Various state affairs were discussed in the two state-run dailies Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar on Wednesday. Several op-eds praised the regime and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who is expected to soon announce his bid for re-election.
Al-Ahram’s daily editorial highlighted the importance of the expected visit by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to Cairo, stating that Egypt is keen on the development of Nile basin countries through cooperation and that it will continue to present solutions at the negotiating table regarding the Renaissance Dam.
“What does the Egyptian woman want more?” was the headline of Al-Ahram’s Sherif Abdeen’s column, through which he said that Al-Sisi’s delivery of his promise to empower women and give them their constitutional right to equality is an achievement enough to elect him for a second term. Al-Sisi had announced the last year of his first presidential term to be the “year of women”
This comes as political expert and chairperson of the privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper Abdul Moneim Seed addressed the objectivity of state bodies in dealing with presidential elections, especially whether the media will be biased or not towards different candidates, who he said should also be judged according to the programmes they will present.
The president’ recent inauguration of projects in Sadat City in Menoufeya was applauded by Makram Mohamed Ahmed, head of the Supreme Media Council (SMC) and journalist Hany Assal.
In Al-Akhbar, Karam Gabr, head of the National Press Committee—which is under the authority of the SMC—wrote that the upcoming anniversary of 25 January will be different, as there are achievements to celebrate. “Optimism…because Egypt is witnessing unprecedented projects throughout its history,” Gabr wrote.
In the meantime, Mohamed Hassan Al-Banna opined about the success of Egyptian diplomacy, writing that he supports Al-Sisi’s recent statements where he called on the media not to engage in offensive content about African neighbours.
For his part, journalist Mohamed Barakat also expressed optimism in the “war on corruption”, a term that was recurrent in the media this week after the governor of Menoufeya was arrested on corruption charges just ahead of Al-Sisi’s visit there.
On the same issue, Al-Masry Al-Youm chair of the board of trustees, Mohamed Amin, took a different approach where he questioned what criteria serves as the basis of governors’ appointments and when there will be real investment chances without businesspeople having to bribe Egyptian officials. In the same newspaper, writer Hamdy Rizk opined that the case highlighted the increasing role of the Administrative Control Authority, to which the president is giving more support to be present for business deals involving the government.
On the presidential election, politician Amr Al-Shobaky commented on the withdrawal of former MP Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat from the race—when he cited that the real power should be in the hands of the people—but according to Al-Shobaky, decisions which affect citizens are discussed in tight, closed circles where representatives of the people through political parties and parliament are absent.
Also in Al-Masry Al-Youm, Sherif Rizk wrote a piece titled “Political work, between illusion and reality,” where he argued that the tools needed to develop the country are still obstructed, especially in public services. “We also tend to give things different names to avoid embarrassment, such as ‘elections’ for referendum, ‘national duty’ to describe the power of groups of interests, ‘national duty’ for subjugation, ‘religion’ for religious appearances,” Rizk wrote.
This comes as Ambassador Salah Halima, deputy president of the Egyptian Council for African Affairs wrote that tensions between Sudan and Egypt date back three decades, and that currently, Sudan is allying with partners that are drawing Egyptian concerns. Warning of the deterioration of the relations, Halima advised for the enhancement of bilateral relations within a broader regional context and called for the end of the media war.
Meanwhile, Emad El-Din Hussein, editor-in-chief of Al-Shorouk newspaper, picked up the issue of the Menoufeya governor once more, praising the role of the Administrative Control Authority.
In a different context, lawyer Tarek Abdul Aal wrote a piece commenting and condemning suggestions inside parliament to amend the prison law by banning terrorist suspects from being visited by family members in order to reduce chances of communication with other prisoners. Abdul Aal said the right to visit a prisoner could not be taken from the detainee or the family.
Also on human rights, former deputy prime minister Ali El-Selmy said that seven years after the 2011 revolution, Egyptians are still struggling with their constitutional rights and freedoms to be part of the development of society and have a say in the country’s affairs.
Several op-eds came in defence of the newly appointed minister of local development and his statements about the need to stop citizens of Upper Egypt flowing to the capital.