Econintersect: This is the winter of discontent in Africa. South Sudan has voted to secede, Ivory Coast is wracked with economic problems and violence as the defeated president tries to hold on to power by force and a citizen uprising has toppled the 23-year reign of the president of Tunisia. Now trouble may be brewing in Egypt.Longtime opposition leader, Mohamed ElBaradei is headed back to Egypt, as protests have built in the streets of Egypt following the overthrow of the Tunesian dictator. The former U.N. official and Nobel Peace Prize winner (for efforts against the spread of nuclear weapons) is returning home despite direct threats against his life.
In an article in The Daily Beast ElBaradei writes:
When Egypt had parliamentary elections only two months ago, they were completely rigged. The party of President Hosni Mubarak left the opposition with only 3 percent of the seats. Imagine that. And the American government said that it was “dismayed.” Well, frankly, I was dismayed that all it could say is that it was dismayed. The word was hardly adequate to express the way the Egyptian people felt.
Then, as protests built in the streets of Egypt following the overthrow of Tunisia’s dictator, I heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s assessment that the government in Egypt is “stable” and “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people”. I was flabbergasted—and I was puzzled. What did she mean by stable, and at what price? Is it the stability of 29 years of “emergency” laws, a president with imperial power for 30 years, a parliament that is almost a mockery, a judiciary that is not independent? Is that what you call stability? I am sure not. And I am positive that it is not the standard you apply to other countries. What we see in Egypt is pseudo-stability, because real stability only comes with a democratically elected government.
We are staring at social disintegration, economic stagnation, political repression, and we do not hear anything from you, the Americans, or for that matter from the Europeans.
Add a fourth African country to January of discontent list.