Egypt: Strengthening Democracy, Or Not?

Posted on August 23, 2012 in GlobeScope

By Karthik Ganesh:

The power of man has grown in every sphere of life. Power is a currency that never went out of fashion and has the ability to make a difference in people’s lives. The transformation of the power held by a person into meaningful actions can play a pivotal role in deciding the welfare of a society. As you enter the positions of trust and power you realize the establishment of the dreams you harboured for the society.

But as universally agreed, absolute power was never meant for man. The change of guard in the state of Egypt gives credence to the above mentioned ideology. The country saw yet another surprising occurrence this month when President Mohamed Morsi’s “revolutionary” decision to discharge his influential defence minister Field Marshal Tantawi and curb the military’s extensive powers in legislature has made him emerge “empowered” according to recent media reports. This move was widely welcomed by the public as they believe that Egypt is moving towards the gradual acceptance of democracy as the ruling philosophy which would bring an enriching change in their lives.

Even though the move to oust the military from policy-making might have garnered acceptance from different quarters but on retrospection it shows the signs of abuse of power by a single person. It gives us subtle hints of an authoritative figure in command that would make bold decisions without even consulting the members of the parliament. The true measure of a man is what he does with the power and the current proceedings clearly signal a premonition of the uncertain things to expect in the future.

The necessity of the hour is to ensure that this move paves the path for sowing the seeds of democracy in the soil of Egypt. The people must guarantee that they have a cogent representative who adheres to the norms of the constitution formed and takes into account the recommendations proposed by the team of ministers under him. Instead of news of monocratic decisions hogging the limelight democratic decisions should be encouraged and welcomed. The ideals of democracy should be adopted soon enough so as to ensure that people have equal representation in the ruling body and have the chance to ascertain their own future.

The steps of power are often steps on sand which only stand the test of time with a readiness for responsibility and the true intent of a person. The curbing of power held by the military in Egypt should act as a stepping stone for the people to stock up the shares of democracy in order to gain its rich dividends in the future.

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V. Govindarajan Singapore

I think you are a bit quick to comment on the new President based on one decision. The past leagcy of Mubarak regime has led to your presumption. We must watch for a while before passing any judgement.
While I fully agree that democratic process should be the best way of governance, which India is proud of, I have started questioning this premise. My frustration emanates from the experience in India. Just look at the way the parliament works. Everone shouts & nothing is healthily debated. Personal vendatta, hidden agenda, animolsity, focus only on their province / state (forgetting the overall National interest) etc. have become the norms of our so called democratic set up.
End of the day, whether for a country or a business unit, one person is entrusted with the decision making powers. Being a Business Manager myself, I am vested with powers. I do consult my team etc. But on occasions, if there is no convergence of ideas, I have to take a decision & drive home the same. The ideology is to move forward & ensure that the business does not suffer. I am responsible to manage the business keeping aside the personality issues. This led me taking some unpopular decsions including sacking of employees in my career.
This we call it as “ruling by head”. We often try to rule by “heart”.
In a nut shell, empowerment of an individual beyond a point is inevitable. Many countries like Singapore etc. have benefitted largely by such empowerment.
Worldwide the discipline in the Army etc. is confirming this point. Right or wrong, the soldier follows the Commander’s instructions without challenging the same.
In my view, India currently needs a mixture of democracy with a touch of “decisive” powers (at the risk of authoritarian element). Else, our growth is going to be slowing down.

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