The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Egypt, designed for dictatorship?

Egypt's government: designed for dictatorship - Opinion - Al Jazeera English:

Egypt’s government is designed for a dictatorship: It is extremely centralised and tightly controlled by national policy, and local councils are void of power. Although Cairo’s three governorates have separate budgets and various departments, they largely depend on the country’s ministries, led by presidentially appointed ministers, to care for essential elements of the urban environment: housing, schooling, transport, parks, healthcare, etc. Governorate budgets largely go to paying salaries rather than public spending. There is no unified city government with elected local officials and a mandate to effectively manage the city. Instead, governors do the occasional ribbon-cutting, and make hollow announcements regarding randomly selected projects that suit their whimsy.

A good piece on Cairo's governance as a metaphor for the country's by Mohamed ElShahed. This kind of stuff is part of what has to change in the way the country is managed. Also, informal areas are as much designed for corruption and the rise of a mafia state as they are for autocracy.