• Op-Ed
  • May 30, 2012
  • 14 minutes read

Impossible Similarity between Freedom and Justice Party and the Dissolved National Party

Impossible Similarity between Freedom and Justice Party and the Dissolved National Party

It is evident that some people hate Islamic movements regardless of what they are or whatever they are about in terms of ideas, ideologies and history. It is a kind of blind hatred that makes everything Islamists do a sin, a conspiracy or a ‘private’ deal, and sometimes it is opportunism or a betrayal of the homeland. Many of those haters still dominate the political scene, even after the January 25 revolution.

Now, it also is evident that Islamists (i.e. those who believe in applying Islamic reference in their day-to-day lives) win every election contest, public (local elections or parliamentary) or professional (universities, student unions, clubs and professional associations, etc). This gives Islamists a lot of confidence, something that infuriates and motivates haters to further humiliate and fabricate fables against members and leaders of these movements.

Those haters, with various discourses and in several locations, have private media outlets that promote their shared thoughts and interests.

One of their newer accusations against the Muslim Brotherhood is the ‘power grab’ baseless claim. On the contrary, the Brotherhood has no member in any executive position throughout the homeland.

No members of the Brotherhood are ministers, heads of boards of directors, heads of banks, governors, heads of city councils, heads of village councils, mayors, district elders, regular guard chiefs, members of the Board of Trustees of the Radio and Television, members of the National Council for Human Rights, members of the National Council for Women or ambassadors. So, how is that for a power grab?

The latest charge leveled at Islamists by these opponents now is that the FJP has turned into a new National Democratic Party, referring to Mubarak’s corrupt, now-dissolved NDP. Those haters have carefully focused this false idea in the hearts of people as a fact, by constantly casting the FJP in a negative light.

The question is how can we compare a manipulative, morally bankrupt and shameless party dissolved due to its corruption and betrayal of the interests of the Egyptian people over decades of authoritarian rule, against a new party established less than a year ago, which has already gained the confidence of the people as witnessed in the first free and fair parliamentary elections in Egypt ever?

How can we compare parliamentarians mostly tainted with administrative and financial corruption that exceeded all limits without any accountability in an unscrupulous bureaucratic system where decision-makers encouraged bribery and fraud and defended venal officials, against FJP lawmakers who evidently disappointed opponents looking for their mistakes or any evidence of corruption against them? No wonder such haters’ endeavors were frustrated, and the Brotherhood’s men and women were chosen in an Egyptian celebration of democracy unparalleled and unprecedented in decades past.

How can we compare a party that won the majority by fraud, a party that took for itself all 78 seats of the 19 parliamentarian committees, although the Muslim Brotherhood had won 20% of the People’s Assembly seats at the time, against the FJP which although the majority party in parliament’s two chambers, distributed the 19 parliamentarian committees’ positions amongst all parties in parliament, except for those who refused?

Furthermore, while the defunct NDP used to call up all its permanently absent MPs to influence voting on certain issues, no-one can possibly imagine the FJP’s lawmakers – who regularly attend all People’s Assembly meetings – to abuse power like that.

We cannot compare empty minds of supposed parliamentarians with weak resolve, who never submitted interpellations or implemented oversight tools without the consent of the NDP, against FJP lawmakers who act with complete freedom in the use of all parliamentary tools without any restrictions to question the government.

On the contrary, the head of the FJP parliamentary bloc never plays any role to direct his flock of party MPs like Kamal Al-Shazli and Ahmed Ezz did. Indeed, you may often find differences of opinion among FJP members, which illustrates clearly that there is no similarity, except perhaps in the eyes of the severely biased.

Whereas the NDP never allowed any bill submitted by MPs to see the light, it always passed laws submitted by the government. By contrast, today more than half of the laws and amendments have been passed as submitted by MPs of all parties present in Parliament, without exception

Even the vote that was run by remote-control in the hands of the NDP leader, is not at all reflected in the FJP majority bloc where, for example, the Military Justice bill (to stop trying civilians before military courts) the vote was 89 against 58. That was unprecedented.

In fact, the number of achievements done for the benefit of the Egyptian people in the current parliament’s first hundred days was not done in ten years with the NDP. Also, questioning of the Interior Minister in Parliament is something that never occurred before.

Furthermore, the vote on the government political and economic statement by a roll-call never happened before with the NDP and the former regime.

So, what similarities were these haters talking about?

Even more, the NDP survived with the help and the protection of a total security and media cover, while the deliberate vilifying attack on the Muslim Brotherhood and their FJP MPs has been relentlessly ferocious until now.

Former NDP MPs are actively involved in the war waged so assiduously against the Brotherhood and its political wing.

Therefore, we ask: how can anyone equate between the oppressor and the oppressed, the tyrants and their victims?

Some claim a similarity exists: the desire to control, citing the formation of the Constituent Assembly, tasked with drawing up Egypt’s new constitution, as an example of that.

Those want to interpret the constitutional text on the formation of the constitution-writing panel (No. 60 in the Constitutional Declaration) according to their whims and desires, seeking to completely exclude MPs from the panel, something which never happened in more than 42% of the constitutions authored in the last hundred years where parliaments and their members were the sole authority tasked with writing the constitutions.

In this regard, the FJP did agree to many others’ requests and requirements and did accept the names nominated by institutions. However, people began to withdraw, under many pressures, including a concerted, negative media campaign.

Perhaps what could be blamed on the FJP, in this matter, is that it did not intensify its endeavors for dialogue and consultation with political parties and stakeholders for better and broader consensus than it achieved.

In any case, many solutions were offered to resolve the deadlock that delayed a major step in the democratic transformation process: authoring for the country a constitution to achieve the aspirations of the Egyptian people.

Consequently, we are in this situation now, electing a President under the constitutional declaration, which we believe should be sufficient without any annex or complement until the permanent national charter is drawn up.

Those were the most important accusations made against the FJP, with respect to the replication of the dissolved NDP’s system of governance, and our views on them refuting many of the claims and allegations leveled strongly against the Muslim Brotherhood and its party.

Such gross injustice, even repression is something we were so used to over the past decades that its absence might have caused us a certain degree of disorientation and confusion. So, we thank haters for that.

Dr. Mohamed Gamal Heshmat

University Professor and Member of Egypt’s Parliament