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Even consciences are inspected when Sisi chooses his employees

February 15, 2022 at 2:19 pm

President of Egypt Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on November 12, 2021 [JULIEN DE ROSA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Two days ago, Brigadier General Khaled Al-Husseini, the spokesman for Egypt’s new administrative capital, announced that the transfer of employees to the government district in the new capital would be completed by the middle of this year.

The regime frequently insisted that only 40,000 government employees, out of a total of around five million, would be transferred to the New Administrative Capital Committee. The criteria for selecting these employees are still unclear, but are believed to be based mainly on standards that violate Egypt’s local laws as well as international agreements.

The government began evaluating the performance of all state employees in 2019, from grade four to managers and leaders, in order to choose the best people to move to the new capital and serve the regime elite who will live there. The evaluation process began with computer exams (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) in Arabic and English under the supervision of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The exams were conducted at the Armed Forces Language Institute in Nasr City.

This was followed by other tests focusing on political orientation and religious conviction, called “behavioural merit tests”. Dozens of questions sought employees’ opinions on religious judgements and who they are proud of (themselves, their family and their country); other questions were designed to provide information about their thoughts.

These tests contradict the Civil Service Law in Egypt, which governs the work of government employees. “Civil jobs are a right for citizens based on competence and merit,” the law states. “It is a mandate for those in charge to serve the people, and the state guarantees their rights and protection and performs their duties in the care of the people’s interests. Discrimination between employees in applying the provisions of this law on the grounds of religion, gender or any other reason is prohibited.”

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The process also contradicts international agreements, which Egypt has signed, that govern labour relations regarding employment discrimination and the Occupation Convention. Such agreements consider that any exception or preference based on political opinion is discrimination that violates the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The government also organised training courses for employees nominated to move with it to the new capital, which focused on raising national awareness and job fitness. It included concepts and dimensions of national security, Egyptian national security challenges, and an explanation of the idea of “fourth-generation wars”; elements of the state’s success, the scope of national security, awareness of Egyptian state institutions and the major projects being implemented in various fields, concepts of governance and combating corruption. The exercises included a competency programme package to “make the trainee responsive to the needs of the behavioural competencies based on the assessment.

These behavioural competencies include motivation for achievement, emotional balance, communication effectiveness and efficiency in dealing with reality, the efficiency of performance, openness to experience, self-confidence, teamwork, decision-making and time management.

This training aims to create compliant employees who lack political and religious opinions and are convinced of the regime’s vision of “national security” and the so-called “fourth generation wars”, which it intends to provoke through revolutions in targeted countries.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi wants to create a capital free of what he sees as “headaches”; a capital free from politics and focusing on the economy and business. In return, the chosen state employees are promised financial and housing privileges, as well as rapid career advancement.

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The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.