Sunday, 7 July 2013



The overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy and the installation of Chief Justice Adly Mansour as the interim president has led to widespread wrong prognosis of the status of the Arab Spring revolutions.
Although most Western countries like America and Britain openly encouraged the military coup, the overthrow of the government is wrongly seen by many as a damaging setback for democracy and reforms in the Arab world. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The coup must be condemned but it must be rationally contextualised.
The coup is a mere corrective procedure of the revolution. It fills the gaps left by the democratic movements and revolutionary people of Egypt.
The revolution, depending on how violently the Muslim Brotherhood fights back, will be brought back much stronger. The true showdown between the people of Egypt and their Pharaonic rules that was avoided by the revolution is now primed to occur.
Egypt, like many countries in the Arab world, was subject to many years of dictatorship, gross abuse of human rights and violent oppression.
The misrule of governments in the Arab world was always under the supervision of either an American patronage or British visceral supervision.
Civil societies and organised oppositions were rare in the Arab world.
So when the Arab Spring broke out and one regime fell after the other, there were no credible and ready leaders to take power and run the states.
Many of the leaders who rode on the wave of the revolutions had no experience in running states or even local governments.
The post-revolution paralysis of the new administrations, whether in Libya, Tunisia or Egypt, must be appreciated in that context.
That is why when Hosni Mubarak was overthrown, the Muslim Brotherhood resolved not to field a presidential candidate.
Its top leaders rightly reasoned that the organisation didn’t have experience in the running of government.
It is only when they realised that Mubarak’s government was intent to continue in another form that Morsy was pushed to the front.
So is the democratic experience in the Arab world dead? Far from it. It is booming and flourishing. But it urgently needs bolstering.
The military coup in Cairo is a mere tracing back of the revolution. It is temporary and it will fail.
The Arab Spring was, indeed, a velvet revolution. Dictatorial regimes that oppressed their people for decades were overthrown in quick succession by civilian demonstrations.
But velvet revolutions, unless followed by a root and branch overhaul of the states, will end in tears. That is what is happening in Egypt.
The biggest mistake Morsy committed was failing to treat Mubarak and his regime like cancer.
You don’t allow the same Mubarak judges to scuttle the revolution, you fire them or jail them to rot in prison.
You don’t allow the same Mubarak security intelligence to thrive; you let them rot in jails and detention camps.
Apart from the naivety of the Morsy regime or his sheer incompetence, his failure to purge the Mubarak regime remains his biggest mistake.
The Egyptian revolution was a soft revolution. Soft revolutions are those that change government without shedding blood.
Revolutions that change dictatorial regimes must ideally be violent and bloody.
The people’s resolve roots the revolution deep in the ground and makes it withstand the harsh elements of reality.
Morsy’s supporters must confront the new Pharaohs of Egypt and resolutely fight the last decisive battle of the revolution.
Ahmednasir Abdullahi is the publisher, Nairobi Law Monthly.

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