The Egyptian Parliament voted Sunday on a cabinet reshuffle. Generally, the upcoming presidential election continues to be a major topic in the media, while local controversy over a New York Times report on Egypt acquired space in several op-eds.
In Al-Youm Al-Sabea, two op-eds tackled the situation of Egyptian governors, against the backdrop of a recent cabinet reshuffle. Dandarawy Al-Hawary, the newspaper’s senior journalist from the editorial team, wrote that unlike the “great performance” of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, officials are stuck with unproductive measures.
Al-Hawary argued that unsuccessful ministers included tourism, local development, and health and that the country’s leadership is always struggling with the dilemma of finding competent men whether as ministers or as governors. He saw that only five governors out of 27 are doing their jobs, calling for their replacement.
Likewise, former military spokesperson Mohamed Samir criticised the same ministers and stated the same opinion about the need to replace several governors. As for journalist Amr Gad, he indirectly brought up the issue by writing about the corruption of officials in Alexandria, stating the continuous collapse of buildings and the incapability of officials to provide solutions for citizens.
On a different note, Al-Masry Al-Youm’s Chairperson of the Board of Trustees Mohamed Amin commented in his piece on the situation of the media in Egypt, following recent controversy which erupted from a New York Times report on an alleged intelligence service officer instructing media hosts on what to tell the public on the issue of Jerusalem. “Unfortunately, we have more instructions than information…those who have information do not believe in the public’s right to know,” he wrote.
Admitting the presence of state control and censorship over all types of media in Egypt, Amin however put the blame on media professionals who are followers and do not have their own “national vision.”
In an issue related to the Times report, Al-Ahram’s Nabil Omar wrote an op-ed titled “Fire, fury and lies,” in reference to Michael Wolff’s controversial book on US President Donald Trump. He said in both publications, Egypt was portrayed as having a different stance on Jerusalem and the Palestinian cause behind closed doors than its announced one, as it is proceeding with a Saudi-American-Israeli alliance against Iran. Omar dismissed all claims about Egyptian intentions towards Palestine in those accoutns, saying that Egypt’s interest is that Palestinians manage their land and that American administrations continue to show “hostility.”
Al-Ahram’s Khaled Al-Asmai called the report a “failed, amateur conspiracy” and “made up” and aimed to stir tensions between the Egyptian regime and the people, or Egypt and the Palestinian people, or “defaming Egypt within the Arab and Muslim world.”
Last but not least, Ahmed Abd Rabou, assistant professor of comparative politics at Cairo University, addressed the absent role of political parties in Egypt’s presidential election, unlike in the rest of the world where electoral work is dependent on the efforts of political parties in organising and mobilising.
In the privately-owned Al-Shorouk, Abd Rabou wrote that presidential candidates will work individually as political parties have been weakened, whether by their own failures or due to pressure they face from the regime. This has resulted in the “emptiness” of politics and lack of ideologies and electoral programmes, as he pointed out that crackdowns on freedom of expression will lead to accumulated anger and noninstitutionalised ideologies growing “in the dark” until they “blow up.”