Egypt Arrests More Than 1,000 After Anti-Sisi Protests

Egyptian protesters shout slogans as they take part in a protest calling for the removal of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo’s downtown on September 20, 2019/AFP

 

Egyptian authorities have arrested more than 1,000 people, two rights groups said Wednesday, in the wake of rare anti-government protests last week.

The Egyptian Centre for Freedoms and Rights said 1,003 had been arrested, while the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights reported the figure of 1,298 detained. Two prominent academics were detained on Tuesday, relatives and lawyers said.

Egyptian Parliament Votes To Extend El-Sisi Presidency

his file handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency on June 2, 2018 shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi giving a speech during his swearing in ceremony for a second four-year term in office,/ AFP

 

Egypt’s parliament on Thursday gave preliminary approval to constitutional changes that would allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in power after his second term ends in 2022.

A total of 485 lawmakers out of 596 “endorsed in principle the constitutional amendments after three consecutive sessions that lasted more than 10 hours,” a statement on parliament’s website said.

It did not say how many MPs voted against but Haitham al-Hariri, a member of a small opposition group, said 16 MPs opposed the proposals.

The amendments will now be submitted to parliament’s legislative commission which must draft them into legislation and return them to parliament within 60 days for a final vote.

READ ALSO: Egypt’s President Al-Sisi To Chair African Union

If the vote is passed by a majority of two thirds, parliament will then hold a referendum in line with the conditions of the 2014 constitution.

Backers of Sisi, a former army chief who was re-elected president in March 2018 with over 97 percent of the vote, have been pressing parliament to repeal an article in the constitution limiting presidents to two consecutive four-year terms.

The key amendment endorsed Wednesday calls for extending the president’s term in office from four years to six, parliament said on its website.

But critics of this amendment have cried foul.

“We are placing absolute powers in the hands of one person… at a time when the people were expecting us to give them ‘bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity’,” lawmaker Ahmed Tantawi said on Wednesday in a rare criticism of the government, using the slogan of the 2011 uprising that ousted veteran president Hosni Mubarak.

Eleven non-governmental rights groups have also said they reject the amendments, namely the one that would extend Sisi’s presidency and another that would empower the army “to defend the constitution”.

The “proposed amendments threaten stability and sanction (the) lifelong presidency” of Sisi, they warned in a joint statement released Wednesday by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS).

“These amendments… exercise unprecedented unilateral authority; while granting custodianship over Egypt’s constitution and democracy to the military establishment, despite the military’s utter disrespect for both since Sisi’s ascension to power,” it said.

Signatories included the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, the Egyptian Front for Human Rights and the Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms.

Sisi led the army’s overthrow of Mubarak’s successor, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013 following mass protests against the Islamist leader’s rule.

Sisi won his first term as president the following year.

His government has been widely criticised by rights groups over the repression of dissidents.

As well as a crackdown on dissent, Sisi has overseen a military campaign against Islamic State group-linked militants in the Sinai Peninsula.

AFP

Dangote’s Worth Drops By 32%

Dangote's Worth Drops By 32%Nigerian born Africa’s richest man, Mr Aliko Dangote, has lost 32% of his wealth.

Bloomberg reports that the president of the Dangote Group, lost 4.9 billion dollars in June, representing one-third of his wealth.

The decline resulted from the effect of falling oil prices and the devaluation of the naira, dragging the magnate’s ranking to 112 on world’s billionaires’ list.

With a total value of 10.4 billion dollars, Mr Dangote was the world’s 46th-richest person as at June 2016.

Aliko Dangote was also recently named as the second most powerful person on the African continent.

In the latest edition of its 74 world most powerful people, Forbes Magazine named billionaire Dangote along with 70 others including Russian President, Vladimir Putin; US President-Elect, Donald Trump; and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Mr Dangote is listed as number 71 ahead of Trump, and the 68th most powerful in the world for this year.

The business mogul has constantly featured on the list since 2013 when he was listed as the only black African among 100 most powerful persons on the planet.

As of 2013, Dangote was the only African listed among the most powerful people in the world before the Egyptian president, Abdel El-Sisi recently featured on the list.

Aliko Dangote Among Forbes World’s Most Powerful

Dangote Among Forbes World’s Most PowerfulAfrica’s richest man and Nigerian-born head of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has been named as the second most powerful person on the continent.

In the latest edition of its 74 world most powerful people, Forbes Magazine named billionaire Dangote along with 70 others including Russian President, Vladimir Putin; US President-Elect, Donald Trump; and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Mr Dangote is listed as number 71 ahead of Trump, and the 68th most powerful in the world for this year.

The business mogul has constantly featured on the list since 2013 when he was listed as the only black African among 100 most powerful persons on the planet.

As of 2013, Dangote was the only African listed among the most powerful people in the world before the Egyptian president, Abdel El-Sisi recently featured on the list.