I’ve been hard pressed to recall a time when Egypt was not subject to the whim of one man. For the majority of my life that man was Hosni Mubarak, and prior to January 25, 2011, I remember we were whiling away the days wondering whether he would hand the reins over to his son at the next election (then slated for September 2011) or whether he’d keep going.
We never did find out, and even though the revolution has taken quite a battering in the intervening period, I had hoped that at least we had seen the timely demise of the one-man-ponders-while-the-whole-country-awaits-with-bated-breath scenario.
But then why, when everything else has been lost, would this little thing be left for us? It is foolish to think it is just because of an individual’s whim; well, a citizen’s whim, for some people are assuredly much more important than others.
And so, here we are again, years on, and Egypt is waiting on a bona fide announcement that will leave absolutely no space for doubt from another man in uniform, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. His latest pronouncement has been the most telling yet that he intends to run, but even then he still stopped short of explicitly stating his candidacy.
Why does it matter? He is most likely going to run and it’s only a matter of time and everything will be in place, why sweat the small stuff? Well, because I find the utter contempt our rulers continue to hold us in to be particularly galling. It isn’t a leap of logic to deduce that the much vaunted roadmap the new government regaled us with and treated as utterly sacrosanct (at first), has been amended and delayed and the main reason for this is to give the field marshal enough time to settle his affairs, as is necessary before he runs.
In the interim there has been a confusing array of statements, and decisions, and later reversals on these decisions. There was a presidential decree to open the presidential candidacy applications in February for example. That has come and gone without a whisper about it since.
Now we are waiting on a new presidential elections law, even though the newly ratified Constitution states that both presidential and parliamentary elections must be held within six months of its passing, leaving the presidential prerogative only for which will come first. Judging by the previous pace in these matters, we’ll be lucky if we have both a president and parliament in place by early next year.
Let’s not even consider the other candidates who have already declared they intend to run for a moment, and let’s consider that this entire country, with all the people in it, are again forced to accept their political future dictated along the lines of what best serves one person. The savior. Yes, this person is extremely popular and has a wide constituency, but for the entire process to be appropriated to serve the best interests of a single man, no matter how popular he may be, just goes to show that in some things, we haven’t moved on at all.