A lecturer of International Law at the University of Lagos, Edefe Ojomo, while discussing African Union’s (AU) rationale for suspending Egypt following the removal of President Morsi, argued the that consent of many Egyptians to the military intervention should not be regarded as unconstitutional.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, she said that asides from military coups, a revolution as seen in Egypt could also be unconstitutional, by AU standards.
She however explained that if the “constitution gets its backing from the people, then obviously public opinion and public will can’t be unconstitutional.”
She attributed the success of 20 million signatories to the petition against the Morsi led administration to dissatisfaction by the people including those who had initially voted the ousted President into power.
She said the democracy, as interpreted by Egyptians, means the ‘people’s voice”
The uprising which led to the Egyptian Army ousting President Mohammed Morsi from power barely a year after being elected into power, was caused by people’s dissatisfaction.
Ojomo noted that the crisis, which involves international politics, domestic politics and domestic economy would not spiral into a civil war.
“People don’t think it will spiral into a civil war because the Egyptian army is strong enough to maintain ‘some calm and some peace’.”
She disagreed with claims that external influences were involved in the uprising adding that “it is insulting to call a popular uprising a sort of manipulation” by outsiders.
She regarded it as a political manner of interpreting such problems.
A Professor of International Law at the University of Lagos, Akin Oyebode on Friday averred that the intervention by the Egyptian military in the nation’s democracy saved the country from total shut down.
Prof Oyebode, a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said that the ousted President, Mohamed Mursi displayed political ‘naivety’ by ignoring the citizen’s demands for better governance.
He added that Mursi has been playing with power even though he ‘merely’ won the election.
Speaking about the over 20 million Egyptians who signed a petition against the Mursi led government, Prof Oyebode described the Egyptian Army’s moves as ‘calculated’.
He warned that all African countries should be weary because nothing invites the military more than bad governance.
Although ex-president Mursi was educated in America and had a doctorate degree from the University of Southern California where he was made assistant Professor, Prof Oyebode said “he ought to have demonstrated greater political savvy”.
He added that the exit of Mursi signals the collapse of religious politics in Egypt, ‘the epicenter of Arab civilization,’ which was the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda.
Mursi “did not do enough to bring all the groups together” even though “he inherited a divided country,” he said.
Prof Oyebode was of the opinion that the situation in Egypt is an unfolding scenario and the international community needs to wait for the outcome of the ‘debacle’.
Egypt’s army imposed an overnight curfew around the defence ministry in Cairo on Friday after protesters clashed with troops there during demonstrations against military rule and the exclusion of candidates from the presidential election.
The crowd hurled projectiles and insults at the soldiers sent to defend the ministry after 11 people were killed in fighting there on Wednesday, and called for the overthrow of the head of the ruling army council, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.
The army fired back water cannon then teargas and riot police surged towards the crowd with batons. Scores of wounded protesters were taken away on motorcycles and dozens of soldiers were injured.
“Field Marshal leave. The people are dangerous,” shouted the crowds, and “Raise your voice. Our revolution will not die.”
The street violence comes less than three weeks before an election that represents the first chance for Egyptians to freely choose their leader. A successful vote would mark the most important step in a messy transition to democracy since the overthrow of autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak 15 months ago.
Last-minute changes to the line-up of contenders, bickering over a new constitution and suspicion that the military will continue wielding power after a new president is chosen are making for a chaotic backdrop to the campaign.
The troops pressed forward when protesters began cutting through barbed wire used to seal off the ministry building in Cairo’s central Abbasiya district.
Protesters ripped down a metal fence at an underground railway construction site to build a barricade. Some cried “God is Greatest” as army helicopters swooped overhead.
The teargas scattered the crowd far down the rock-strewn streets. Troops blocked off several streets between Abbasiya and central Cairo using armoured personnel carriers and some fired shots in the air.
The Health Ministry said 128 people were wounded, state news agency MENA reported. The injuries included teargas inhalation and cuts and bruises, some serious, and 82 people were taken to hospital.
“The crowd is coming here with sharp weapons. We have batons and water cannon and teargas to disperse them,” said one commander. “Some of them believe if they kill a soldier they will go to heaven. What do you expect us to do?”
VIOLENCE AFTER DARK
As dusk approached, gunfire rang out from the top of a mosque in Abbasiya. Army special forces climbed the minaret, brought down 10 people and drove them away.
The pro-democracy Sixth of April Youth movement said on its Facebook page its followers were withdrawing from the Abbasiya area because of the bloodshed.
Protesters regrouped closer to the town centre after dark, waiting to return to the defence ministry, and some threw rocks and stones at troops blocking their path, state media reported.
The one-night curfew will last from 11 p.m. local time (2100 GMT) to 7 a.m. on Saturday, the military council said in a statement read out on state television.
The army “calls on all citizens to adhere to this or the military will confront with determination those who try to violate it,” it said, vowing legal action against those responsible for the unrest.
Some election candidates suspended their campaigns on Wednesday after unidentified assailants fired at protesters camping near the defence ministry, starting clashes that the security forces seemed unable or unwilling to quell.
Many of those protesters were hardline Salafi Islamists upset that their candidate was ruled out of the vote, which begins on May 23 and 24 with a run-off in June.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which dominates parliament, saw its first choice disqualified too, handing a potential advantage to Mubarak-era contenders such as former foreign minister Amr Moussa and ex-prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.
Some Egyptians see the last-minute changes to the candidate line-up as proof the generals are trying to manipulate the vote.
“Remnants of Mubarak’s regime are not eligible to assume any power,” Hashem Islam, a sheikh from Egypt’s highest authority of Sunni Islam, Al-Azhar, told protesters at the defence ministry.
Several thousand Islamists, liberals and left-wing revolutionaries also massed on Friday in Tahrir Square, headquarters of the street movement that has transformed decades of tightly-controlled Egyptian politics.
Banners draped in Tahrir demanded implementation of a law banning figures from the Mubarak era from high office. Shafiq was briefly disqualified as a result of the law, but still found his way back into the final line-up of presidential candidates.
Members of the ruling military council on Thursday renewed a pledge to exit politics after handing power to the new president by mid-year. They said the handover could come earlier in the unlikely event that one candidate wins outright in the first round.
But tension between the army’s interim government and the Islamist-dominated parliament has left Egypt in a state of policy paralysis that is deepening an economic crisis caused by more than a year of political turmoil.
Mohamed el-Beltagy, a senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party, said the violence since Wednesday was the result of a deliberate policy to draw an unpredictable reaction from protesters and delay Egypt’s political transition.
“This was done so that they (the authorities) could carry out emergency measures,” he said.