Muslim Brotherhood supporters have lectured everyone about protecting ‘legitimacy’, but what legitimacy are they talking about? Is it of the state? Is it of the institutions? Or is it Morsi?
The Shura council which continues to issue contentious laws has been declared illegitimate by the constitutional court. The constituent assembly was illegitimately protected by Morsi with a constitutional declaration that was not backed by a popular referendum. The constitution itself has a weak mandate with a very weak showing and a not even two thirds of a yes vote that was required inside the assembly itself overshadowed with grave irregularities, instability and at times tampering.
We’re left with Morsi, the ‘legitimate’ president whose hairline victory his opponent with the weakest possible mandate of under 52 per cent. But even if we were to acknowledge the legitimacy of such a process can we still consider Morsi a legitimate president today?
Here are a few reasons why Morsi lost his legitimacy.
Breech of contract
There is a difference between performing poorly in a job and breeching a contract. The presidency’s mandate is to serve the people not a specific group. When law is used as a tool for oppression, when activists are kidnapped and tortured to death, when prisons are used to eliminate opposition rather than harbour convicted criminals, it becomes a breech of contract. There are numerous promises made by the president which he broke. The easiest to point to are the 100 days promises, a representative constituent assembly and a consensus constitution. All these promises have been broken.
Minority rights are an indication of how successful a democracy is. Under Morsi, minorities have been even more marginalized and discriminated against. Instead of going into details about how Shia’a, women and Copts are being side-lined, we can see clearly where Morsi went wrong. In April 2013, Egyptian police attacked and aided an attack on the Coptic Cathedral of St. Mark. This was a state sponsored attack, and no one was held to account. It was a deviation from the democratic mandate colossal enough to depose any ruler.
Impunity and Police Brutality
Police brutality ignited mass public protests in 25 January 2011. Yet under Morsi, the police continues to act with impunity and is arguably even more brutal than before. Failing to address this, Morsi becomes an extension to a regime that has already been deligitimized by the people.
Instead of cleansing the judiciary, Morsi has tried to manipulate and abuse it by appointing a lying minister of justice and a biased public prosecutor. The minister of justice lied about a forensic report and the public prosecutor asked innocents to be locked up without a formal charge.
Ikhwan supporters brag about the will of the people bringing Morsi to power, yet that will is completely ignored by the president. None of the people’s demands have been met or listened to effectively. This complete disregard for input provided by many of the people who elected Morsi and even those who did not is reason enough for people to decide to give the responsibility to someone else. Furthermore, in absence of a parliament, no decisions are taken with participation from any other party. There is no power sharing and what’s worse no indication that there is a will to change that.
A new constitution should change the conditions under which a president was elected. There are new inputs which may change people’s decision about who they want as president based on the newly drawn role. The president’s job description changed therefore annulling his election.
Since Morsi does not take any of the decisions on his own anyway, he is not the person people elected and therefore when people do not get who they elected, it is enough of a reason to put in place someone else that they choose.
Numerous factions of society have been alienated by Morsi’s policies. These include farmers, workers, judges, doctors and even the police. When policemen committed to protecting the regime chant ‘Down with the General Guide’s rule’, this is an indication of deeply rooted sentiments that cannot be ignored.
On its own, lying once to the people is enough of a reason to remove any president from power. Morsi was caught lying beyond any reasonable doubt. This is not only about promises he broke like his 100 day campaign promises, nor about policy shifts like his position on the emergency law which he changed. This is also about lying to the people before the elections in order to get elected. Before being elected, Morsi lied about working in NASA as a consultant, then lied again denying he ever said it. He lied to the Egyptian people in a public statement claiming that the prosecution had obtained confessions of protesters being funded by opposition. Lies about the history of a presidential candidate delegitimizes him once they've been uncovered, and they have.
(Note: Although I’ve offered 9 reasons why Morsi is no longer president, I resisted calling the article ‘9 Reasons Why Morsi is No Longer President’ I must confess I have a slight distaste for such titles stemming from their repetition yet I also find them alluring and would probably read something which had such a title)