Al-Sisi Names Former Generals As New Provincial Governors

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi named six new provincial governors on Wednesday, in a series of appointments that extended the influence of the military and security forces, reported Reuters.

Five of the six new governors held senior roles in Homeland Security and the military before their appointment by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former general and minister of defense who launched a military coup against Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Three of the six positions were previously held by civilians. With the appointments, only eight of Egypt’s 27 provincial governors now have civilian backgrounds.

For decades, many provincial governors came from the army or police. After Morsi was elected president, following January Revolution in 2011 that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule,” Morsi briefly named more civilians, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, to which he belonged,” said Reuters.

However, Under Sisi, the role of former soldiers and police is being restored in an unprecedented way.

Wednesday’s appointments include the naming of former Transport Minister Atef Abdel Hamid, an ex-army officer, as governor of Cairo, a position that has been vacant for six months.

In the same context, another retried major general was appointed as the new supply minister whose nomination was approved by parliament.

Maj. Gen. Mohamed Ali el-Sheikh, who retired from active service about 18 months ago, was appointed as the new supply minister which is a key post tasked with the distribution of subsidized food items on which the majority of Egypt’s 91 million people depend for their survival.

El-Sheikh replaces Khaled Hanafi who resigned last month amid corruption allegations involving wheat procurement. Hanafi has not been charged with any crime yet.

Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer and the Supply Ministry is in charge of both importing it and running the country’s massive state food subsidy program.

Before he retired, el-Sheikh was in charge of the military’s supply network, which oversees the distribution of food, water and fuel to all units. After retirement, he took over the military’s department running hundreds of outlets selling food items at discount prices to the civilian population, a network that has recently been expanded to counter double-digit inflation.