Update: Tamarod rift worsens

More signs of a divisive rift within Tamarod (Rebel) — the grassroots campaign that led to former President Mohamed Morsi’s downfall last summer —appeared on Monday evening.

The split began when the group’s official website declared it was officially endorsing Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for president, contradicting its own Facebook page, which endorsed Hamdeen Sabbahi.

On Monday, Tamarod held an emergency general committee meeting had appointed a special taskforce to run the group’s campaign to support Sisi’s presidential bid, naming Tamarod founders Mahmoud Badr, Mostafa al-Sewaisy, Maha Abu Bakr and Mohamad Nabawy as the official spokespeople for the campaign, according to the website.

The statement added that the official website was the campaign’s only mouthpiece.

The power struggle began after a statement was posted on the movement’s official Facebook page announcing a campaign to collect signatures for presidential hopeful Sabbahi, launching an online struggle between different factions of the group.

On the page is a link to a Google document that Sabbahi supporters can sign, along with the brief statement maintaining that “we [at Tamarod] respect the other’s opinions.”

Tamarod had announced its support for Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last December should he choose to nominate himself for president. On Saturday, it suspended three of its members for “violating the movement’s agreement” to endorse Sisi.

Hassan Shahin, Mohamed Abdel Aziz and Khaled al-Kady had chosen to back Sabbahi instead.

Moustafa al-Seweisy, member of Tamarod’s central committee, told Mada Masr in a previous interview that while the movement’s members are free to support whomever they see suitable to lead the country, the suspended members had agreed with the movement to endorse Sisi.

On Sunday, Tamarod founder Mahmoud Badr had announced that the movement’s Facebook page was hijacked and that it no longer represents the movement’s views.

Later that day, a statement was posted on the Facebook page endorsing Sabbahi.

The statement said that Tamarod “was and still is a popular movement” that comprises different political ideologies and inclinations and therefore does not belong to a specific individual or group but to whoever worked on collecting signatures for it.

“It is normal for there to be different points of view inside Tamarod,” the statement read, “that is the essence of the democratic process.”

The statement therefore continues that the undersigned founders and officials of the movement’s committees and executive offices endorse Sabbahi’s candidacy “because he is the clear choice given his stance against Mubarak’s corrupt networks as well as the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organization.”  

“The essence of democracy is the diversity and respect of opinions. Therefore Tamarod appreciates and respects its other members’ opinions,” the statement read.

“We do not seek to vilify or attack those who disagree with us,” it added. 

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