Kefaya torn between public mobilization and political affiliations

Kefaya torn between public mobilization and political affiliations

Some members of the Kefaya Egyptian Movement for Change believe the movement’s efficacy has dwindled due to its transformation from a popular movement, to one that has become increasingly politicized.

Although the majority of observers agree that the movement has not yet reached its full potential, there are few who would contest its trailblazing campaign against the possibility of President Mubarak’s son, Gamal, inheriting Egypt’s top official post.

Pundits argue that Kefaya is too diverse to represent a composed efficient political force. Osama El Ghazaly Harb, who heads the Democratic Front party, suggested that if Kefaya evolved into a political party, its chances of survival would be greatly enhanced.

“Unfortunately, recently Kefaya’s activity has become more of a representation of the opposition’s elite, than a popular movement,” Khaled Aly a founding member of Kefaya told Daily News Egypt.

Aly believes that a number of Kefaya members have become disenchanted with the fact that the movement has not been able to deliver much on the ground. In March, the People’s Assembly approved the constitutional amendments which Kefaya vehemently opposed and the judges Kefaya rallied around were further marginalized from the electoral process.

“Because the movement’s successes were extremely limited, some people became apathetic, in addition to the internal problems within Kefaya itself,” said Aly.

He criticized the shift in the movement’s leadership from disinterested individuals, to representatives of political streams that are at times opposed to one another and often have different interests.

“As a popular movement, Kefaya should have embraced all Egyptians instead of being divided into political streams and affiliations,” Aly said.

This prominence of political voices, rather than individuals, is according to Aly, a significant reason behind the drop in the movement’s activities and its ability to precipitate reform.

“With these latest developments, I think Kefaya has come to inherit the perennial illnesses of Egyptian political parties, which lie in the fact that they are not effective in reaching the man on the street,” Aly said.

Since Kefaya brings nationalists, liberals, communists and Islamists under the same umbrella, ideological differences and infighting are a likely conundrum.

Kefaya member and former committee head in the Youth Movement for change, Ahmed Salah, believes that the movement has been “hijacked” by a group of members he speculates have strong security connections.

“This person in particular infiltrated the Journalists for Change organization and completely destroyed it internally. Now in Kefaya he seems to be gaining more control of the movement,” Salah told Daily News Egypt.

Salah hopes that in the next Kefaya general conference the movement can regain its identity as a popular movement and purge itself from perpetrators.

“As long as the reasons for creating Kefaya still exist, I am optimistic about the movement’s ability to grow and reinvent itself,” Salah said.