Many questions loom regarding the president's first days, reports Ameera Fouad
Egypt now has Mohamed Mursi, its first freely elected president. If questions do rise concerning his challenge to have full power as a president after much of his authority was stripped by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), many questions also emerge regarding his first 100 days in office. These questions arise when it comes to a supposedly new period of stability, a long dreamt for concept of democracy and a feeling of ecstasy after more than a year of stress.
Mursi, the long-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood, started his 100 days by 10 days jam-packed with decisions defying both the SCAF and the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) in reinstating the Islamist-led house of parliament after a ruling last month that it was invalid. While judiciary decrees and whether it is eligible to restore the parliament are in legal limbo, Egyptians have much to worry about Mursi's first 100 days.
The first 100 days would produce the first few steps towards a real new Egypt. That's what most Egyptians believe in and are looking forward to. Mursi's first five priorities were a bread shortage, petroleum crisis, traffic jams, garbage collection and security. Though not in order, these five, if implemented, would enhance Mursi's position in the eyes of those who did not vote for him and would reinforce his chances of winning another four-year term.
It is reported that the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in collaboration with Al-Nour Party will exert their utmost effort to launch a popular campaign to support Mursi's 100-day programme. It is also being spread that governors and local officials will be contacted to carry out the projects in all villages and governorates across Egypt. They will be working with all political and popular groups but how far will they get nobody knows.
Regarding implementing these projects, a 26-year-old member in the FJP, Ahmed Abdel-Aal, told Al-Ahram Weekly that it is not only the FJP or the Muslim Brotherhood who will work in these projects. "Everyone in Egypt wants to work. One wouldn't be surprised to find out that the majority who want to share in these projects do not belong to any Islamist party. They are merely Egyptians who want to take part in the development programme.
"Yesterday, as I was walking on my street, I was surprised to see a voluntary association of miscellanies men and women trying to launch a campaign cleaning up the streets. They don't belong to any party or group. They only belong to the big Egypt. That, I believe, is how the 100 days will pan out with the collaboration and in cooperation with all Egyptians," Abdel-Aal added.
A 28-year-old accountant, Ghada Magdi, monitors all activities in the legislative volleyball being played between Mursi and the judiciary panel. For Magdi, it is too early to decide whether the 100-day programme will succeed. Concerning restoring security, for example, Magdi believes that the matter lies in the hands of the Ministry of Interior. "They need a redistribution of tasks and a brand new system to cope with civilians. You know, it is a system and you just can't fix what has been wrong for years by simply clicking 'on' after many years of 'off'.
"We have a new president with the old rules going on," Magdi explained. "There must be a reclassification for the Ministry of Interior, a new way to differentiate between the treatment of civilians and criminals. There must be a sharp line drawn between these two abstracts," added Magdi. Concerning the rest of the four projects, she believes that there must be a change in the governorates and the governors and all officials running governorates. "Governors should be elected and chosen by their own governorates. For me, I wish to see movement in the Alexandria governorate. One must elect his own governor. I might even make my own revolution to overthrow our current one," Magdi said mockingly.
Some people believe it is too early to evaluate our newly elected president. Others say quite the opposite and see matters darker than before. "I don't see any tangible difference on the streets. The garbage is still with their filthy smell. Streets markets have become even more chaotic. Maybe police officers have increased, however that has not prevented cars from being stolen in the middle of the day," said Nancy Labib, a consultant ophthalmologist.
Jaidaa El-Shammaa, a 26-year-old Faculty of Commerce graduate supports Labib's view. "What really bothers me the most is seeing the tok tok everywhere," said El-Shammaa. The tok tok drivers, after being promoted by Mr President in his very first speech to the nation, have been misusing and abusing his support as they drive in mainly central streets and highways. "I do believe that tok toks should not be seen in neighbourhoods like Kafr Abdou or Roushdi or in main streets like the Kornish Street or Abu Qir, but since Mursi's speech saying he would support tok tok drivers, they have broken each and every traffic rule in Egypt," El-Shammaa added.
Though opinions could be divergent regarding our freely elected president's first 100-day plan, what is being heard and said regarding parliament, the constitution, the SCC, the SCAF and the president's authority overshadows what Egypt is expecting. Instead of focusing on the new Egypt, Egyptians are witnessing power struggles and minute by minute statements issued by opposing forces. In the meantime, the question whether the president will keep his promises cannot yet be answered.