Pro-regime Twitter uses have posted under the Arabic hashtag “we trust in the army we trust in Sisi” in response to the revelations of a former army contractor who has accused the president and the military of corruption.
In a series of videos which went viral last week, Mohamed Ali, who worked with the army for 15 years, accused the military of squandering public funds and spending billions on their own families whilst ordinary people live in poverty.
Ali named the president and his wife as being among key figures who set up a parallel economy and said that they owe his construction business Amlak millions for projects they commissioned him to build.
The Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces assigned projects by direct order and forced companies to begin work without paying them, revealed Ali.
The videos were a living testimony to widespread concerns about the military’s involvement in civilian affairs, and were viewed and shared by millions with social media users posting under the Arabic hastag, “Mohamed Ali.”
Egypt’s former minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mohamed Mahsoob, who fled Egypt after the coup, called on businessmen to give their testimonies on corruption in the country.
“I do not know the author of the video on regime’s corruption, but I know there’s a large issue with corruption in our country and that it is the greatest conspirator against the dreams of the people to live freely and with dignity. I call on the businessmen who have been confined by the authorities to present their testimonies on an economic situation that not only harms them but also affects the rights of the general public and the future of generations to come.”
لا اعرف صاحب الفيديو المتداول عن فساد السلطة لكني أعرف حجم الفساد في بلدنا وأنه المتآمر الأكبر على أحلام الشعب في العيش والحرية والكرامة.
ادعو رجال الاعمال الذين اعتصرتهم السلطة لتقديم شهاداتهم حول وضع إقتصادي لا يضر بهم فقط بل يعصف بحقوق عموم الشعب وبمستقبل الأجيال القادمة.
— Mohamed MAHSOOB (@MohammedMAHSOOB) September 4, 2019
Others criticised Ali for remaining silent for so long and only speaking out once he was owed money.
This man, Mohamed Ali is obviously complicit in what regimes & the military did to the people for decades. he worked under corrupt terms & speaking out now becoz ‘thieves stole a thief’s money’
People of #Egypt deserve better (3)
— Amira El-Fekki (@afekki) September 4, 2019
In response pro-regime supporters hit back. One lawyer filed a complaint accusing Ali of high treason and spreading false news to offend state institutions whilst state-run media called him a fugitive Muslim Brotherhood member.
The Brotherhood has been outlawed in Egypt and all opponents of the regime are accused of belonging to or funding the group.
On Sunday, at a ceremony to honour top military officers who retired in July, Defence Minister Mohamed Zaki said that the armed forces deserve the confidence of the Egyptian people on account of their honesty and bravery. This was largely considered a PR exercise following the popularity of Ali’s videos.
Under the pro-regime hashtag users ask God to protect their president, confirm their trust, love and gratitude in the army, and thank him for saving their country from the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Brother! Wake up and leave your cocoon and express your love to your army, your country’s army, what are you afraid of? What will harm you if you blocked users who foul mouth your country’s army?”
يا أخي فوق وإصحى وأُخرج من شرنقتك واكتب في حب جيشك
خايف من ايه
ماذا يضرّك لو (بلّكت)كل مَن يكتب كلمه مُسيئه ضد جيشك
وتركته للجهات الأمنيه تُراقبه وتتبعه وتعرف مَن خلفه ثم تُحاسبه
نحن #نثق_بالجيش_نثق_بالسيسي زعيم مصر ويكفيهم شرف إنقاذ الوطن م الإرهاب.ولانخشى إلا الله pic.twitter.com/1ftvea4L8o
— salah alshazly (@alshazly_1234) September 9, 2019
“Since January 2011 there have been attacks on the army and the Military Council, which managed to push back until Egypt passed through the many challenges; from a civil war to foreign intervention, to organised terrorism,” Abuoali wrote.
“And after it gained control of the situation, a new war began. A war of distortion and scepticism of the army and its symbols, to destroy people’s confidence in the army. No way!”
من يناير2011 والهجوم شديد علي الجيش والمجلس العسكري إللي أدار الدفه حتي عبرت مصر الأمواج العاتية من حرب أهلية لتدخلات خارجية لإرهاب منظم
وبعد السيطرة على الأوضاع بدأت حرب من نوع جديد
حرب التشوية والتشكيك في الجيش ورموزه
لهز ثقة الشعب في جيشه ولكن هيهات #نثق_بالجيش_نثق_بالسيسي pic.twitter.com/oMsSsfLSc1
— Abuoali ☕🍫 (@abuoalihassan18) September 9, 2019
The regime has increasingly tried to control the social media space, which has proved harder than implementing an iron fist on the ground. In August Facebook announced that it has shut down hundreds of fake accounts run by the Egyptian company New Waves which paid new recruits to write messages in support of its ally the Sudanese military as they cracked down on protesters.