll back, in case he wins, the gains of revolution. Talking to State-run Al-Nahar TV, 8 May 2012, Shafiq countered this accusation by saying that “I was not part of the old regime. Rather, I was part of the Egyptian state… Nobody can deny me my right to serve the country where I was brought up, even the parliament of the revolution.”
Shafiq’s constant assurance that he was not part of the corrupt regime that had shaped the lives of Egyptians for 30 years can’t stand in front of another fact that he was appointed as Prime Minister when pro-Mubarak thugs on horses and camels attacked protesters in Tahrir Square. Dubbed as the Battle of Camel in the media, this catastrophic incident resulted in the death of 11 people and over 600 injured. In either case, being implicated or not, Shafiq is to blame for what happened in the battle of Camel. For those who defend him by saying that he had no knowledge, nor was he the mastermind of it, one would argue that he should be prosecuted for negligence, or for being unable to do something to prevent this fatal incident from happening.
Second, Shafiq was supposed to be banned from the presidential race in line with the political isolation law, which imposes a ten-year political isolation on senior former regime officials. But, due to some loopholes in this law, he was able to participate the presidential race because he, according to some law experts, gained the presidential candidate status before the issuance of the controversial law. Today, 06.07.2012, Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court announced that it will judge on June 14, the constitutionality of the political isolation law that may remove him from this race.
Third, it is so strange and incomprehensible that for the first time in the history of Egypt a citizen would run for the position of presidential election with 35 corruption allegations filed against him. None of the latter has been taken seriously. In any democracy, such corruption allegations would first of all delay any election until making sure the presidential candidate is cleared. But, Shafiq, for some reasons, has the immunity that keeps him away from any type of investigations. And since the Military Council has the upper hand in all Egypt’s affairs, Shafiq is certainly the military’s favorite.
Fourth, Shafiq’s military history invokes in mind the specters of last century’s coups in the Middle East, where a number of regions were targets of bloody coups and dictatorial rules, during which democratic development and institution building had been stifled. It is certain that people around the world, as in Egypt, are less inclined toward bringing back the military rule experience. It would be unwise to test it again in Egypt.
Now, if you are convinced that Shafiq is not the best one to run Egypt in these difficult times, you, the voter, are left with one choice, which is voting for Mohamed Morsi, who is due to square off in the runoff on June 16 and 17, against the last prime minister of ousted President Hosni Mubarak. And if you are one of those who criticize Morsi for being less charismatic with a reputation for consistently toeing the party line, which worries some Egyptians about this mind-set means he would still answer to the Brotherhood’s leader even if he became president, remember that you are now in a critical moment in your life, in Egypt’s and Middle East’s histories, in which a new Middle East is being shaped. Remember that when you are voting for Shafiq or Morsi that the first one was appointed to crush the revolution and the second was among those who participated in it.