“Al-Sisi is a must” was the argument made by his presidential campaign in an effort to offset the absence of political or economic programmes from his campaign platform. After more than 20 months in power, the harsh realities of Al-Sisi have spoken more clearly than any programmes or announcements could have ever done.
Al-Sisi’s supporters, once happy to consider him their hero, are today joining the rest of the population who are suffering from deficiencies in the areas of stability, security, and the establishment of a constructive economy; the cornerstones of Egyptians’ daily lives.
Al-Sisi, who dreams of Egypt as a developed, prosperous nation is in fact making Egyptians live through a real-life nightmare: their currency is deteriorating, investments are declining, there are no new employment opportunities, and security is absent. When asking Egyptians to be more patient, the president appears not to realise that the majority of the population lives from pay cheque to pay cheque. Therefore practically speaking, they will not be able to accommodate him for long.
He wants to control Egypt completely but without offering any promises to his compatriots. Claiming that 25 years are needed to instate true democracy, he managed to do away with any advances in freedom of expression and the overall democratic momentum gained after the 25 January Revolution in 2011. Meanwhile the president is imposing his impractical ideas and policies (implemented by his incompetent executive team) on 90 million citizens.
Alleging to have rescued Egypt, which was about to be completely taken over by a terrorist group (the Muslim Brotherhood), Al-Sisi adopted a ruling strategy that allows him to control the Egyptian authorities (who are supposed to function independently) and to manipulate citizens at large. This strategy is prompting all authorities, as well as the media, to support his vision fully – at the expense of having a democratic functioning state. At the same time, our president is working to either marginalise or criminalise his opponents, depending on their political status. In return these opponents are doing their utmost to destroy the country that does not recognise them as citizens.
The cement blocks that surround many government entities to protect them from terrorist attacks reflect the present narrow ruling mentality. These blocks are not only physical barriers; they also form a mental barrier which only allows decision-makers to see security from one angle. Meanwhile terrorists are finding many vulnerable targets to attack and regrettably quite successfully too.
Al-Sisi wants to boost the influx of tourists visiting Egypt and to increase direct foreign investments but neither objective will be realised in a country that lacks basic security, whose citizens are not in harmony, and where the majority does not trust the president’s policies and the future he has planned for their country. Foreigners will certainly refrain from visiting and investing in a state that does not have the confidence of its own citizens.
He is proud of having completed the political roadmap by running parliamentary elections that resulted in bringing in even more of his incompetent supporters to parliament, to complement the manipulated media and biased authorities. This has literally resulted in blocking all channels for qualified, knowledgeable people who want to contribute to their country’s welfare, leaving the political scene entirely to those whose main purpose is to benefit from their proximity to the president. As a result, Egyptians are left to survive a continuous nightmare, with the responsibility for the entire country lying in the hands of a single person.
Al-Sisi needs to distinguish between his wishful thinking and reality. He may have good intentions but the realities on the ground are so ugly that they have forced many well-qualified Egyptians to decide to leave their homeland. Unfortunately until a proper democratic mechanism is in place, we can only expect to continue living through this dilemma. The challenges facing Egypt will not be solved by replacing Al-Sisi with another ruler while still maintaining the regime’s current mindset; the regime itself must either change or leave.