10 Reasons Why Shafik Should Leave

March 1, 2011

I just sent an email to a friend of mine who is against Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq leaving office and thinks those calling for him to leave right now are being unreasonable.

At first I was against Shafiq leaving myself, then I was torn and couldn’t make up mind. I decided I must have a clear stance with clear reasons. And I reject his mere association with Mubarak as a reason.

Below is the text of that very long email.

1. Wednesday February 2nd, Camels and Guns. There are rumours that Shafik himself was involved in the order to shoot. Taking note of that, but also putting that aside because it is as of yet unverified, Shafik is still politically responsible infront of the people.

(a) The day before he said ‘3ala re2abty’ (literal translation: ‘on my neck’) and meaning I guarantee you on my life that no one is going to cross or assault the people in Tahrir.

(b) His response was not immediate even though the fight took place over the course of more than 12 hours.

(c) His half-a-day too late response was “I did not know”. If he indeed did not know, then he is not suitable for the job. I understand that he had taken his post only a couple of days earlier. But then again, he also confidently and reassuringly stated the day before (On My Life). On a personal level, I had no reason to trust him then but I did and he failed me.He wanted people to trust him on his word because there was nothing else he could offer. If he did truly believe he could handle the situation and guarantee (absolutely, and with his life on stake) safety to the people but realized that he couldn’t, the decent, upright, politically correct thing to do was to admit his miscalculation or misreading of the situation and resign the post for someone else who might be more capable. More so when people, 25th coalition are actively and incessantly calling for him to leave.

(d) On this incident, he said, he promised (again), he will investigate, find the culprits and prosecute them as soon as possible. Until now, no one has been prosecuted and no solid explanation has been given. The slowness of this response is accentuated by the Armed Forces reaction to the transgressions of last Friday. The very next morning, the people responsible were listed and prosecuted.

2. Shafik when he first started a month ago (end of January), he was asked in an interview, if a Minister fails to deliver in a couple of months will you let him go? He said 10 days, not a couple months. 10 days. I don’t care if he is a politician who is just saying that. These are critical days where every word and every action is closely scrutinized and closely monitored (justifiably so. That is how it should be). He himself hasn’t been fulfilling what he said (in fact promised) he would do. Again, right now there aren’t really any guarantees that anyone could offer, other than one’s word.

3. In the very first days after Mubarak stepped down, Zakaria Azmy (Mubarak’s right hand man, many say he was Egypt’s effective leader, and one of the Big Three – Sorour- Al Sherif – Azmy) that are currently under the radar) was allowed to roam around in President’s house and the government in general and some say he was shredding papers. Again, I don’t know to what extent that news bit about shredding is true, but the fact is he was not banned from private meetings and his access was not limited from governmental offices with important documents. As head of the Cabinet (with the many verbal guarantees and few actions), I hold Shafik accountable.

4. Current Minister of Interior, Mahmoud Wagdy. At first I thought he was actually different and was going to deliver. Many said that he was very close to Habib El Adly and part of his clique and that he has a reputation for being ‘bloosy’. We can take note of that, be wary of it, but put it aside as there is perhaps no clear incriminating evidence. But then a couple of days ago he was interviewed and he commneded the officers on their work the 25th-28th saying that they did the best they could considering they were understaffed, that the people they hit were ‘foreign agents’ and ‘plants’. Same rhetoric Habib El Adly used before him. Same rhetoric of the old guard. Absolutely unacceptable (a) in and of itself because it disrespects people’s intelligence and disrespects the people who were killed and maimed by the police on those days and (b) because rhetoric reflects mindset. Why is this Minister still in charge of the most critical and most vunerable institution of the state right now? The fact that the head of the Cabinet did not change him means he approves of him and ascribes to his school of thought. Unacceptable.

5. Head of Central State Security, Hassan Abd El Rahman. The branch he heads is the notorious one that is predominantely constituted of militant recruits and is allowed to work wearing civilian clothes. They are the ones who have been responsible, under Mubarak, for dispersing demonstrations, monitoring media personnel, monitoring university personnel…etc. He along with Cairo’s Head of Security and the Minister of Interior’s assistant for State Central Security have been named by Habib El Adly in his interrogations as co-culprits (as the ones who gave him the wrong information) and have been asked to the court twice. The other two were released from office and are held under house arrest, while the head of the Evil Insitute is not only still free, still in office. Why? Not to mention that the recent fire at the Ministry of Interior that burnt important evidence and many recent mysterious skirmishes across the country between police and citizens and the recent skirmishes between Armed Forces and people in Tahrir (which it turned out were triggered by elements posing as demonstrators). Why has he been in office and Why is he still in office? (Note. Many are calling for CSS to be dissolved entirely. I am not with those people, I am just saying the head of one the most corrupt and absusive and directly abusive entities in the state needs to be fired from office and prosecuted). I hold the head of the Cabinet accountable for not addressing that very serious issue. Even if I am going to assume the best of intentions of his side (which is now suspect), I can’t overlook the fact that it is flagrant mismangement and proof of his incompetency and ineffectiveness for the job.

6. Minister of Foreign affairs, Ahmed Abou El Gheit. He is currently randomly firing ambassadors and assigning his relatives in their stead. He has been rejected under Mubarak’s regime, not just for corruption and nepotism, but for sheer incompetency and inadequacy for the post. He would ramble on in vulgar colloquial arabic during important interviews and meetings with other foreign ministers and International figures. He would yell and crudely gesticulate and make asinine statements. He was by no means articulate in a job where eloquence and being representable are very important. He was, and still is, completely unfit for the job during Mubarak’s reign, much less now. Not to mention that he was the one who said “I didn’t know the revolution was going to succeed” or something to that effect. Why has he been in office and Why is he still in office? I hold Shafik accountable

7. Minister of Justice, Mamdoo7 Mar3y. He was the one heading the committee that supervised last parliamentary elections. The day before yesterday 56 Jusges filed a case against him accusing him of exploiting his Office along with other charges of corruption with evidence to back their accusations. Why has he been in office and why is he still in office? I hold Shafik accountable.

8. The NDP is still functioning as a political party and its quarters all across the country are still active and have not been shutdown. Moreover, Mubarak has not resigned from his post as head of the NDP. The NDP as an institution and a former ruling entity needs to be dissolved and that falls under Ministerial jurisdiction. Why hasn’t that happened yet? I hold Shafik accountable.

9. Shafik did call the revolution by its name until very recently (he said it was a ‘movement’) and had made several statements undermining the seriousness, the authenticity and the demands of the revolutionaries. During a critical and sensitive time like this, he should be very careful with his words and with sounding like he’s is mocking or making fun of the Tahririans.

10. One of the leading announcers on State TV resigned a couple of days ago. He said because orders came to him to interview Shafik instead of another episode he had prepared. He said he rejected that in principle. Moreover, he said that because he was with the revolutionaries in rejecting Shafik’s legitimacy, he couldn’t justify interviewing him. All the while, he made sure not to attack Shafik’s person and praised him personally and expressed respect towards his person. I personally think he shouldn’t have quit because he was the only asset left for State TV not to mention that his reasons are (to me) invalid. That aside. He called on Mona El Shazly to verify the news bit and provide the explanation I just mentioned. Shortly after he hung up, Shafik called on air, I want to respond to Mahmoud Saad’s comments. He first provided an explanation that I personnaly didn’t really get but was something to the effect that it wasn’t intended and there was a misunderstanding. Then he said, “I believe Mr. Mahmoud Sa’ad’s salary has been cut from 9 million to 1,5 million. I believe that’s what happened right before he quit”. I heard that with my own ears. live. First, by saying that he was questioning Mahmoud’s integrity by saying that he gave wrong reasons for quitting and as such he was attacking his person. Second, even if it was true (and I doubt it because he is an honest man and my dad knows him personally) but even if, that is such a low blow unbecoming of a Prime Minister. Especially because Anas El Feky (former despicable Minister of Media) had just done the exact same thing (mentioning the announcer’s salary) a few days earlier and was viciously attacked for attempting to slander a widely respected public figure. There are many other reasons that people cite but that I don’t agree with or think are unfair or just flatout wrong (for example, why did it take them so long to prosecute El Adly and why was he first prosecuted for money laundering first and not for manslaughter and why wasn’t Mubarak’s assets immediately frozen and why was Mubarak not immediately prosecuted…etc).

It is not a risk free situation. We’ll be taking a risk with Shafiq stepping down. But we’ll be taking a bigger risk with him staying.

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