Dressed in his beige and brown camouflage military uniform, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi officially announced his presidential bid to the Egyptian populace on Wednesday night. In the long-anticipated announcement, Sisi declared that he was hanging up his uniform and quitting his post as Minister of Defense to run for the presidency.
Since the military’s ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, Sisi has simultaneously occupied the offices of First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Minister of Military Production, and Chief of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
The 59 year-old confidently announced, “This is the last time you will see me donning my military uniform.” The presidential hopeful added, “I have always considered myself to be a soldier, ordered to stand in defense of the nation.”
Sisi declared, “Millions of Egyptians have called on me to nominate myself for the post of president.” He did not mention that State TV, radio, newspapers and websites had repeatedly called on the Egyptian populace to occupy Tahrir and other public squares on January 25 — the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising — to demand his nomination.
“We need to be honest with ourselves. Our country, Egypt is facing a number of large challenges. Our economy is weak. There are millions of unemployed youth who are unable to find job opportunities in Egypt. This is unacceptable.
Moreover, there are millions of Egyptian suffering from illnesses who are unable to access healthcare. This is another unacceptable situation.”
Sisi added that Egypt’s being a recipient of foreign aid was also unacceptable — although he did not specifically mention the country’s receipt of over a billion dollars worth of military aid each year from the USA in this regard.
Healthcare, education, housing should be made available to all, he asserted.
Sisi called for the restructuring of the Egyptian State and the resumption of “the wheel of production,” a term coined by the mainstream media during the 2011 uprising in reference to labor strikes and other industrial actions which led to work-stoppages.
However, the field marshal did not mention that hundreds of thousands of workers have been and are still striking to demand the re-operation of stalled companies, the improvement of governmental services, and accountability for state corruption and mismanagement, or that due to an energy shortage the government has been requesting that energy intensive industries reduce production to save power.
Sisi went on to add that he would not tolerate foreign interference or meddling in Egypt’s domestic affairs. It’s not clear whether Sisi was implying that strikes were being influenced by foreign forces.
“The populace has a duty to work,” said Sisi. “Hard and dedicated labor is expected of all Egyptians.”
Rising in the ranks as a military intelligence chief under Hosni Mubarak, and later promoted to preside over the armed forces by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, Sisi’s star continues to rise over Egypt.
Sisi announced that his nomination for the presidency should not exclude anybody else from nominating themselves for this post.
However, the now-retired field marshal did speak of terrorism and efforts to root it out. Egypt’s largest political force, the Muslim Brotherhood, was officially branded an outlawed terrorist organization on December 25.
“We’re all in the same boat, and we strive to reach the shores of stability.”
“I don’t have an electoral campaign program in the traditional sense,” said Sisi. His approaches and plans are yet to be clarified after clearance for his nomination from the High Presidential Elections Committee.
“May God protect and preserve Egypt and its people,” concluded the presidential hopeful.