By: OMAR HALAWA
CAIRO: The Supreme Guide for Muslim Brotherhood (MB) Mohamed Badie, Sunday made his first appearance donning a red uniform reserved for those on death row; he was recently convicted for his role in the “Rabaa control room” case, in which he allegedly orchestrated “spreading chaos and violence” in the country following the dispersal of MB sit-ins in August 2013.
Badie, 71 and a veterinarian by education, is the 8th Supreme Guide in the 85-year history of the post, and is being tried in 43 cases simultaneously. Most of his predecessors have been jailed or at least tried all over the previous eras, but none of them reached this unprecedented count of accusations.
And before court on Sunday, Badie spoke out saying “This is unfair, I hope one day courts can bring me justice.”
Legal charges aside, the 30 months in which Badie served in his post as a free man witnessed also unprecedented political events in the MB’s history; he was the first supreme guide who took control over the group in January 2010 after having been elected while his predecessor, Mohamed Mahdi Akef, was still alive.
He is seen as having dealt pragmatically in his dealing with former President Hosni Mubark’s regime; when came to the office the MB had 88 out of 444 seats in the lower house of parliament, and experts believe is due to concessions from the government to the group in order to grab this number.
Badie’s later remark that he didn’t mind if Mubarak’s younger son and National Democratic Party (NDP) figure Gamal would run for presidential elections was seen by many as proof that he had cut a deal with the powers that be.
Following the January 25 Revolution, the MB declared its support for military junta’s roadmap and Badie called on his group supporters “not to join any anti-military protests for the sake of economic and production.”
In this period, the MB earned unprecedented political gains; they won the majority in Egypt’s first elected Parliament after the uprising and in June 2012 Morsi was elected president after defeating his rival Ahmed Shafiq, Egypt’s last prime minister under Mubarak.
But the frustrations which have been caused by Morsi’s policies towards the opposition affected Badie’s image, especially that the majority believed that the president was a “puppet” and Badie was the one in charge behind the scenes. Protesters used to chant in the anti-Morsi protests “down down with the Supreme Guide’s Rule.”
In July 2013, when the military intervened to oust Morsi, Badie’s pendulum finally swung back; the high death toll from the dispersal of pro-Morsi sit–ins resulted in fissures within the ranks of the MB, with many protesting policies of the group’s high-profile figures.