Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

3 February 2013

Egypt: Hosni Mubarak Will Have the Last Laugh in Riotous Egypt

opinion

Ailing and incarcerated former President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak must be watching with awful feelings and indignation events unfolding in his country.

When rioters took to the streets in 2011 culminating in the fall of his regime, Egyptians thanked God for the removal from power of a man they accuse of denying them basic freedoms in life.

In short, a revolution that guaranteed Egyptians freedom to speak, assemble and even elect their leaders was an absolute necessity.

The whole world, including the Americans who bankrolled Mubarak's military regime for many years with millions of dollars annually, stood in support of the Egyptians as they battled to free themselves from a repressive regime.

We all wished the Egyptians well and hoped that the Arab Spring revolutionary spirit that started in Tunisia with the fall of President Ben Ali, would eventually be replicated elsewhere in autocratic Arab nations for the good of the oppressed people.

Of cause the Libyans did manage, with the help of Nato fire power, to overthrow and eventually kill Muamar Gadaffi, Yemen has had a regime change and the Syrians are still battling their man, Assad.

But events of the past two weeks in the Egyptian cities of Ismailiya, Suez and Port Said are a source of concern. They do not reflect a good out come of the new found freedom.

Young men and women are back on the streets seeking to overthrow the recently elected government of President Morsi. For more than two weeks, demonstrators have fought street battles with security forces and it is believed that nearly sixty people have been killed during the skirmishes.

Now Morsi, who came to power on the promise of change following demonstrations that toppled Mubarak, has declared a month-long state of emergency in the three cities of Ismailiya, Suez and Port Said - which has seen the worst of the violence in a bid to restore calm.

The 9pm to 6am curfew has largely been defied and thousands of protesters keep demonstrating each day demanding he steps down.

In short Egypt is sliding into anarchy where by civilians now feel entitled to change government any time as long as they amass in large numbers on the streets.

There seems to be a feeling among Egyptians that since they managed to topple Mubarak, a decorated military man, who ruled with an iron fist and with the backing of the military for more than three decades, then they can force a change of government any time. The new found freedom seems to be too difficult for the people to manage. What is happening now is tantamount to misuse of this new freedom.

Morsi, like any human leader, certainly has his own share of weaknesses but Egyptians seem to be impatient and won't give him time to sort the country's out.

At the end of the day, they must come to terms with the fact that running to the streets to demonstrate every time the government has fallen short, is not a solution to the country's problems. It is even wrong to suggest that forcing an elected regime out of power through protests (even though power belongs to the people) is not the best way of solving governance issues.

Such means of changing leadership are disruptive and destructive and must therefore be avoided especially when cheaper options are available.

Looking at what is happening in Egypt and threats of a second revolution in Libya, it is hard to see the benefits that accrue from the fall of the past autocratic regimes especially with eminent economic collapse.

In the case of Egypt, Mubarak must be feeling vindicated even as he serves his prison sentence on his death bed. At the end of the day, he will have the last laugh as he prepares to meet his creator while watching those who threw him out of power turn against each other as they tear the country apart.

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