Legitimacy is the word du jour but, even taking fair elections into account, Adam Mowafi argues that criminal actions void any authority Mohamed Morsi might have gained through his appointment...
As June 30th approaches, the Ikhwan’s electronic army has gone into overdrive. 100 bearded men, all probably named Mohamed, are most likely packed in a room, furiously copying and pasting a set of pre-written statements based on approved scripts from the guy featured in the portrait hanging on their wall; their supreme guide. Any critical article online is then spammed with similar statements of “Morsi is the legitimate president!” followed by how there is some conspiracy to replace him. The English is usually poor and commenters usually have ridiculous names such as Freedom Lover or Expat Man.
On the more intelligent side of the propaganda scale, you won’t find poorly written comments but, instead, articles published in newspapers stating how absolute legitimacy is defined by the ballot box and removing Morsi via popular revolution would set a precedence which would stop the democratic cycle from ever taking a foothold. This is absolute nonsense and, to borrow a phrase coined by Sultan Al Qassemi, these articles are written by “Undercover Brothers.”
Part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s propaganda from day one was changing how words are defined. They have already sullied the words justice, ballot and democracy and now the word du jour is legitimacy.
Was Morsi legitimately elected? Yes, he was in so far as I am willing to acknowledge that the elections were fair. Is he still the legitimate leader? Do elections give him a mandate to become a dictator with no checks on his power? Absolutely not.
The day Morsi lost his legitimacy was the day he sent a militia of men to the Presidential Palace to kill protestors after illegally issuing a declaration protecting the Shura. Following this murderous act, the law, in general, became meaningless by allowing the siege of the Constitutional Court. He then followed this by illegally creating a Constitutional Assembly for which he handpicked the members and ensured there was no legal way of him being removed as President through impeachment.
The above makes him a criminal by all definable standards, whether through pre-mediated murder or by breaking the oath he took to respect the law as President. That’s not to mention the fact he was broken out of prison to begin with.
I have made the above statements before and the usual responses are either: “If you want to know what a militia is, look at Iraq!” or, on the other side of the spectrum, “Mubarak used to control the judiciary too, so it is no big deal that Morsi tried.” Therein lies my point. Are we really looking to Iraq or pre-revolutionary Egypt as references? Do we wish to be a second or third class democracy or was our aim to be first rate democracy? Any one of Morsi’s acts, mentioned above, would have had him impeached in any sane country. Just look at the US where a president was impeached for lying and another nearly impeached for getting a blow job.
I therefore argue that, when the President leaves no other option to remove him other than through revolution, then a revolution is the only legitimate way to remove him. The precedence I fear, far more than a country suffering through several popular revolts (which are relatively hard to achieve), is one where the President can feel he can kill people and break the law as he sees fit yet still remain “legitimate.”