The Muslim Brotherhood has strongly condemned the signing of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) agreement.
The now banned group said the signing had occurred “without any knowledge of its terms and conditions or the essential details of GERD and its storage capacity”.
A Monday statement described President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as the “heinous coup commander” who illegitimately signed the agreement on behalf of Egypt.
“Al-Sisi has thus sold the Egyptian people’s long-established rights to Nile water for a few billion dollars more from foreign powers, straight to his own and his junta’s pockets,” the statement said.
The Brotherhood further added the agreement “would not fool even a half-witted child, and lacks the ABCs of international agreements and international law”.
“For one thing, according to this agreement, the Ethiopians do not have to guarantee or safeguard any Egyptian rights to Nile waters. The traitor Al-Sisi knows full well that he has no legitimacy, and so rushes to enter into any agreements, even they deprive Egypt of its rights,” it said. “The putsches are not concerned with Egypt or its people. They do not care if Egyptians go hungry or thirsty.”
Furthermore, Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Wafaa Al-Banna told Daily News Egypt that the current Egyptian government is selling off Egypt. Al-Banna added that it is also implementing an agenda that allows foreign powers to manipulate Egypt.
Signing the agreement will prevent Egypt from taking legal action against Ethiopia, she added. Al-Banna said that if the dam is implemented in the way Ethiopia wants, there will be no water or crops within five years.
Ethiopia had assured Egypt that the dam would not harm Egypt’s water resources. Ethiopia had emphasised that the Nile was a source of cooperation and common development since President Mohamed Morsi’s visit to Addis Ababa in May 2013, to take part in the 21st African Union Summit.
A tripartite committee, comprised of Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian experts, had been studying the dam’s expected outcomes and its effect on Egypt and Sudan as countries downstream of the Nile River.
Morsi had said that African countries should revise policies and adopt new ones that enhance their future cooperation while focusing on African interests. He also called for more inter-state cooperation between South African countries and benefitting from the successful development models in Asia and Latin America, state-run news agency MENA reported.
The former president, who was ousted in July 2013, confirmed that Egypt is keen to exert all efforts to serve the mutual African goals, enhance cooperation, and achieve regional integration. “We are confident of our ability to reach our aims of security, peace, development, and prosperity,” he had said.
Morsi had ordered the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation and Water Resources to negotiate with Ethiopia regarding the construction of the GERD.
He had also recommended more extensive studies on the dam and its possible effects on Egypt and Sudan. Morsi ordered for a national committee to be formed including official, popular and executive authorities to deal with the crisis and inform the public about the results.
However, whilst returning to Egypt, Ethiopia decided to change the direction of the dam.
Over fears of losing legitimacy and turning the public opinion against him, there was an exaggeration of the effects and dangers of the Dam, said expert of African matters at Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies Hani Raslan.
“The rhetoric of the water minister back then was a joke,” Raslan said.
Former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Bahaa Al-Din had said that “Egypt didn’t approve of the construction of the Dam at any point”.
“If our share of Nile water decreases, our blood will be the alternative,” Morsi had said during a June 2013 speech. Morsi said the Egyptian people are “patient” and can endure anything except threats to their security or their source of life [the Nile]. “If there are such threats, Egyptians will unite to uproot the threats wherever they are coming from and all those who support them,” he said.
A June 2013 meeting between political figures and Morsi had been aired without notifying those present. During the talks, Ayman Nour, as well as Al-Wasat Party Chairman Abu Elela Mady, suggested military action against Ethiopia.
Others talked about using actors and sports figures to negotiate, while Al-Azhar representative Sheikh Hassan Al-Shafei suggested embarrassing Ethiopia through international pressure. The statements were widely criticised by Egyptian and Ethiopian social media activists.
Al-Banna believes that threats of the Dam were not exaggerated, saying that Morsi was a “responsible president” who was looking after the coming generations, threatening to blow up the Dam for national security.
The media had portrayed the Dam as destructive, while now the agreement is considered an achievement, Al-Banna said. “It is clear that the media was working against Morsi, and that now it is lying,” she said.
“I hope the people wake up to the dictatorship [of the regime],” Al-Banna said.
“The people of this homeland will not be brought to their knees. They will certainly not go thirsty. The Revolution will not only topple this illegitimate coup regime, it will also cancel all treaties, agreements and contracts the junta and the coup regime will have signed illegally in the name of the Egyptian people,” the Muslim Brotherhood statement further said.