“Stop saying nonsense”: How Sisi thinks about the people?

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Last Monday, during the activities of the first conference of the National Alliance for Civil Development Action, the president called on the Egyptians to stop “saying nonsense” and that:” the conditions are tough, but this does not mean that the government will not work to solve the crisis.”

The president usually uses such terms because he does not like to listen to dissenting voices, and he is the one who expressed the experience of the Nasserist media in the sixties. Although the president managed to nationalize the media and close any independent media, the objecting voices usually active on social media sites do not gain the president’s favour.

This was not the first time that the president used this word. He had previously said it in July 2021, during the “Decent Life” celebration, when he was talking about the Renaissance Dam crisis and the government’s failure to reach a binding agreement with the Ethiopian government on filling and operating the dam, which has raised significant concerns among the Egyptians about the crisis and its impact on Egypt’s share of the Nile water. And the president said at the time: “Live your life, and we are on our way and our plans, and everything, thanks to God, is going well, great, and well, and do not worry about anything, and please live your life, and I will say a word that you say: “Stop saying nonsense.”

Does the president apply what he asks of the people?

The natural thing that the president talks about is balanced speech using correct data in a scientifically studied manner and without rhetoric. The president said in his speech, “Listen from us, not because we are more truthful than others, but because we have data.” Does the president apply what he asks of the people? Going back to a few positions and speeches of the president, we will find that he often prefers to deviate from the script and speak in a colloquial dialect to the audience. “Hajj Saeed is there? Hey Haj Saeed, what do you say? Do you work on Deshna Project and finish it within a year? Well, do you take the money after a year?”, The quote from the text of the president’s speech in December 2021. At that time, the president spoke during a conference to inaugurate several national projects. At that time, he assigned the number of projects on live tv to Hajj Saeed and Engineer Hani Tadros, and they agreed on the financial details and implementation period live!

The president does not like feasibility studies, which he considers hindering “achievement.” In December 2018, the president said, during the “Africa Forum” opening, “If we had dealt with Egypt with feasibility studies only, we would have achieved only 25% of what we have achieved.” The president still refuses to work according to the feasibility, despite his admission of the failure of the Furniture City in Damietta, due to the lack of interest in studying all the elements of the project. The president’s most prominent statements were last October when he spoke before the economic conference, which was initially held to discuss the problems of Egypt’s economic policies during the current period. Since many party figures and financial experts attended the meeting, it was the most significant event recently and the highest level in conferences that the president attends to speak.

At this conference, the president said many wrong numbers and misinformation, on top of which he talked about establishing 21,000 schools per year, which is an incorrect number, as the average number of schools that are set annually according to government data, has reached in the last eight years were only 6,000 schools, about a quarter of the number announced by the president. Amid many inaccuracies and incorrect numbers, the president said that the government is trying to maintain the number of hospital beds available to citizens. However, this is not true, as the state still needs to preserve the number as it is. Still, it has decreased over the past years.

At the same conference, the president said that the state’s public treasury did not bear the construction of the new administrative capital, which is also wrong information, as the significant expenditures on the facilities of the new administrative capital were from the state’s general budget. The expenses amounted to about $59 billion, according to a report published by New York Times. Despite the error of the president’s policies, which he admitted about feasibility, he did not abandon his logic. In late October, he said: “There are projects related to products or production requirements that do not need feasibility.”

The current crisis, as seen by the president

Previously, the president had preferred to attribute the state’s crises and problems to History, starting with talking about the heritage of decades of government neglect and to the January 25 revolution, in which the state “has been exposed” according to his description at one time. However, recently, and in light of the current economic crisis in which the government has reduced the price of the pound against the dollar several times, reaching record levels with a shortage of foreign exchange and inflation rates that are the worst in years and a rise in commodity prices by no less than 30.9 % compared to a year ago, he sees that the crisis is because of Corona epidemic. The Ukrainian war on Russia said that this crisis did not affect Egypt alone but all countries worldwide.

The president compared him to the 1960s, which he considered a golden period in terms of the spread of official discourse and the decline in rates of “saying nonsense,” and said that he did not engage in military adventures in which he wasted the country’s money, wondering: “And we, as a state and people, cannot stand up to any challenge, and if Egypt’s circumstances are difficult, will you abandon her?” The president clings to his justifications about the current crisis in using high-interest loan funds in infrastructure construction. Even if the main goal is to increase the president’s popularity among citizens, he still believes that it is more critical than the productive projects that provide the country with foreign exchange, and despite the government’s announcement to stop spending on national projects is not a modification of the government’s course decided by the president, but until the end of the crisis or until the decline in popular satisfaction, meaning that the president will continue when citizens apply the advice of the president “to stop saying nonsense”, or until the end of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, and what has been followed by lowering the value of interest from countries that withdraw “hot money”, to target the higher interest pursued by his government, which returns it to his treasury.