The crisis in Egypt is a wake up call on new challenges facing Africa’s quest to evolve governance structures that address the citizen’s aspirations. The deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's legitimacy was on anchored electoral victory – a key plank in democracy. He was kicked out of power for among other reasons, hailing from the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian political crisis is a pointer to the shifting norms; not any more to have African countries embrace electoral democracy but also focus on who the masses get to power. It is a precedent that forces religion to take center stage in conflicts in the region.
Already, Nigeria has its measure in the Boko Haram menace. Attempts have been made by Somali extremists to incite Christians against Muslims in Kenya. Tanzania is experiencing its challenges with a new wave of religious tensions referred to in Kiswahili as “Udini.” The regime change in Egypt should be viewed from a broader perspective on major religious conflicts.
Located at one of the world’s great geo-strategic crossroads, a pathway for global commerce, Egypt remains a significant economic, political, and cultural force in both Africa and the Arab world. Both African and Arab leaders must put their act together, and speak in one voice on this trend. They must safeguard the interests of their people and bring competing elite interests to the negotiating table. The Western World on its part as a strategic partner to successive Egyptian regimes should borrow from ancient civilizations that nurtured pluralism and co-existence in the Middle East. Africans must pay keen attention to developments in Egypt as it signifies new frontiers of conflict in the region.