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Africa

Sam: 'Egyptians need to be taught civic education'

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said total civilian rule in Egypt should be resumed as soon as possible, and that the country's future leadership should reflect the will of the Egyptian people.

The UN chief made the remarks after the Egyptian military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on Wednesday. An African Union official said they would likely suspend Egypt from the bloc after the army suspended the country's constitution.

DW:What is the reason for this setback for democracy in Egypt?

Jerry Sam:What I can say is that after the Arab spring, people think that once they hit the streets they can get what they want. What we are witnessing now is not a good development for democracy in Africa

Coups in Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Central African Republic were met with a lot of condemnation, why is this not the case with Egypt?

I think Egypt is in a sort of a volatile situation.Mubarak and his administration are still around, so it is a touch and go situation there is still a lot of hotspots there. The military took over but quickly handed over to chief justice. The military is not fully in charge of much of what is happening.There is a transitional head now, and I think the rest of the world is just waiting to see if new elections are going to be announced.

Do you think elections would bring stability and reconciliation because Morsi has been in office for one year?

Like I said it's a disturbing situation. That means anytime time there is a new government and a section of citizens like students or workers who are not happy - it means they will get organized and remove the government. Egyptians need some civic education if it is democracy that we want. They should understand that once you vote for a person especially that he went through the first and second round, you have to accept that this is our leader. So Egyptians should learn that this is what will grant them freedom of speech because at the moment how are they are going to express themselves now? Who is the government now? That said election is still the best way to go because it will guarantee them their civic right and at the end development of the country.

Why has the African Union been reluctant to intervene in Egypt?

I really can't speak for the African Union but I don't think that it has the influence that the original Organisation of African Unity used to have, where they could take initiatives to restore stability. The AU doesn't have the financial resources even to send peacekeepers around anymore. They prefer limited roles, for instance, limited in Libya - France had to intervene, in Ivory Coast it was the same thing, in Niger there was no AU presence.

Jerry Sam is Project Director African Elections Project Ghana

Interview: Chrispin Mwakideu

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