Amr Fahmy
Last updated: 30 August, 2012

Morsi’s critics – not just a pinch of salt

Despite sending messages of reassurance that he won’t establish an Islamic state in Egypt, newly elected president Mohamed Morsi is questioned and criticised on his every move.

The Muslim Brotherhood figure has named Coptic activist Samir Morcos as one of his four assistants next to Mrs. Pakinam El Sharkawy. Furthermore, Morsi didn’t appoint a fellow MB figure as prime minister, instead opting for Hisham Kandil, a technocrat. But he remains a target for criticism from some secular parts of Egyptian society who still doubt his intentions.

During the presidential elections re-run, many secularists decided to boycott voting as they believed Morsi was equal to his rival, Ahmed Shafik, the former prime minister under ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Many liberal columnists believed Morsi wouldn’t be able to take Egypt from military to civil rule and accused the MB of arranging a deal with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, “SCAF”.

Only a few notable secularists like novelist Alaa El Aswany and ex-TV host Hamdy Kandil expressed their support for Morsi and were soon criticised by anti-Islamists like Coptic telecom tycoon Naguib Sawiris who accused El Aswany of switching his allegiance.

Morsi needed roughly 43 days to completely exclude military leaders from the political leadership as he asked both Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and General Sami Anan to resign, only one day after forcing intelligence chief Murad Mwafi to retire.

Morsi went even further as he annulled constitutional amendments announced by SCAF to restrict the president’s powers before the election results were made public.

Although many sectors welcomed Morsi’s decisions as an introduction for civilian rule for the first time since the 1952 coup d’état, the secular elite still expresses doubts.

After claiming that Morsi wouldn’t be able to end military rule, the decisions are now interpreted as paving the way for an Islamic state led by the MB supreme guide Mohamed Badie.

Liberal former MP Mohamed Abu Hamed even stated that Morsi’s expected visit to Tehran to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit is just a step to copy the Iranian ruling system in which another supreme guide enjoys utmost power. Abu Hamed himself called for a revolution against MB rule on 24 August but only a few hundreds showed up in some centric squares across Egypt.

Ironically, some of Morsi’s critics, including TV-host Tawfik Okasha, claimed that both the US government and Hamas supported the president to end the political role of SCAF.

Morsi’s religious tendency is also interpreted as a media show since his predecessor Mubarak didn’t use to show up for Friday prayers unlike the MB man does.

During his first month in power, Morsi convinced his Sudanese counterpart Omar Al Bashir to release Egyptian female journalist Shimaa Adel who was detained while covering protests in Khartoum, but once more the president critics labelled his efforts a “popularity hunt”.

The same term was used again when Morsi amended a law to prohibit detention of journalists while the editor in chief of Al Dustour daily was detained for printing false news about a plan by the president to assassinate 200 of his “political enemies”.

Whatever Morsi does he will be criticised even if he is proved right. It seems just as a friend of mine said: “If Morsi drinks coke he will be accused of supporting America at the expense of local production, and if not… he will certainly be accused of breaking down strong ties with Washington.”

The views in this article are the author’s and do not neccessarily reflect those of Your Middle East.