by Haitham El Tabei
by Haitham El Tabei
CAIRO, Oct 3, 2012 (AFP)
President Mohamed Morsi came to power with ambitious plans to solve the country’s woes, but his first 100 days have left Egyptians divided over his achievements so far.
Some say he is off to a good start, others say he has dashed their hopes of tangible change, while still others praise his defiance of the powerful military.
During his electoral campaign, Morsi laid out a detailed 64-point plan to provide quick solutions to the country’s chronic problems in a bid ease the daily struggle of millions of Egyptians within 100 days in office. The issues he listed included traffic, security, rubbish, bread and fuel.
The pledge prompted activists to set up the Morsi Meter website to track the fulfillment of the president’s promises.
With the end of the period just round the corner, the site whose Facebook page garnered more than 100,000 “likes”, said that Morsi, who ran on the ticket of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, had fully achieved four points and started work on 24 others since taking office on June 30.
It said 43 percent of respondents in an online survey it conducted were satisfied with his achievements. It did not give details of the poll.
Another survey conducted by a cabinet think tank and published in the state-owned Al-Ahram daily said 37.2 percent of Egyptians had not even heard of the 100-day pledge, while 46.2 percent believe that he will have achieved only parts of his promises.
Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said Morsi will announce “all that has been achieved in his first 100 days in office with full transparency and clarity.”
On the Egyptian street, reviews were mixed.
“Nothing tangible has changed in the first 100 days,” said investment banker Karim Mohammed, as his car rolled slowly in Cairo’s notorious gridlock during his one and half hour daily commute to work.
“The traffic crisis has eased in some areas but it is still the same in others,” he told AFP.
“It will not be resolved in 100 days, it needs a lot more time, Morsi made a mistake by promising to resolve the daily issues in 100 days,” said Mohammed, who voted for Morsi in the second round of presidential elections in June.
As part of his plan, Morsi vowed to rid the streets of the piles of rubbish building up across the country.
“The country could have been managed better than the way Morsi is handling it,” said Ragia Tarek, 22, who works for a dairy company.
She said she still has to walk past garbage on her way to work every day from her home in the working class Imbaba neighbourhood.
“Nothing has changed, except for the security situation, but things are still bad,” she added.
In the past three months, Egypt has experienced increased power cuts that sometimes last for hours, while a fuel and diesel crisis has at times paralysed the country, with mile-long queues forming outside petrol stations. Prices for gas cannisters — used in many homes for cooking and heating — have spiked.
Housewife Ilham Mostafa said she buys her gas cannisters on the black market for 50 Egyptian pounds (nearly eight dollars), a tenfold increase over their official selling price of five Egyptian pounds.
“I buy bread that costs five times more than the government subsidised bread, which Morsi promised to improve because it is not fit for human consumption,” she added.
The Morsi Meter website said the president had failed to address the bread problem and the independent Al-Shorouk daily said that five people were killed in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria as they fought to get to the front of the bread queue.
“I don’t see any improvement in any area where he promised reform,” said Mostafa but conceded that “the problems of the past 30 years cannot be resolved in 100 days.”
Fady Girgis, a government employee, said he waits for two hours at a petrol station every time he tries to fill his battered old orange car with diesel.
“Things have not improved since before the revolution” that toppled president Hosni Mubarak last year.
But Girgis, who took part in the protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, said that despite all that, Morsi managed to remove military rule.
“That is one thing to his credit,” he told AFP.
On August 12, Morsi forced the leadership of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces — which oversaw the transition from Mubarak’s rule– into retirement.
Morsi had been involved in a bitter power struggle with the SCAF, which had issued a constitutional document granting the army sweeping powers. That document was later revoked by Morsi.
“Its’ enough that Morsi rid us of the military council, this was not expected at all,” enthused Essam Abdel Hamid, 48, who owns a mobile telephone shop in Cairo.
Abdel Hamid said the rest of the crises facing Morsi “need people to stand together.”
As for Mohammed Said, 65, who owns a small grocery store, Morsi has dashed people’s hopes.
“Nothing has changed,” he said.