Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, is a frequent guest on international news programs in discussions of event in Africa, the Middle East and the United States. Azikiwe also hosts a radio program called the Pan-African Journal., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
To watch this interview on Press TV News Analysis with Abayomi Azikiwe, Pan-African News Wire, from Detroit, just click on the following URL:
Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:38PM
Egypt’s main opposition figures including Mohamed ElBaradei are associated with the ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak and do not represent the revolutionary movement, an analyst tells Press TV.
Supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi have held
rallies in the capital, Cairo, ahead of a constitutional referendum on Saturday. Last month, Morsi called for a national vote on the new draft constitution following deadly clashes between the supporters and opponents of the president’s declaration of new sweeping powers.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, Pan-African News Wire, from Detroit, to further discuss the issue. Azikiwe is joined by Mohamed Ghanem, Muslim Brotherhood leader in the UK, from London, and Shaker Rizk, an Islamic scholar from Cairo. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: We have both of our guests where Mr. Mohamed Ghanem said no constitution can be perfect. Our guest there is defending some of these articles of which ElBaradei, one of the leaders of the opposition, is known to criticize. Which camp are you in, Mr. Azikiwe? Are you in the MB camp that says [it’s] the greatest draft constitution, or what the opposition says, a constitution to divide Egypt?
Azikiwe: Well, I don’t have a vote. But as someone who is observing the situation in Egypt from the outside who is of course very much concerned about the political trajectory that is taking place in Egypt in the aftermath now almost two years since the toppling of the previous government of Hosni Mubarak, many people are concerned about the unrest that has taken place in the country over the last month.
I believe all democratic forces and people who support human rights and national liberation throughout the world want to see Egypt succeed in this political process.
The opposition forces do have a difficult task from the standpoint that they are, on the one hand challenging the authenticity and the legitimacy of this draft constitution; but at the same time, they have a shifting position in regard to whether to participate in the vote that will be taking place later on today or whether or not to boycott the elections that are going to be taking place.
This is a very difficult position that they’ve placed themselves in. If they boycott the elections, the December 15 referendum, the first phase of it, and of course they would inevitably lose, it would be very difficult for them to regain any type of political momentum in regard to the concerns that they have as it relates to the constitution.
If they go ahead and participate and vote “No”, and if the “No” vote loses, then of course this also poses a political dilemma in regard to what they do after December 22.
If the “No” vote prevails in the election it would appear as if the Morsi government would have to reopen negotiations with these various opposition groups. But apparently there is a broad segment of the Egyptian population who are opposed to this constitution.
We’ve seen some tremendous demonstrations over the last month that has brought out hundreds of thousands of people not only in Cairo but in Alexandria and other parts of Egypt, and obviously they are significant elements of Egyptian society, the body politic of the country, that are opposed to this draft constitution.
If there’s not a sense of legitimacy that sets in the aftermath of the elections, there will be, it appears, ongoing unrest inside the country. If this happens, it really will not be good for the immediate future of Egypt, for example the need to stabilize the national economy in Egypt.
Now, the International Monetary Fund is in negotiations right now with the Morsi government to bring about a $US4.8 billion dollar loan. Those negotiations, I understand, have been suspended pending the aftermath of the elections.
But it’s going to be very difficult for Egypt to rebuild its tourism industry, to rebuild its natural gas industry and to also address the question of mass unemployment and poverty inside the country if there’s not any political stability in the immediate future.
I believe that the opposition has a very difficult task. But at the same time, the government has to be sensitive to the fact that there are large numbers of people inside of Egypt among the Christian population, the secular groups, the left organizations and liberal organizations inside the country, [who] are very concerned about how this whole process has developed and what will be the actual outcome of the national elections that are going to be starting on the 15th.
Press TV: Who is [previous guest speaker] Shaker Rizk referring to, Abayomi Azikiwe, when Morsi has also said ‘counter-revolutionary forces aiming to destroy the gains of the revolution’?
Azikiwe: I think this is an opinion that the president has. I don’t think you can categorize the entire opposition as having a singular uniform political outlook.
Quite obviously, Mohamed ElBaradei and Amr Moussa were people who were associated with the previous National Democratic Party government of Hosni Mubarak. They are not representative of forces inside the country who actually led the revolutionary upsurge of 2011.
But there are other elements within the country who have, they feel, legitimate reasons for opposing the character of the constitution. They have raised issues about the rights of women, the alternative interpretations of Islamic law or Sharia.