Logo of the Egyptian Council of Municipalities
CAIRO – 6 May 2018: The government plans to reactivate municipal councils, all of which were dissolved during the 2011 revolution, for being loaded with corruption and loyalists of former President Hosni Mubarak's regime.
The Ministry of Local Development has reportedly allocated specific portions from its 2018/2019 budget to local councils, implying the government’s intention to permit municipal councils to work once again, MP Yousry Al Asiouty, a member of the parliamentary committee for local development, said in press remarks on Friday.
He stated that local elections may be held in the first quarter of 2019, adding that the local administration law is expected to be passed during the current parliamentary session. It will then be possible to hold local elections.
It is worth mentioning that Parliament’s Local Administration Committee held several meetings regarding the Ministry of Local Development’s budget, which could be allocated to facilitate development works in the governorates, as well as the headquarters of the municipal councils.
Municipal councils’ indispensable for development or corruption breeders?
In press statements, Wadhah al-Hamzawi, former governor of Sohag, said that the suspension of municipal councils has had a negative effect on governorates’ development because it had enabled the governors to easily implement development projects.
“The governor used to first come forward to the municipal council of his governorate before he could allocate any plots of land for investment purposes, and now he is obliged to present any development plans to the Cabinet during its meeting with the governorates, which takes only four hours,” he illustrated.
Hamzawi added that the governor may find himself not having adequate time to discuss all aspects of the governorate’s development plan.
On the other hand, former Minister of Local Development Ahmed Zaky Abdeen said that the former local councils did not have an effective role in contributing to the development of the governorates.
“The problem boils down to the lack of experienced and qualified people in these councils,” he added.
Former Deputy Minister of Local Development Mohamed Attia told Tahrir News that the bribery charges unveiled by the Administrative Control Authority (ACA) is “just the tip of an iceberg,” stressing the need to form a body of law officers that can be entitled with overseeing the work of the municipal councils and have the authority to immediately arrest corrupt officials.
From November 2017 to January 2018, the ACA managed to arrest various officials involved in bribery charges.
Following the 2011 revolution and the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, municipal councils were dissolved, as their heads were unfairly elected during Mubarak’s era.