Former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq resigned this morning after appearing on television last night in a live debate with intellectuals who believe in the revolution. Hell broke lose after the show, because the audience was divided between supporters and criticizers. If you are intending on continuing reading my note, please know that I belong to the latter camp. I was one of many people who protested against him and his cabinet, because it was a continuum of the Mubarak regime that we are trying to dismantle. Moreover, I was not impressed by Shafiq’s appearance on television. So, you will find my note rather biased.
There are many rumours circulating today that former Prime Minister Shafiq was to resign today, regardless of his appearance yesterday on the show. However, I believe this is a cheep attempt to save some face after he ridiculed himself publicly on live television. Shafiq’s demeanor yesterday did not stand up to the fine post he was holding in the government. He was arrogant, detached from reality, easily exasperated and provoked, fidgety, nervous and could not maintain his poise. More so, he appeared to have little control over his cabinet, by denying knowing crucial information when asked. Nonetheless, he weaseled out of answering questions of essence that addressed the direct demands of the protesters on the street. With every moment he spent on the show, he seemed to lose points with the people of the revolution. Thus, I believe the Supreme Army Council sacked Shafiq because he is bad for their image. Furthermore, he is bad for the Council’s credibility, popularity and reputation with the public.
However, apart from all of the above Shafiq demonstrated how politically inapt he was. Apparently, he managed to expose information that the Supreme Army Council did not want to share at the time, one of them being how long the current government will stay in power. It was agreed that the interim government would not oversee the elections, yet when asked about this specific point, he indicated that his cabinet might stay to supervise elections. Also, the fact that he mentioned that there was no specific deadline for the police to spread their forces back on the streets, exposed lack of control behind the scenes. Shafiq clearly voiced that the process of reinstating the police is an accumulative process that could not be measured with specific timelines. In addition to that, he made a major political faux pas by intentionally trying to create mass panic through stating that Egypt will not find food to eat next month, because the factories are closed and not producing goods anymore. A Prime Minister who was supposed to go on television to calm the masses, managed to instill fear in every household.
Consequently, the Supreme Army Council had no choice but to sack him. Shafiq was bad for them on every level, whether as a tool of public relations, a main strategist, a state secrets keeper or as a political figure. He was simply and bluntly ill-suited as Prime Minister. Therefore, I believe that Shafiq got sacked, and did not just resign.