Following the adoption of the so-called open-door policy under the directives of international financial institutions, the Egyptian government refrained from any involvement in all economic ventures, thus giving ample room for the few domestic and external exploiters to have a free hand in the economy. Such a destructive policy eventually led to acute socio-economic crisis. This article would highlight the dangerous aftermath of this policy. Mushrooming of the habit of bribe and corruption
The blend of authority and wealth
In a country where there exists no effective tax and customs collection institution and control mechanism, the end result of so-called free market policy is to impede competition and lead to gross exploitation of citizens resulting in growing burden on people’s living standard. Another dire consequence of such a scenario is the mushrooming of corruption on the part of employees and executives from the bottom to the upper level.
In pursuit of the policy, the Egyptian government exposed 84 million of the country population to acute hardship, while creating conducive ground to a handful of local and external mafia elements. Reports indicate that only 1% of the Egyptian population managed to control 80% of the national wealth as a result of the policy. This state of affairs led to a situation where the rich manage to assume state power. The long-standing National Democratic Party (NDP) turned out to be neither national nor democratic, and as such became a mere amalgam of owners of capital and companies. Hence, the key posts, be it ministerial, party or government were in the hands of the owners of huge capital. For instance, the ex-secretary of organizational affairs in the NDP, Ahmed Ize, is one of the multi-millionaire Egyptians who owns a number of companies.
The blending of power and wealth gave rise to widespread corruption on the part of government functionaries at all levels. It is said that the ministers of housing, international affairs and tourism are well known for amassing huge wealth through bribery.
Administrative and Political Corruption
During the Housni Mubarak Presidency, the culture of corruption and family affiliation was widely practiced in all administrative institutions and other state organizations. In brief, any national has to bribe some functionary to get legitimate service and even to have a child enrolled in school. In other respects too, any foreign visitor has to bribe someone be it in the airport, sea port and hotels, among others.
Explaining the rampant corruption during Mubarak rule, Dr. Aziz Sediq who served as factory engineer in the days of Gamal Abdel Nasir, has this to day: “How come any minister amass tens of millions of money within 3 years after assuming office?”
Coaches of Corruption
In the wake of the overthrow of Housni Mubarak through popular uprising, media outlets have been reporting that his family capital assets amount to USD 70 billion. Stated otherwise, the ex-President used to steal over 2 billion dollars each year of his rule. But how? What about the role of western banks and heads of western intelligence agencies keen to turn heads of state into mere servants during the transfer of 70 billion US dollars to banks in the western countries? And what ploys were employed to cover up the scandal? One also wonders as to the extent of wealth that ministers and generals serving under Mubarak amassed. In light of all these, it is not difficult to discern the scope of plunder committed on Egypt and its people.
The cause of theft and corruption among government officials does not solely rest on the greed of individual office holders only. It is worth noting that foreign experts also have a hand in the whole mess. The leading banks around the globe equally have special contact persons with those officials in power. Obviously, it is theses very western institutions that “advise” and encourage certain leaders to deposit huge sum of wealth in their respective bank accounts. All said, corruption involves international network.
Corruption has multifold dimensions, and that the worst of all is political corruption. In view of the fact that the ruling party and government authority ultimately fall in the hands of the few owners of capital, closely controlling the election process is thus imperative so as to create sustainable ground. According, any person eligible for becoming members of the National Assembly is only the one that secured card of acceptance from the ruling party which they control. In line with this ploy, the ruling party has been continuously looting the resources of the country for tens of years through maintaining 98% of parliamentary seats. As a face-saving maneuver, the ruling party has been allotting 1 or 2 seats for other parties, which was even totally discarded in the 2010 elections. The Egyptian people are well aware of the elections were but theatrical. The electoral commission and the court too are not only aware of that but are also the culprits.
Thus, the so-called open-door policy is in essence exposed 84 million of the Egyptian population to dire poverty, besides laying the groundwork for exploiters. However, this distressing state of affairs cannot continue for ever irrespective of being externally-backed. The aforementioned administrative and political corruption is therefore one of the main causes of the strong popular uprising that led to the overthrow of Housni Mubarak. The next article would deal with the strategy employed to militarily paralyze Egypt and its aftermath.