Israeli journalist specialising in Arab affairs, Zvi Bar’el, mocked a speech delivered by the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, on the state of the economy describing it as not containing “convincing explanations”.
On Sunday, Al-Sisi visited the Beni Suef Governorate, south of Cairo, to inaugurate a number of projects including a highway. He announced a package of benefits, including increasing the cost of living allowance and increasing the minimum wage for public sector employees.
He also thanked the Egyptian people who had endured harsh conditions, and said: “I would ask that you accept my explanations for the economic conditions [that Egypt is in], and I thank you for your patience and for bearing the burden. I ask God, ‘Help us.’ We’re not doing bad things to Egypt with any decisions or policies that we take, we’re not harming anyone, we simply want to do good.”
In an article titled, ‘Al-Sisi Continues to Count on the Patience of Egyptians’, Bar’el said Al-Sisi did not have any real explanations that could convince the listeners or the public.
“They also couldn’t take pleasure in the president’s statement that if it weren’t for his government’s “wise policy,” the situation in Egypt would have been much worse,” Bar’el added.
According to the columnist, Egyptians have seen a significant rise in the prices of basic materials and have long found it difficult to understand why, in a country with a huge reserve of gas, they are forced to suffer from constant power outages.
“Sissi also didn’t explain why the county had to undertake huge wasteful projects when Egyptians are working extra shifts just to make ends meet.”
One such project that has recently sparked a huge public storm is the construction of a highway linking Cairo to the New Administrative Capital at a huge cost. According to the plan, the highway passes through one of the very important historical places in Egypt, put on the UNESCO list of archaeological sites in 1979.
The area contains graves and shrines, built about 1,400 years ago, including for a number of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions and soldiers from the dawn of Islam, along with caliphs, poets, thinkers and cultural symbols from Egypt’s history.
“According to Arab media reports, Egyptian intelligence officials have been warning of the prospect of major protests that could threaten the regime’s stability. Perhaps this is the reason preparations have begun for early elections, thought to be taking place at the end of this year,” Bar’el warned.
“Even when it comes to an autocratic leader like Sissi, his public legitimacy is essential, even if it’s for show rather than a reflection of public will,” he added.
Source: Middle East Monitor