Wednesday,22 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1130, 10 - 16 January 2013
Wednesday,22 November, 2017
Issue 1130, 10 - 16 January 2013

Ahram Weekly

Policies, not persons

Doaa El-Bey fails to find many writers who believe Egypt’s ministerial change will help the country much, while Omayma Abdel-Latif turns to Iraq’s embattled prime minister

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Al-Ahram Weekly

The cabinet reshuffle raised questions about whether the change was a matter of persons or policies.

Emadeddin Hussein wrote that the reshuffle which included 10 ministers finally took place. But while people would be busy asking about the CV and background of the new ministers, the writer said he preferred to focus on policies rather than persons.

To prove his point, Hussein argued that if the best economist in the world was appointed as minister of economy “and we impose on him certain policies that do not address the economic problems that we currently face, he will not succeed”.

Likewise, Hussein added, the best policeman would not succeed as minister of interior if he followed the policies of his predecessor Habib Al-Adli, which did not believe in human rights and that police should serve the people.

“With all respect to the ministers in the old and new cabinet, the problem will always remain in the policies and not the persons,” Hussein wrote in the independent daily Al-Shorouk.

Hussein pointed to an important ministerial portfolio, the Ministry of Finance headed by Al-Morsi Al-Sayed Hegazi. Hussein questioned his background, and his viewpoint regarding the IMF loan and Islamic bonds.

The writer concluded by wishing the new government success.

Alaa Abdel-Hadi focussed on the Ministry of Interior. He noted that the recent reshuffle was the fifth since the revolution, which means that Egypt has a new minister of interior every six months.

Every interior minister, Abdel-Hadi wrote, states that he would deal firmly with whoever does not abide by the law. But criminals and thugs are gradually gaining more ground every day.

“A quick look at downtown Cairo would reveal that we are governed by the law of the jungle. Thugs are gaining more power and the police are too scared to act against them,” he wrote in the official daily Al-Akhbar.

Abdel-Hadi attributed the repeated change of ministers of interior to the fact that the society did not agree on the role that that ministry should play during the protests and one-million marches. Ministers are usually accused of being either too strict or too lenient with the protesters.

The writer suggested that each new minister should be first asked how he would deal with protests like that which took place in front of the presidential palace. Then the decision to appoint him should be taken according to his response.

Abdel-Hadi summed up his column by stating that the reasons that led to the change of previous interior ministers are still there. Thus the new minister may face the same fate.

Said Al-Shahat said the number of ministers who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood had reached nine in the new government. The rest were appointed after the MB accepted them. Thus, we are dealing a government that has the Brotherhood’s vision.

After a few days, Al-Shahat wrote, more governors will be appointed from the MB. As a result, the MB cannot claim anymore that the government does not implement its policies or that any party impedes it.

The MB, he added, is now in control of the service ministers. While Al-Shahat said that some people fear that this will help Islamists control the next parliamentary elections, the writer preferred to regard the new ministers as enthusiastic and willing to achieve and that they should be given the full opportunity accompanied by complete supervision of their performance.

However, the writer did not seem optimistic that they would be able to perform well under the present conditions.

Al-Shahat noted that the previous ministers were not replaced because of a deficiency in their performance. The minister of interior for instance was allegedly replaced because of an angry statement made against him from the MB supreme guide and because the Salafi leader Hazem Salah Abu Ismail threatened to sack him. The minister of finance was replaced because of his stand concerning Islamic bonds.

“These examples showed that ministers are not selected or replaced according to a political vision, but according to their performance on a certain issue,” Al-Shahat wrote in the independent daily Al-Youm Al-Sabei.

The call by high-ranking MB official Essam Al-Erian for the return of Israeli Jews from Egyptian origin incited strong reactions.

In his widely read column Nisf Kelma or Brief Word, Ahmed Ragab questioned the motive of MB leaders to pay compensation for Egyptian Jews who left to Israel decades ago.

But, Ragab wrote in the official weekly Akhbar Al-Youm, whatever the motive is, it is Egypt which should demand Israel pay $28 billion in compensation for the value of oil looted from Sinai from 1967 to 1979.

Mohamed Abul-Ghar wrote that he does not want to regard Al-Erian’s statement as his personal opinion because it came from a senior figure in the Freedom and Justice Party and a member of the Al-Shura Council.

“The MB wants to maintain US support for the group and open more doors of friendship with Israel. Thus it decided to harp on full US allegiance to Israel,” Abul-Ghar wrote in the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

It is well known, Abul-Ghar added, that the MB’s public discourse has been extremely racist against Jews throughout the last 80 years. They used to describe them as “pigs” in their public meetings and chant slogans against them.

The writer took the reader back to 1947 when some 80,000 Jews — out of 15 million Egyptians — were forced to leave Egypt out of fear because the MB used to attack and set fire to their shops and properties.

Thus, the only conclusion for that change of heart according to the writer is that the MB stated something they do not believe in. And this is a historically known MB strategy that the group considers: the means justifies the end.

However, Abul-Ghar added, “Israel is going to make full use of that statement by revealing all the records that show the MB’s historic stand concerning the Jews during the last eight decades and prove that the group is a liar.”

Abul-Ghar concluded his article by calling on the MB to stop its attempt to build bridges with the Jews who left Egypt 50 years ago and start building bridges with the Egyptian Christians and stop threatening to burn their churches and forcing them to immigrate.

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