EDITORIAL: Arrest Sisi extension plot

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Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is the current chairman of the African Union and has been in power for just a few years. However, his increasingly tyrannical tendencies must worry all who hold dear the principles of democracy and good governance. The former military chief has made it increasingly clear that he is in leadership for the long haul and will not be restrained by constitutional strictures. Unsurprisingly, he has been labelled as a dictator and strongman, like his predecessors.

Egypt’s Parliament, which is dominated by Sisi supporters, on Tuesday approved the constitutional amendments to allow him to stay in power after his second term ends in 2022.

To Sisi, any whiff of dissent must be countered ruthlessly and two top Egyptian actors recently learnt that lesson the hard way. Mr Amr Waked and Mr Khaled Abol Naga, who criticised the amendments, have been expelled by their national union. The duo had joined a congressional briefing in Washington, USA about the human rights situation in their motherland.

The path the Egyptian leader has taken to entrench himself in power is well-trodden. But the consequences are grave. The forced and humiliating exit of Abdelazziz Bouteflika of Algeria and Omar al-Bashir of Sudan just the other day, should have been appropriate lesson. The late Frederick Chiluba of Zambia, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal employed similar strategies, albeit with no success.

How one wishes President Sisi could work to entrench democracy, now that he is the embodiment of the AU! Coming from the Hosni Mubarak dictatorship of over three decades, Egyptians must be shuddering at the prospects of a repeat under Sisi. Uprooting Mubarak in 2011 cost many lives and massive destruction, which the North Africa country is still recovering from.

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