Low Egypt vote turnout galvanizes Brotherhood

2014-05-28 18:04
Muslim Brotherhood supporter. (File, AFP)

Muslim Brotherhood supporter. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • The Muslim Brotherhood
    This book provides an in-depth analysis of the Muslim Brotherhood during the years of al-Hudaybi's... Now R528.00
    buy now

Fayoum - Even though the former army chief who removed the Muslim Brotherhood from power is expected to become Egypt's next president, a vote with low turnout has raised hopes in a desert oasis that the Islamist movement can make a comeback one day.

Many residents of Fayoum, an Islamist stronghold south of Cairo, support the Brotherhood, which has won nearly every election since a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

But Islamists here and in other parts of the country have grown increasingly demoralised since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled President Mohammed Morsi of the Brotherhood last July.

Sisi is expected to win Egypt's presidential election, which was extended to a third day on Wednesday to boost turnout.

But nearly empty polling stations have raised doubts over the level of support for the man who the Brotherhood says staged a coup and destroyed Egypt's experiment with democracy.

Brotherhood members here like Mohamed Abdel Hafeez interpret the low turnout as a sign that Egyptians no longer believe the official narrative that hails Sisi as a hero and demonises Islamists as terrorists.

"We're betting on the steadfastness of the people in the streets and we're betting on the people's awareness which is starting to spread," said the clean-shaven Abdel Hafeez, sipping tea at an open-air cafe in the early evening heat.

"Our battle is one of awareness."

The organised and disciplined Brotherhood has gained many followers in Egypt through preaching, charities and social networks since it was founded in 1928. Its steady work eventually earned enough respect to propel Morsi to power.

But his year in office was a disaster for the Brotherhood.

Many Egyptians felt he was usurping power, imposing the Brotherhood's rigid ideology and mismanaging the economy. They staged mass protests, prompting Sisi to step in.

Four fingers

"Now that we are out of power, we have the opportunity to return to the masses," said Abdel Hafeez, 27, a veterinarian.

"The Brotherhood wasn't doing awareness during the last year (Morsi's year). It was too busy with affairs of state and problems. It neglected communicating with the people."

From the window of a nearby building, young girls repeated a chant used at protests in Fayoum and nearby farming villages: "Sisi is a killer!"

Graffiti in Fayoum's central district calls Sisi a "traitor" and a "killer" and insists that "Mursi is returning".

One crude drawing depicts the four-finger sign representing the square where hundreds of Brotherhood supporters were killed last August when security forces cleared a protest camp.

Residents have staged demonstrations and clashed with police every week since Morsi's fall but opposition to the army-backed government has failed to change Egypt's political landscape. Sisi became more popular even as repression spread.

Low voter turnout marked the first signal that public opinion may be changing.

Vendetta

Abdel Hafeez said more than 600 people had been arrested in Fayoum in the last nine months. He said he had been forced into hiding by a security crackdown which had reached the lower levels of the Brotherhood's leadership structure.

He said 114 people were killed by security forces in Fayoum, a city of about three million.

"That's 114 families. Each member of those families now has a vendetta against the regime and won't back down," he said.

The low election turnout has emboldened Abdel Hafeez, who feels that perhaps the Brotherhood may once again have a chance in the battle for hearts and minds of Egyptians, even though Mursi and other leaders are on trial.

He speaks of a three-year plan to create the environment for a revolution. "There are many means," he said.

"The movement which was sidelined by force is still popular and can still mobilize the masses despite oppression."

Read more on:    muslim brotherhood  |  abdel fattah al-sisi  |  egypt  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Kuils River 17:58 PM
Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound

ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - expect delays

Montague Gardens 12:06 PM
Road name: Montague Drive

ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - DELAYS towards Bosmansdam Road

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Jan 21 - Feb 18
Jan 21 - Feb 18

You may be inspired to do things that expand your mind in a big way today. You have a need to explore and a need to please....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.