Egypt Watch

Al-Sisi’s statements on population increase provoke widespread criticism

Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s statements, on Monday, during the opening of the Medical Complex in Ismalia, have provoked widespread criticism on opposition media outlets and social media.

Al-Sisi said that the population overgrowth has not just affected the health sector but expanded to other sectors, confessing that Egypt does not have efficient education and health systems, and that the majority of the people suffer bad living conditions.

Immediately, the state-sponsored media and the governmental officials echoed the words of Al-Sisi. The minister of planning Hala Saeed said that the population crisis is the main challenge, which prevents “sustainable development”. She added that the ministry studies how other countries have succeeded in lowering the birth rate. The pages affiliated to the ministry of Awqaf and religious affairs on Facebook launched a campaign under a tag that says, “Family planning is not forbidden.”

The pro-state TV host Tamer Amin said that the people of Upper Egypt have many children because they use their children to earn money. “They send boys to workshops and girls to houses as servants,” said Amin. Such statements raised wide criticism because they blame the deterioration of health and education services on the population increase rather than the government itself.

The prominent columnist Professor Yehia Al-Qazzaz said that the problem that causes poverty and the deterioration of economy and services is not population overgrowth, but rather the overgrowth of tyranny, misdistribution of wealth, mismanagement, their monopoly over decisions, and poor priorities. In the same vein, Al-Qazzaz criticised al-Sisi’s statement, that politics is not just human rights and that he accepts freedom of opinion only when the opponent has a good understanding of the matter. Al-Sisi’s statement showed the extent of tyranny he practices according to a mindset at odds with human rights, democracy and freedoms.