'Abu Dhabi-based political speech' by ex-dictator Mubarak's son Gamal rattles Egypt

'Abu Dhabi-based political speech' by ex-dictator Mubarak's son Gamal rattles Egypt
A video statement released online by the youngest son of late Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak has sparked mixed reactions in Egypt.
3 min read
Egypt - Cairo
18 May, 2022
Gamal Mubarak had been poised to take over after his father, Hosni [Getty]

An online video released by the youngest son of Egypt’s late autocrat Hosni Mubarak in which he declared that his family had been cleared of corruption charges by the ‘EU courts and beyond’ has sparked mixed reactions over the past hours.  

In the video, launched Tuesday evening from Abu Dhabi, Gamal Mubarak described the charges against him and his family as being “false allegations of corruption.”

Gamal Mubarak has been on a visit to the United Arab Emirates with his elder brother, Alaa, to pay respects to the ruling Bin Zayed family for the death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Earlier in February, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) investigation analysed data leaked from accounts held by the two Mubarak sons showing they owned a fortune worth $302 million at Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-largest bank.

Some social media users said it was illogical and highly unlikely that the family would acquire such vast fortune throughout the past decades without any foul play involved.

Others, meanwhile, took the opportunity to present Gamal Mubarak, who used to practice politics before the downfall of his father back in January 2011, as a possible presidential candidate for 2024.

The hashtag ‘Gamal Mubarak for presidency’ became a top trend in the region.

Despite this, many vehemently rejected the idea altogether.

A prominent political sociologist who weighed in on the discussion told The New Arab that by posting the video, this suggests “Gamal Mubarak has either presented his credentials for the coming presidential elections or been used as a tool by the Emirates and the US to exert pressure on president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.”

“The Mubaraks have certain loyal followers in addition to those disenchanted with Sisi, so this video targeted both. Also, Gamal addressed his audience in the video mostly in English as he seemed to have had western ones in mind,” the professor said, on condition of anonymity.

“Such a development could be a warning to Sisi from the Emirates, the kingmaker, or pressure for the sake of certain concessions wanted from him,” he added.

Gamal Mubarak surfaced in Egypt politics during the last decade of his father’s reign as a potential alternative. Prior to that, he had held a senior position in the then-ruling National Democratic Party.

The theory of the son succeeding his father, who ruled Egypt for thirty years, was perhaps one of the driving forces behind Egyptians mobilising to hold a revolution against Mubarak 11 years ago. This was compounded with other major factors including corruption, human rights violations, police brutality and rising poverty.

Following the 25 January revolution, the father and two sons were jailed for several years over charges of embezzlement and corruption. 

The brothers were released from prison after a $17.6 million settlement with the Egyptian government, without an admission of guilt.

In February 2020, Alaa and Gamal Mubarak were acquitted of the remaining charges against them. And in July last year, the prosecutor general unfroze their assets in Egypt.

In addition to mass corruption, the Mubarak regime was allegedly responsible for the imprisonment, torture, and disappearance of thousands of suspected dissidents.

Almost 11 years after Egyptians ousted Mubarak, life in Egypt has seen little change, with another military regime taking over, led by Sisi.