Former Sisi campaigner turns his back on president

Former Sisi campaigner turns his back on president
Blog: Hazem Abd al-Azim appears to have had second thoughts over supporting the Egyptian president.
3 min read
14 Jul, 2015
Abd al-Azim has changed his political alliances several times since the revolution [YouTube]

Hazem Abd al-Azim has launched a vehemently critical attack against President Sisi on social media.

Azim, formerly one of the top officials in Sisi's presidential campaign, has a reputation for changing his mind - being opposed to military rule after Mubarak was ousted, then jumping on Sisi's bandwagon after the coup against President Mohammad Morsi.

It seems he has made his latest U-turn, lashing out at Sisi in a strongly worded 70-point tweet series.

"Changing my mind about Sisi, even though I was a part of his election campaign, has been gradual," tweeted the university professor.

"It began while I was working in the campaign when I was convinced he was the only president that could save the country from the clutches of terrorism."

Abd al-Azim listed numerous points of criticism, including his dislike of Sisi's "overly emotional" style of ruling, his lack of policies to benefit young people and the gang of celebrities he took on his recent visit to Germany.

He strongly denounced Sisi's handling of the killing of political activist Shaima al-Sabbagh, who died at the hands of the police:

"I was utterly astounded when Sisi said 'Shaima is my daughter'. I felt as though he was only saying it because her case had become a matter of public opinion."


I thought he would change a lot, but he has stuck to the same old policies

- Hazem Abd al-Azim 

He also stated his disapproval of the perceived ill-treatment towards former prime minister Ahmad Shafiq, Sisi's declaration that he is divinely guided and his decision to launch nationalist vanity mega-projects instead of small and mid-sized projects to boost Egypt's economy.

Abd al-Azim has not been the only high profile critic of the president recently. Footballer Ahmad al-Marghani was benched for three games for blaming Sisi for the deaths of army personnel in an attack by an armed group on the Sinai peninsula last week.

The backlash against Abd al-Azim's 70-tweet rant has been swift.

Mustafa Bakri, a journalist and former member of parliament, phoned into a popular political talk show to say "dissidents" such as Abd al-Azim were working for Egypt's enemies - and should have their tongues cut off.

The pro-Sisi Twittersphere also lashed out at the activist with the usual nationalistic slogans, army adoration and accusations of treason.

But it's not all bad for Sisi. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi recently told al-Jazeera: "I think Sisi is a great leader. I think the position for Egypt is absolutely crucial in the Mediterranean and I think after a lot of crisis, polemics, tensions, finally Egypt invested in the future with the leadership of Sisi."

Renzi's comments followed the bombing of Italy's consulate in the heart of the Cairo, killing a civilian and wounding nine people, in the first attack on a foreign mission since an insurgency began during a harsh crackdown on Islamists.