Egypt’s Kifaya Movement has raised the ante in its opposition to President Hosni Mubarak’s regime by issuing a massive report that dares to name names and detail corruption among the country’s leaders. Nothing in Egypt’s long history has ever equaled this airing of the country’s dirtiest laundry.
Kifaya’s action is especially bold in the midst of a government crackdown to prepare the way for the succession of Mubarak’s son, Gamal. For example, a recent law mandates punishment for anyone who spreads rumors that Gamal is to be the next president.
Corruption in Egypt, as in other Arab states, is so extensive as to undermine the possibility of economic advancement, higher living standards, a free media, independent courts, and democracy. Egypt’s political elite, fearful of critical media coverage, defeat in fair elections, and even imprisonment, prefer the existing regime and oppose any significant reform.
This is a key theme of the report, entitled Corruption in Egypt: A Black Cloud That Never Passes. As long as the system is corrupted from above, and as long as the only way common people can deal with the government is through bribery, says the report, inefficiency will reign and people will cheat each other. The only way to break this vicious circle is to replace the regime.