DATE: 28 January 2014
TIME: 9:00am - 16:30pm
VENUE: Sheraton Hotel, Pretoria
Attendance at the symposium will be strictly by pre-registration only. To register, please click here or email conference at amec.org.za (replacing at with @).
The July 2013 coup in Egypt and the ouster of the democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, has raised many questions around the future of the most populous Arab country. This is especially as the coup was followed by a crackdown on dissenters and the shutting down of freedoms and banning of media in the country. Officials from the former Mubarak regime hold prominent positions in the new administration, the secret security services have been reinstituted, and severe restrictions on protests have been enacted. Former Morsi administration officials and thousands of others opposed to the coup have been arrested and either detained without charge or charged with dubious crimes. Further, the country’s foreign relations have been realigned to bring it more in line with that of the Saudi Arabian regime.
Despite the repression, however, anti-coup protests continue almost daily in various parts of the country. Recently, many of these have been tactically moved to university campuses where police presence is less tolerated. Further a ‘third way’ movement – opposing the Morsi presidency and the coup – is gaining momentum, and recent surveys show that opposition to the ouster is quite high.
Despite this opposition on the streets, the military is pushing through with its ‘roadmap’. A 50 member constitutional committee appointed by the military-endorsed interim authority has drafted a roundly criticised new constitution, and a referendum on the proposed constitution is tentatively scheduled for late January 2014. It is generally accepted that the referendum will result in approval for the constitution – by whatever means – allowing enactment of the document, further silencing of dissent, and a continued weakening of the country’s economy, which has been kept artificially afloat by funding from certain Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE. A few months after the referendum, presidential elections will take place, followed – probably in 2015 – by parliamentary elections. The original ‘roadmap’ had stipulated parliamentary elections first, but the military clearly believes it would be more useful to have its man in the presidency before any other elections.
The Afro-Middle East Centre will host a one-day symposium on 27 January 2014 to discuss these issues and possible futures for Egypt. It will bring together a number of prominent Egyptians who are now part of the opposition to the coup, as well as other commentators. The key issues to be discussed at the symposium include:
- Circumstances surrounding the July 2013 coup;
- The role, mechanisms, influence and future trajectory of the ‘deep state’;
- The opposition to the coup and the current state of repression; and
- The ‘roadmap’ of the military and other scenarios for Egypt’s future
Programme: Session One: 09:30-10:45 – Opening: Setting the basis for discussing Egypt’s future Speakers: Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim – Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, government of South Africa Yehia Hamed – Minister of Investments, former government of Egypt under President Morsi Na’eem Jeenah – Executive Director, Afro-Middle East Centre Tea Break: 10:45-11:00 SESSION TWO: 11:00-13:00 – FROM DEMOCRACY TO MILITARY RULE Chair:Mahlatse Mpya Speakers: Daryl Glaser – head, Political Studies department, University of the Witwatersrand Chris Landsberg – SARChi chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, University of Johannesburg Shamil Jeppie – Director, Institute for Humanities in Africa, University of Cape Town Ehab Sheha – Founder and Chairperson, al-Asala Party, Egypt Lunch: 13:00-14:00 Session Three: 14:00-16:00 – The military’s ‘Roadmap’ and alternative futures Chair:Omar Shaukat Speakers: Rodney Dixon – international law barrister Mahmoud Hussein – Secretary General, Muslim Brotherhood Closing: 16:00-16:30