Thursday, 4 August 2016

Tanta… Mr. President




I’m afraid some might misunderstand this article as it comes a few days after a paid advertisement was published in the first page in a newspaper… the ad called upon the president to interfere to find a solution for a serious problem in Gharbiya governorate…

So first, I have to say that there is no connection between that ad and this article and if there is a link, it’s the problem that has occupied many people’s minds of those citizens of Tanta; capital of the middle Delta and capital of Sufism in the whole Islamic world… Since it holds the mausoleum of the most famous pole of Sufism; Sidi Ahmed el-Badawi in addition to a bunch of long and modern time faithful worshippers of God… not to mention other spiritual concepts that are not less important but it’s not our main issue right now.

The problem is that Tanta is a closed city in a closed governorate; meaning it has no desert land and there is no place for urban expansion unless you build over agricultural land or build higher floors and make good use of the spaces available inside cities and villages… in a way that is legal and doesn’t ruin the most fertile agricultural land of Egypt accumulated by the river through millions of years until the accumulated soil average depth reached 28 meters…

Consequently, that led to higher prices of buildings’ land and as a result, higher prices of real estate… in general; housing problems worsened… which makes it absolutely necessary for officials in charge to take action regarding this problem…

I don’t know the governor of Gharbiya… but because I’m in touch with what’s going on in the governorate which I’m honored to be one of its sons as I was born, brought up and educated there until I reached secondary school… also, through following some of what is being published, I knew he is an efficient official who knows right and wrong and fight corruption that spread in our country…

However, I, like others, have no explanation for ceasing to issue construction permits in Tanta, which is a model or typical study case for a poor-in-land-available-for-construction city… as when citizens who seek construction permits go to have one, they receive very strange answers… the strangest is inserting the armed forces in the matter…

Meaning if a citizen possesses a 100 meters square area in an alley or small street in one of the city’s hamlets or neighborhoods and which will not exceed the specified altitude as per set by the law of construction in correspondence to the street width… then he finds no permission because the armed forces is inspecting the issue of altitudes or taking photos!

In addition to other false alibis that all led to hindering the construction workforce sector meaning construction carpenters, steel fixers, wood and steel merchants, workers working in concrete and others serving those people like tea and food sellers… not to mention the soaring prices of apartments while people’s savings are being eaten away; those who have saved every penny waiting to build a house or another floor, or buy an apartment… and then they find all their savings withering away due to inflation and high prices…

All this while officials in charge are paying no attention to the problem… now I ask both the governor and minister of domestic governance whom I know is a real straight man that can never accept to harm those poor people… I also ask the prime minister: why have you ceased to issue construction permits in Tanta and may be other cities in the governorate?... I also don’t know if such decision applies to all cities in Egypt or it’s only applied on unlucky Tanta?

Should people publish paid ads in newspapers calling upon the president to solve the problem and interfere for the sake of protecting people’s interests and livelihoods since he is the only one who declares and insists that he shall protect the poor and look after their interests?

If this is the case… then what I write here is in turn a call for president Sisi to interfere to save Tanta; capital of Delta and capital of all Sufism capitals in the Islamic world… This call regarding such issue is complementing what I wrote in last week’s article about the necessity to fight the vicious corruption that is eating away our country…

If such corruption is clear and evident in the structure and system of the foreign affairs ministry as I said in last week’s article… then what happens in Gharbiya governorate regarding tackling the problem of lack of lands available for construction is a consecration for such corruption which aims at undermining people’s sense of belonging to this nation and popularity enjoyed by the president personally… instead of working hard to increase such popularity, officials work as if they are appointed to hit it in the core.

So Mr. Governor, will you please find a way out for the construction permits’ problem?... no one ask for exceptions or breaking the law… just imagine that you have cashed in your pension reward and then decided to build a house on a piece of land you inherited, and then you find no permit without a clear convincing reason.

I believe the president has enough problems and crisis to tackle… and he has already declared days ago that the governor is the president of his governorate… so will you please Mr. Governor find a way out for such problem instead of calling upon the president to interfere himself?

Translated into English by: Dalia Elnaggar



This article was published in Al Ahram newspaper on August 4, 2016.

To see the original article, go to:


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