Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Electing governors in Egypt !!? Think Again

I am from the team that calls for electing governors in Egypt , we had enough for decades now from appointing governors since the monarchy time actually to be fair. Still the last crisis in Qena or rather fiasco to be accurate made me rethink again and ask myself : Are we truly ready for this important step !!?

First of all we are in a transitional period , we can’t move in to governor electoral system right away just after three months after toppling the regime if we want to make it right. We need legalizations and laws to reorganize this process, we need to know how we are going to elect our governors. It is ironic till now we do not know how we are going to elect our next parliament nor how we are going to elect the governor or what the candidacy conditions are.

If we are saying that we have to wait couple of months then you must unfortunately to accept the old system imposed temporarily : The civilians governors appointed for major governorates while military for border governorates and police for Upper Egypt. The best thing we can do now is to supervise the governors and their policies , we do not have any excuse this time. Of course this can be implemented perfectly through the municipal councils. Our political thinkers and laws gurus like Ibrahim Darwish and Tarek El-Beshary can work on draft law for electing governors from now so we can be discussed ASAP and approved in our next parliament. This is the first we must put in our mind now before we scream and tell the SCAF :WE Want elected governor.

Already according to some leaked news the cabinet and SCAF began to think in having elected governors , of course it will take time not only for the reasons above but also for the second reason going to be mentioned right away.

Second and let me here phrase here in a question to deliver it easier : Can we really have an elected governor in UPPER EGYPT !!? How can we have an elected governor in Upper Egypt with all its complexity where the big families and clans have the first and the last word and the whole society is armed. How can we be sure that the right man “ I will not say woman because I am realistic enough” will be elected fairly for his program and not for tribal affiliations !!?

The governor position is technically nothing for the big clans in Upper Egypt because they are the real rulers by the end of the day yet even if it is just a representation for the sovereignty of Cairo ,still it is a prestigious enough to have blood bathes there.

Some will tell me that democracy this tribalism problem but I will answer and tell him that governor “X” from Clan “whatever” makes a decision based on the law that will harm Clan “Whoever” , we can find ourselves in front of armed conflict between clan “Whoever” and “Whatever” with casualties from both clans !!

It will be one of the greatest victories and achievements of the revolution in Egypt if we managed to lessen the tribalism in Upper Egypt , I am saying to end it because even religions and laws failed in doing unfortunately but to return back the sovereignty of law above all. This is why we have to go to the south and to the listen to the people in order to avoid problems.

Egypt is not only Cairo or Alexandria or Suez or Delta , we got Upper Egypt with its complexity and unique social character and I think we all have rediscovered this technically in the past two weeks. We will be fooling ourselves if we think that we will a constitution and laws made only from Cairo perspective. It is enough the fatal mistakes the government made it in the fiasco of Qena starting with talks with the Salafists when the government should talk to the big families or sending Salafist preacher like Sheikh Mohamed Hassan when the majority of Qena is Sufi despite what was shown in the media.

I think the first step towards a real democratic life in Egypt based on the representation system in Egypt is the municipals election. Starting the municipals elections and the municipals themselves ,we will gain a real political experience. The municipal councils will produce a new class of politicians from the people and to the people who know the true meaning of representation and who really care for this country. We should press in making the SCAF and cabinet disband the current the municipals and hold new elections soon enough even before the parliamentary elections. Our political parties, activists and groups should go to the streets and encourage the normal citizens to run for the municipal councils if they want clean streets , if they want better electricity and water , if they want more green spaces in their towns and neighborhoods. The municipal councils will give the people info experience for accountability and transparency.

The latest thing in the Qena crisis was the decision of the prime minister to halt the activities of the governor for the next 3 months and the angry protesters have decided to end their sit in at the railways.

FYI the NDP and regime orphans still have got power in Upper Egypt due to tribalism, they were smart enough to play this game good enough and you must know Amr Moussa has left Cairo to start a tour in the South that will include Upper Egypt.


  1. It amazes me that the Qena thing people are taking as the triumph of people power. This is anything but a proud moment in Egypt's history.

    No Zeinobia, I don't think Egyptians are ready to elect their governors and with the events of the past couple of weeks I'm starting to think Egyptians are ready for any form of democratic elections. Because if every time they're met with a decision or a result they don't like, they'll just block roads and railways then pfft....
    I'm sorry I just don't believe their NDP remnants of whatever control the Qena fiasco, they're just your average ignorant Egyptian being played by a bearded fella promising him paradise.
    I think in a few years people will look back at that "Victory March" in the same way they look at George Bush standing on that aircraft carrier with "Mission Accomplished" sign hanging in the background.
    Sorry for the apocalyptic pessimism , I'm just not feeling very revolutionary tonight :(

  2. Very good post Zeinab. I agree with you that tribal influence and other factors will impede a fair democratic process for electing governors. There is another idea that can be an intermediate step towards true democracy. My suggestion is for the current central government to choose governors according to certain criteria (for instance he or she has to have college education, living in the governorate for number of years, etc.). Then a referendum will be put to approve or disapprove the chosen governor. Thus we can achieve a temporary solution that will put the right person in a very important position.

  3. The problem,at this point,is not electing Governors coz we simply aren't ready for that!But at least they would and should be appointed according to a sound track record of competence,integrity,management,communication,..
    People with these criteria are available and must be searched for!Taking the easy way of chosing the same old fashion got us to where we are!
    Now if the Authorities don't have it in them to do an appropriate selection , then we have a grave problem!After the revolution there is one clear reality of life:People will not take what they used to take in the past...@amrazim2808

  4. Why didn't elbaradei move to upper Egypt aswell ! I don't really like amr moussa.

  5. "For sure everybody believes in democracy... but when we will do that? When the people here will have the culture of democracy."

    Omar Soliman, February 6, 2011

  6. the clans or tribalism are not the problem, we have same thing in Scotland and almot always representatives belong to one of the usual noble families... it's present in many democratic countries as well. Others will accept the decision of the majority in their choice even when not belonging to a particular tribe because they know this individual will work for the entire community and not just his tribe.. so why is it different in Egypt? it's many decades of nepotism and corruption where any candidate from a certain family will always be suspected to be working for the benefit of a particular clan because there was no questionability or transparency on how mayors operate. In the end it's all about trust. The people do not trust the system.. not yet and this has little to do with tribalism per se although it becomes a factor when corruption is wild. When people start to trust the system they won't care who wins because in the end they can question if he or she fails to serve the entire community. That's why you do have a point about local councils, it is where to begin and it's a crucial time to make people trust their local governments .. once you have established that, the mayor or governor is no longer an issue of tribalism.

    The people in upper Egypt still don't trust the system and its security arm long being part of oppression, when that changes and when you have trust between the people and their local and central government; tribalism will plat a very minor part in elections if any.

    As for that Omar Sillymans quote, it's bullshit..the culture of democracy will never be achieved if you don't start some day and as soon as possible and now is the time..there was no culture of democracy because successive rulers deliberately used the tribal card to divide and conquer and Solieman himself played a role in this and when faced with pressure for reforms, then claim it's a lack of a democratic culture due to tribalism or Islamism(reminds you of Ghaddafi eh?)

    It's all about trust..

  7. Democracy pfft. We have the idea all wrong.

    Democracy is not the same as starting a riot and blocking off important city marks each time we are not happy with something.

    Also, funny you dont mention anything about them screaming " we want a moslem" disgusting I knew this would happen when Mubarak left.

    Every Christian prefers Mubarak over this BS Islamist country now.

  8. if we want a real democracy then the first step is electing city councils village council , governors that should be the first step before any parliment or presidential election , they have to make a law organizing that process , about the complexity of upper Egypt yes the south is complicated but the democracy will create another atmosphere a new fact on the ground , democracy learned throw practicing it because simply it will make people change their way of thinking their way is looking at things , if we want to have a real democracy the right step is to start form bottom not from top , from the neighborhood , the village the city the governates it is the first step to reform this country those local council are the one responsible to manage the daily life of the citizens , having elected local councils will help us to solve many problems people will start to have a say about what happen in their city village neighborhood they will monitor the performance of the local council and governor if they could not do that one the local level how they will be able to do it on the national level , also this process will be they way to train and create our politicians , from being a in a city council or neighborhood council then move to governate council then parliment or governor and presidential we would have politicians who KNOWS the country who know what is going on how things are ran in the little villages and cities , guys the local council and governors election MUST be the first step before anythings

  9. I travel frequently in the middle east, north africa and other places. Sharm El Sheikh was a fantastic place but it was a facade. As a place to go to rest it was nice, but then I decided to travel to Cairo and on the way I stopped many times to sample Egypt, by the time I reached Cairo my experience was that of people's poverty, municipal failures, poor sanitation and drainage systems, chaotic road discipline, poorly maintained buildings, problems with habitation for the poor and from what I have seen it looked as if Egypt had no health or dental care program for the citizens. But by far looking at the civil and municipal failures before me which undoubtedly were caused by incompetence, A Squadron of F16
    flew right across at high speed which shook the villagers. What a contrast, if the cost of each one of those F16 costing millions was used to improve the lot of the population, Egypt would benefit so much more. Forgive me, but I have witnessed the same situation in the villages of Syria, Libya,Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria and just about every Arab Country I visited where billions are spent on Arms and little is spent on the people and the development of the country. So in electing your political and municipal leaders, think of what you want them to do and how are you going to hold them accountable for what they do or don't do.

  10. @anonymous 1:18, who said, "Every Christian prefers Mubarak over this BS Islamist country now."

    How dare you pretend to speak for "every Christian"! Believe it or not, there are many Christian Egyptians just like me, who do not believe that Egypt MUST be destroyed and Egyptians MUST be enslaved and oppressed, and that our only choice is whether this will be carried out by Mubarak's gang (a tiny minority) or the Salafists (a tiny minority).

    The Egyptian nation rose up to impose a third choice: freedom, dignity, justice for our people. That third choice now exists, even if individuals like you pretend it's not even there. It would NOT have existed if Mubarak had stayed in power.

    Now, it's up to each one of us to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness and trying to persuade others that only darkness is possible.

    Freedom is never given, it is taken, by those whose hearts and minds are already free. Nobody said it would be easy, but only true slaves think it's not worth fighting for.

  11. three ways to improve municipalities:

    1 - root out political and state corruption
    2 - Root out local Municipal corruption
    3 - Root out Trade monopoly and corruption
    4 - Root out Military corruption

    Corruption lives everywhere you look.

  12. Pirooz, science develops the personality into reasonable measured thinking something that the ordinary Muslim in the street needs badly right now. It massages your personality and expectations with the oils of knowledge acquisition, and help you develop a more structured more humble and productive existence strengthened by a better understanding of the might of creation and that is what the Islamic message is about. It also facilitates the creative process to develop advanced economies and modern affluent societies.
    The arts refine your personality and expand your dry scientific mind making you a civilized, sharp and morally inclined "Humain" scientist. Once you get these characteristics, you will experience a void that needs to be filled, to give you a purpose in this finite world of ours, and that is when you start to genuinely understand and appreciate faith, faith towards your god, faith in humanity, faith in yourself and others. That is what Islam asked for and it is that which in my view makes you a better Muslim. I make a distinction between the religion as preached and taught by the clerics and used on the one hand and faith as discovered, enriched and treasured on the other. Islam as a religion is often used by corrupt, violent leaders, terrorist groups, fanatics, pressure groups and dynasties to acquire or exercise illegitimate power. Islam was and as we speak, still is used as a political, military or controlling tool and that is the case throughout early and contemporary Islamic history. The big mistake for Muslims is that their mind is so fragile through despair, and their brains are so out of practice because of the oppression, and their chaotic characteristic emotions are so inflated because of their anger that often they buy into the manufactured Islamic rhetoric, and they turn into destructive machines individually or in groups for corrupt leaders or others to do with them what they wish. For me Islam should be approached as a personal faith based on a body of philosophical thoughts to guide you as an individual, to make you a wise, knowledgeable and useful person to your community and yourself with a tolerant undertone and peaceful intentions, yet at the same time technically and spiritually strong exactly how Islam wanted you to be in the first place. Passing these principles down the line throughout the decades will develop into what I like to call a social DNA texture, which I cannot see yet despite the revolutions taking place. So let us not jump the gun as far as the events over the last 5 months are concerned. Let us see what will happen. I will remain a realist, I will watch and learn, but I am not counting on any good surprises just yet, not after a Mubarrak supporter once ran into Tahrir square on the back of a Camel, not after the killings in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen, for all I see are divided people, oppressed youth and mines along the way. .I can see the seeds of conflicts being planted in Egypt and I dare say in Tunisia too, these will probably surface during or after the election, because the big test of the Arab DNA will be reconciliation and the acceptance of the elected leader and government, will the minorities in this case accept the democratic verdict? knowing what I know about the tribal culture of the Arabs, I suspect not, again we will see but don't count on it just yet.


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