'I always tell the truth, even when I lie': Sisi says he’s disinterested in power

'I always tell the truth, even when I lie': Sisi says he’s disinterested in power
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has delivered a speech saying he never lies and is not interested in power, exposing himself to more mockery on social media.
3 min read
08 November, 2019
Sisi told Egyptians he never lies [Getty]

Egypt’s autocratic President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been mocked on social media yet again after a speech he made to celebrate the occasion of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

Speaking at an event on Thursday organised by the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments Sisi said, "People who know me know that I have never lied, even when I was in a place which political people say needs… moral zig-zagging and things like that… there’s nothing like this".

“The Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, was a leader, and he was straightforward,” Sisi added.

Read more: Whistleblowers, repression, and regime panic will fuel Egypt’s next uprising

Sisi also said that he “never intended to nominate himself for the presidency” and that he told the previous interim Egyptian president, Adly Mansour, to run for president instead.

“I spent months trying to convince him, I told him please take this decision [to run for the presidency] and I will stand with you from my position. But he refused and told me, ‘no, this is not possible, that’s enough, it’s ok.’”

In June 2013, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was Egypt’s Defence Minister at the time, led a military coup against the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi. Adly Mansour, who was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, was sworn in as president on an interim basis. He was widely considered to be a figurehead.

In June 2014, Mansour handed over the presidency to Sisi after Sisi won an incredulous 96.7% of the vote in a rigged presidential election. Sisi has ruled Egypt with an iron fist since the coup, imprisoning and torturing political opponents and suppressing freedom of speech and the press.

His comments about never lying and being disinterested in power were poorly received.

Last September, a construction contractor, Mohamed Ali, revealed that Sisi had spent millions of dollars of public funds on luxurious palaces while the government was imposing harsh austerity measures on the population. The resulting scandal became known as ‘Palacegate’ and thousands of Egyptians protested against Sisi in Cairo, Suez, and other cities.

Mohamed Ali, who has become a focal point of opposition to Sisi, mocked the president for his comments in a new video, saying that he had a “surprise” for him which would be revealed on 15th or 16th November.

Ayman Nour, the exiled leader of the Ghad El Thawra party and a former presidential candidate, wrote on Twitter,

“[Sisi] said, ‘I spent months trying to convince Adly Mansour to nominate himself while I stay as defence minister but he refused and everyone else was disinterested’. Of course, this is true. Adly Mansour wasn’t interested because he had seen for himself what happened to Dr. Mohammed Morsi.”

Morsi died in an Egyptian courtroom in June 2019 after being imprisoned for years and not receiving treatment for chronic diseases he suffered from.

The hashtag #You’re_a_liar_Sisi was trending on Twitter on Friday. One Twitter user said, “You’re_a_liar_Sisi, you said we were poor and it turned out we had palaces”.

Another Twitter user, Hamza said, “You say you didn’t want the presidency, so why did you imprison Samy Annan, Ahmed Qansawa, and Abou El Fotouh and place Ahmed Shafik under house arrest? You’re_a_liar_Sisi”.

He was referring to Egyptian politicians and military officers who had previously tried to run for the presidency.

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