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Do we really need a leader?

22/05/2012

These are lyrics from the song A leader is Wanted by the Egyptian band Cairokee.

“A leader is wanted… to a people that was always great…A people that once was effective but now became dead… now the people revolted…with the hands of the young and the old… a people felt like an object to be divided and spread all over ..They used to tear us apart …they wanted us to die or finish.. a leader then is wanted for that people which was betrayed by its rulers…the rulers who made us lost and unable to understand..even those who understood their mouths were quantified and their hands were tied then detained.. and thrown to hungry dogs.. however, this people stood up and screamed.. within two weeks this people could topple that regime and fall the prison over the heads of the jailers. This is why a leader is wanted to bring our rights back and bring justices to each and every one of us…”

Calls for a strong leader to take the hand of Egypt onwards and upwards does not fit well alongside the calls for democracy that we are also hearing. As recent history has taught us Egyptians a leader is not accountable for his deeds, a leader does not have to abide by the constitution and the law, and a leader does not have to leave his office when his term ends. So how can we both be calling for democracy and a leader at the same time?

The mentality of the Egyptians, accumulated over centuries, depicts a leader as a Pharaoh, King, Sultan or President who becomes the father of the nation and the head of “the family”. This new era should not have a leader. Instead we should insist on promoting a civil servant to the rank of President, someone who has clear obligations and responsibilities. The President should be accountable for his deeds and should know how to choose a team to work with him rather than a choir who will sing his song back to him. We cannot reclaim the keys of our shackles just to hand them over to a new jailer.

For the first time in our modern history we, the Egyptians,  the most ancient nation state are going to the ballots to decide who is going to enter El Orouba Palace and becomes the 5th President of Egypt.

We the Egyptians, for the very first time, don’t know who is going to be our head of state. I know that it is weird to love the fact that we do not know. But we must enjoy these moments of ignorance as this is how we know what democracy looks like. The elections will go ahead with a low probability of manipulation and there are many possible candidates.  – 13 in total but it is common knowledge that the race is really between 5 of them.

So on Wednesday and Thursday this week we are going to elect the next President and we are sure that there will be a run off. But we will also that enjoy that contest too.  The only thing that we have to remember is to vote for a president .. not a God!!