CAIRO — Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, Egyptian defense commander and the officer responsible for last summer’s military coup, announced his bid for the country’s presidency, and implicitly, the violent overthrowing of his regime.
“It is true this is my last day in uniform but I will fight every day [to keep] Egypt free of fear and terror,” said el-Sisi.
To save money, el-Sisi’s supporters have already submitted bulk orders for campaign placards that read, “Vote el-Sisi and end the fear & terror,” along with protest signs for a later date that read, “End el-Sisi’s reign of fear and terror!”
El-Sisi has been in control of the government since July 3 when he led Egypt’s army in overthrowing President Mohamed Morsi, a man whose path of disgrace and imprisonment he will follow in an almost Shakespearean twist of destiny.
Cognizant of the fate of Morsi and his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, el-Sisi has been reorganizing the military leadership according to perceived loyalties. Last Wednesday he promoted his friend and Chief of Staff General Sedki Sobhi to succeed him as defense minister. As they shook each other’s hand, neither man could predict that four months from now General Sobhi will lead the Egyptian army to the presidential palace and demand el-Sisi’s resignation amidst the applause of multitudes.
El-Sisi, 59, faces little competition for his ascension and subsequent unseating, as rival party the Muslim Brotherhood has been all but eradicated since Morsi’s ouster.
For the most part, Egypt’s citizens are looking forward to its yearly tradition of overthrowing a brand new despot. While el-Sisi was preparing his speech, security forces used teargas and birdshot on Cairo University students who were caught demonstrating prematurely.
“While I don’t know many of his positions off the bat, I’m excited to learn everything I can about Commander el-Sisi’s campaign promises,” said Hesham Mekki, a shopkeeper in Cairo, and former Morsi/Mubarak staunch supporter/vehement detractor. “This is mainly so that when they fail to come true, I can scream ‘liar’ and ‘ash-shab yurid isqat an-nizam’ while we burn him in effigy this August.”
“It’s democracy in action,” said Mekki.