“Why did you change your mind?” Several people that I love and respect keep asking me. “What happened to you? You seem to have become too biased!”
To those dear friends I say:
- Yes, I have changed my mind. After I read the national reconciliation initiative launched by the Facebook page We Are all Khaled Saeid before millions of people live on ONTV two weeks before I was elected, I said that as head of the Freedom and Justice Party, I agree to form another Constituent Assembly that is representative of all the Egyptian society. I did not do that.
- Yes, I have changed my mind. After I promised those who supported me in the elections two days before the results were out that I will do my best to restructure the Constituent Assembly in a way that creates balance between different Egyptian factions, I did not even try. In fact, instead of trying to resolve the crisis of the withdrawal of 26 members of the assembly, I decided the constitution is to be finished in 48 hours even if only 85 members, after calling upon reserve members to join, attended.
- Yes, I have changed my mind. After I promised following a meeting with lawyers that the constitution will not be put to referendum unless a real societal dialogue is established, I suddenly decided to set December 15 as the date of the referendum.
- Yes, I have changed my mind. After I promised that I will barely use my legislative powers, I issued a Constitutional Declaration (not even a law) that strips Egyptian citizens of their right to contest my decisions. I even guarded the Constituent Assembly, which I promised to restructure, against any attempts at dissolving it.
- Yes, I have changed my mind. After I promised in a closed meeting with ten youths and some of my advisors that the constitution will be based on a national dialogue that does not exclude any of the political powers, I polarized Egyptians a few days later and almost ignited “sedition” among the people.
- Yes, I have changed my mind. My group started mobilizing my supporters in front of the presidential palace and I came out and spoke only to them. I actually said that my opposition is very limited and that my critics are not working towards the country’s best interest. Then the group mobilized more people a few days after to say that I am supported by 90% of the Egyptian people while I know I won the elections by 51%. This is exactly what the former regime used to do.
- Yes, I have changed my mind. After I promised total independence for the judiciary, I insisted on appointing a new prosecutor general who I chose and who had come straight from Bahrain to take the oath at 1:00 am in the midst of slogans chanted by my supporters. I did that without consulting anyone in the Supreme Judicial Council and as part of an “unconstitutional” declaration. I did not even say that the new prosecutor general is temporary until the constitution is finished, but made it clear he will stay through my term in office.
- Yes, I have changed my mind. A few days after the declaration was issued, I decided to act indifferently towards protestors that filled Tahrir Square and I did not even call for a national dialogue in order to resolve the crisis and avoid further escalation.
- Yes, I have changed my mind. Instead of respecting democracy and the people’s right to choose, I issued an unconstitutional declaration then gave the people the choice between a flawed constitution and a declaration that gives me powers never officially given before to any ruler in the history of Egypt.
- Yes, I have changed my mind. After I promised that the presidency will only make decisions after carefully studying them, I decided to act without consulting anyone so that even the minister of justice and the vice-president had reservations on my decisions.
- Yes, I have changed my mind. After I promised to redress any wrong I do, I persisted and even mobilized people to support my decisions and labeled the opposition “a malicious minority” and “revolutionaries who abandoned the revolution for personal gains.”
- Yes, I have changed my mind. Yesterday when I needed your votes I told you that “our strength lies in our unity” and now I am telling you to “go to hell.”
May God guide us to the right path!
(Wael Ghoneim is an Egyptian activist. The Arabic version of the article was published in Al-Nahar Egypt newspaper on Dec. 3, 2012)