Dami’s Lens: A Moses in Sight
It took 18 days of unprecedented mass protests in the streets to remove a leader of 30 years who had ruled his country in a self-styled leadership. A turbulent period of military rule marred by constant unrest and a shriveling economy followed, until last year’s free and fair presidential elections that brought the Islamist Mohammed Morsi to power. Now, reminiscent of what happened in 2011, it has taken just four days of mass demonstrations and public angst to depose Mr. Morsi in what many observers have termed a “revolution reset”. What had started as a protest to commemorate the first anniversary of Mr Morsi’s inauguration, has ultimately climaxed in a coup-mannered ouster, led by the military.
Opposition to Mr. Morsi had been building since November 2012, when he issued a “godlike” declaration immunizing his decrees from challenge thus granting him far-reaching powers, in an effort to ensure the constituent assembly could finish drafting a new constitution. The draft constitution ended Egypt’s all-powerful presidency, instituted a stronger parliament, and contained provisions against torture or detention without trial. Although the constitution called for freedom from discrimination, it did not specify whether women or religious minorities were protected. Also, other checks on presidential power remained ill-defined.
Even though Egypt’s pervasive public corruption was a major complaint by those who forced Hosni Mubarak from power, the assembly declined to borrow any international models to promote transparency. His further moves to entrench Islamic laws and concentrate power in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood also alienated many stakeholders. This move led to massive protests and violence throughout Egypt. Wednesday’s deposition of the president followed the expiration of a 48-hour ultimatum for reforms, issued by the military. While the country remains polarized between anti-Morsi protesters and pro-Morsi supporters, I couldn’t help but draw a Nigerian comparison.
Who is to blame? Morsi? The Islamic Brotherhood? Egyptians? The Military?
In April 2011, out of sincere expectations of transformation, many Nigerians (traditionally plagued by varying degrees of bigotry) adopted a new form of sentiment – a superstitious belief in names. This was quickly spread in the corridors of our ivory towers, decreed from the altars of spiritual guidance and endorsed by moral gatekeepers. As a result, we bullied an unlucky fellow into power with our overwhelming and naive support at the ballot. Since then, the only form of facelift that we have experienced is the burgeoning size of the bank accounts of subsidizers, ex-convicts, terrorists, militants and all those who are nothing but societal evils in saner climes. However, the matter of the confident but clueless one is for another day.
Africa’s largest party, nay gang of many thieves, runs the country in a manner akin to a village-square setting. The greatness of the party is in the emptiness of its continually-rebranded agenda. And despite the dismal performances of majority of its (s)elected members it continues to lay claim to the leadership of the state as a birthright. From poorly-formed policies to wasteful execution, this congregation from which our next set of leaders may emerge offers no remarkable relief in sight.
It’s barely three days since the dethroning of “Pharaoh Morsi”, and many Nigerians are already bandying the annoying cliché used to absolve a timid followership of responsibility – “hope our leaders are learning from this”. Unfortunately, if you are one of them, I’ll ask that you kindly reconsider the absurdity of your thoughts – Our leaders stopped learning a long time ago. If there is any education to be gotten from North Africa, it’s for US. You – who thinks a messiah is in sight, I – who believes my keystrokes devoid of actions make any meaningful impact and We – who continually trump protest in the face of temporary persecutions.
Saddening is the reality that unlike Egypt, most of our military leaders are already partisan members of the brainless ruling party.