Morsi empowered after army shake-up

2012-08-13 22:24
Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, ex head of Egypt's ruling military council. (AFP)

Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, ex head of Egypt's ruling military council. (AFP)

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

  • Egypt
    This book is jam packed with all the fascinating facts and information you need to know about Egypt. Now R149.00
    buy now

Cairo - Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi has emerged empowered after a "revolutionary" decision to dismiss his powerful defence minister and curb the military's sweeping powers, media said on Monday.

In a surprise move, Morsi on Sunday retired Defence Minister Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, 76, and armed forces chief of staff Sami Anan and scrapped a constitutional document that gave the military legislative and other powers.

The Egyptian press on Monday described Morsi's move as "revolutionary", with some saying it was aimed at curbing the powers of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

The state-run Al-Akhbar newspaper said the dismissal of Tantawi, who headed the SCAF for more than a year after massive streets protests forced Mubarak to step down, was a "revolutionary decision".

"The Brothers officially in power," declared the independent Al-Watan daily, referring to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group which backs Morsi and through whose ranks he rose before his election triumph.

Thousands of Islamist supporters on Sunday flooded Cairo's Tahrir Square - cradle of the revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak last year - to celebrate.

"The people support the president's decision," the crowd chanted.

Others mocked Tantawi's departure, presented officially as a retirement.

"Marshal, tell the truth, did Morsi fire you?" they said.

Interests of Egypt

Morsi in a late night speech on Sunday denied trying to marginalise the army, saying he was acting in the interests of the country.

"I never intended, through my decisions, to marginalise or be unjust toward anyone, but rather to act so that we advance toward a better future, with a new generation, long-awaited new blood," Morsi said.

"I did not intend to embarrass institutions," he added, saying he had "the interest of the country in mind".

Morsi also amended the interim constitution to deny the military any role in public policy-making, the budget and legislation, and the right to pick a constituent assembly drafting a permanent constitution for post-Mubarak Egypt.

"The president has decided to annul the constitutional declaration adopted on June 17" by the SCAF, headed by Tantawi, his spokesperson Youssef Ali said.

Mourad Ali, a senior official with the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, which fielded Morsi in the May-June presidential polls, praised the president.

"Given the circumstances, this is the right time to make changes in the military institution," the Islamist official said. "He is a strong president, and he is exercising his authority."

Sunday's announcements marked a new twist in uneasy ties between Morsi and the army, testing the balance of power between the first civilian president in Egypt's history and a military that had moved to limit his power.

Tantawi, who had served as Mubarak's defence minister for two decades, was replaced by replaced by Abdel Fattah al-Sissi a member of the SCAF.


The veteran officer as well as chief of staff Anan were awarded the Greatest Nile Collar, Egypt's most prestigious award, and both were retained as presidential advisers.

But Morsi also shuffled members of the SCAF into other strategic public sector jobs, like Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish, the head of the navy, who was tasked with overseeing the key revenue earner Suez Canal Authority.

Morsi, also decided to appoint a vice president.

He appointed judge Mahmud Mekki as his deputy, MENA reported, making him only the second vice president to be named in Egypt in 30 years.

Sunday's shake-up is the latest in a series of moves by Morsi a week after a deadly attack on the Egyptian military in the Sinai prompted an unprecedented military campaign in the lawless peninsula.

Last week Morsi replaced his spy chief and dismissed top security and political officials in the Sinai as well.

In Israel, a government official expressed "great concern" over developments in Egypt while media suggested the removal of figures such as Tantawi would force Israel to seek new interlocutors in Egypt.

Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979, and although ties were frosty, security co-operation between the two countries' armies remained solid.

"The change of security and military leadership in Egypt will require Israel to open channels of dialogue with the new figures, not all of whom are familiar faces," an analysis in Maariv newspaper said.

"It is too early to say what will happen because everything is evolving in Egypt, but we are following what is happening there with great concern," the Israeli official told AFP.

In Cairo the independent daily Al-Shorouk expressed concern over the action, saying it meant that Morsi was accumulating "much bigger prerogatives than those of Mubarak".

Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  egypt  |  north africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy 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
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Adventure holidays you HAVE to put on your bucket list

Need a break from your usual boring routine? Consider one of these places for your next adventure holiday.


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Top 10 water sports to try before you die
6 impressive camping tips
Free outdoor yoga classes
Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

IT Auditor

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Network Finance Sunninghill
R500 000 - R600 000 Per Year

Senior Bakery Millwright

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town Engineering
R300 000 - R360 000 Per Year

Merchandiser - Clothing

R8 000 - R18 000 Per Month

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! - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. 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


There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the more

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


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 network.


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.