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Egypt: army controls state sector job offers and promotions in ‘militarisation’ move

Appointments and promotions within the Egyptian government are now controlled by the army, with a six months training course at the Military Academy a prerequisite. This was confirmed in a circular issued by the Egyptian Cabinet containing a presidential directive to state institutions.

Independent Egyptian website Mada Masr quoted unnamed government sources as saying that the objective is both financial and political. The aim is to generate income and ensure the loyalty of new employees.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has apparently attended the interviews of applicants for positions in the Ministry of Transport since February. In April, he attended the interviews of a number of candidates for civilian positions in the Ministries of Education and Transport, which were held at the Military Academy. According to presidency spokesperson Ahmed Fahmi, Al-Sisi reviewed the electronic testing system and spoke with several job applicants to “understand their perspectives and thoughts about the positions they are applying for.”

In response to the claim that this is militarisation of employment in all but name, the minister of transport said that he welcomes employee selection based on this method. “What is wrong with teaching applicants about security to protect and shield them from harm?” he asked. “We want to hire competent and patriotic employees.”

Security investigations conducted by the intelligence services and national security agencies are even conducted to vet potential head teachers in state schools. The Minister of Education has confirmed that those teachers who pass the Military Academy programme will be awarded a diploma in “Educational Leadership and National Security”, paving their way to take up senior management roles in schools.

Human rights activist and former MP Dr Ezzedine El-Komy, described the process as “unprecedented” and claimed that it “violates the law and the constitution.” He pointed out that the intention is to limit appointments and promotions to employees who have no affiliations with Islamists anyone of a religious background. “These courses aim to brainwash the employee to ensure their loyalty to the military establishment, not the state.” He cited the comment by the transport minister to support his case. “He came from the military establishment so of course he does not object to the militarisation of jobs. Why doesn’t the Central Agency for Organisation and Administration not conduct the necessary tests for state employees despite being authorised to do so?”

According to Egypt’s Finance Minister, Mohamed Maait, the government has allocated EGP 3.7 billion ($119 million) for the appointment of 70,000 employees, including 30,000 teachers, 30,000 doctors and pharmacists, and 10,000 employees across all state institutions.

It should be noted that the Civil Service Law does not require applicants for government jobs to complete military training courses at the Military Academy or pass qualifying exams and courses, say observers. The process is thus a violation of the law and unconstitutional.

According to the Director of the Global Development Studies Centre, Dr Mustafa Youssef, no Egyptian president has ever attended tests for civil service applicants attending a military committee, alongside the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the Defence Minister and a number of military officials as if it were a war cabinet, not an appointment panel for an employee in a school, hospital or public transportation sector.” This, Youssef added, confirms the army’s grip on all state matters in Egypt.

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