Friday, August 16, 2013

Ashton's Egypt Opportunity

Onyekachi Wambu

There are few options for Egypt following the military massacre and crackdown. The Muslim Brotherhood will be reverting to its default position as an underground organisation - but this time with little illusions about the democratic route - so we are likely to see a deepening and violent armed conflict.

The military imposed State of Emergency will buy some time - perhaps enough for renewed diplomacy and negotiations. Catherine Ashton needs to move quickly into this slim opening. She has a direct channel to the deposed President Morsi and both sides consider her neutral. She should be seeking a power-sharing arrangement between the warring factions. It has worked elsewhere in Africa - pulling other countries such as Kenya and Zimbabwe back from the brink. It would need statesmenship behaviour from both Morsi and the head of the junta, Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi.

A lot is at stake for the Wests' democracy project. Continuing support of the current regime will deal a fatal blow in Africa to that democracy agenda. I am sure the generals in Nigeria are waiting to see what happens.