Sunday, March 8, 2015

Meet Egypt’s New MOI Guy : Magdy Abdel Ghafar

On Thursday El-Sisi appointed retired police general  Magdy Abdel Ghafar as the new minister of interior replacing Mohamed Ibrahim .
Magdy Abdel Ghafar 

The 1953-born Abdel Ghafar got a very interesting C.V than Ibrahim.
After his graduation from the police academy in 1974, Abdel Ghafar joined the central security forces sector till 1977 when he moved to the State security. He remained there till 2008 when he was promoted to become the head of Ports security authority.
After the 25 January revolution , he was appointed as the head of the newly founded Homeland security which replaced the State security in March 2011. In the same month he appeared on TV promising that there would be no return to the old State security as there would be no more human rights violations after the revolution.

Magdy Abdel Ghafar’s interview on Al-Hayat TV in March 2011
He was then promoted to become the minister of interior’s aide for the Homeland in December 2011. He continued in his position till he was officially retired in August 2012. According to a leaked recorded conversation published in November 2013 by  Al-Watan Newspaper between ousted president Mohamed Morsi and some unknown person , the Islamist president refused to renew to Abdel Ghafar in order to “give to the new faces” an opportunity in the ministry of interior calling him “that boy Abdel Ghafar”.

Morsi : That boy Abdel Ghafar
It is worth to mention that Abdel Ghafar retired in August 2012 , the same month that witnessed that horrifying massacre of Sinai’s borders guards. 
The former police general was among the Egyptian officials who accused the American University in Cairo “AUC” of having “foreign agendas” and “shady activities” harming the country’s security. He was also among the eye witnesses who testified in the murder of Siyad Belal trial case. Siyad Belal was a young Salafist youth who was arrested as as suspect after the Two saints church bombing in early 2011 and was tortured till death by a State security officer.
Abdel Ghafer also testified in the trial by the request of the defense team “In this case the defendant aka the state security officer” in March 2012. There has been a media gag order on his testimony so it is not known what he had said.
Despite originally found guilty in the trial in 2011 , the SS officers accused of torturing Belal are now free. One of them was found innocent in 2012 while the other was released pending the trial in 2014.
Ironically Thursday marked the 4th anniversary of the storming of State security by revolutionary protesters which ended up by young protesters giving up all the documents they found in the SS HQ in Nasr City to the army as good concerned citizens. 
Trivia : His father was a police general and he come from the famous Abdel Ghafer’s Family in Mounfia , Nile Delta.
The Pro-Regime/Pro-Mubarak/Pro-Sisi are all repeating the same words that we should give the new guy chance at the same time they do not hide their happiness on how the President has chosen a State security police general because he will bring stability back by his toughness and so on.
Of course many concerned that having an SS officer as the minister of interior will increase the crackdown on the opposition forces.Others say that the man is an expert in MB and that’s another blow to them.
Well the man did not waste any time. In less than 24 hours following his appointment as minister of interior , he announced a huge reshuffle movement inside the ministry. This means that he knew he was going to be the minister for quite some time in order to prepare that reshuffle that including : The heads of Homeland security , The head of prisons sector and the General security.

From the interesting facts in that reshuffle that minister of interior aide for telecommunications police general Salah El-Din Hegazy who represented MOI in the National Telecommunication regulatory authority has become the head of the Homeland security.
In the end it is about changing faces in the ministry of interior will not make life better but rather adopting real reform policies that make police and the ministry of interior in the service of the citizens and law for real will make life better.
Interestingly human rights activists also found that the new head of prison sector Hassan El-Sohagy was convicted in 1992 of torture in a case that went back to 1986. The court sentenced him 6 months in jail. 
Now moving to the other new ministers in the reshuffle, we got new ministers in tourism , telecommunications , education , agriculture  , Culture and education. I find it so much interesting that the ministers of tourism, telecommunications and agriculture were changed just week before that Huge Economic conference in Sharm El-Sheikh. Already in other countries ministers have there own plans for their sectors so I do not know what kind of message we send to foreign investors. Of course when it comes to agriculture , I hope that newly appointed minister Salah El-Din Halal has got some sort of rescue plan to save the Egyptian cotton.
Now there is a big fuss about the newly appointed about the minister of culture I believe it deserves a standalone post.
There are new two ministers for two newly founded ministries : Minister Hala Youssef for the ministry of population and Minister Mohamed Youssef for technical education. I would say we got those two new ministries as President El-Sisi expressed his concern about the increasing population and the need for better technical education.

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