Supporters of Gamal Mubarak, the 47-year-old son of President Hosni Mubarak and assistant secretary-general of the ruling National Democratic Party, last week launched a poster campaign throughout Cairo calling for the younger Mubarak’s nomination in next year’s presidential elections.
The campaign was organized by the self-styled “Popular Support Coalition for Gamal Mubarak.”
Coalition coordinator Magdi el-Kordi spoke to Al-Masry Al-Youm about the coalition’s support for the younger Mubarak, foreign schemes to destabilize Egypt, and the coalition’s makeup.
Al-Masry Al-Youm: What’s the point of forming the coalition?
Magdi el-Kurdi: Anyone who reviews what’s currently happening in the political arena will notice more than one issue: for example Nubia, Darfur, frequent sectarian strife, Nile water and the crisis with Nile basin countries. All of these are crises reaching their peak in the year leading up to the presidential elections, in order to set a foreign agenda in Egypt. As founders of the coalition, we believe Gamal Mubarak is the one who will protect us from these foreign schemes.
Al-Masry: But why Gamal Mubarak specifically?
El-Kurdi: Gamal Mubarak is an Egyptian youth whose dream has been shattered. He wanted to found the “Future Party” before it was transformed into a non-governmental organization. After policy work for a long time within the National Democratic Party, he has enough experience, in addition to his extreme diplomacy. Despite the fierce attacks he endures on a daily basis, he hasn’t got himself involved in any altercations or conflicts.
Al-Masry: Some people say Gamal Mubarak doesn’t need popular support, since governmental support is enough.
El-Kurdi: Gamal Mubarak doesn’t have any more chance than anyone else–for example Hamdeen Sabbahi, who can nominate himself for the upcoming presidential campaign. Gamal Mubarak is our choice and the one we will support in the elections, on the condition of Article 77 of the Constitution being amended.
Al-Masry: Who are the members of the coalition?
El-Kurdi: It’s composed of 4000 members of the poorest people. When we came up with the idea three months ago, we visited villages where we asked the poor about their political opinions. We found the majority of Egyptians support Gamal Mubarak, based on the concept of “Who we know is better than who we don’t know.”
We do not extend membership to businessmen, members of parliament, or political elites.
Al-Masry: Banners hung in el-Darb el-Ahmar and Sayyeda Aisha districts seem to have been expensive for the coalition. What is the source of the funding?
El-Kurdi: The cost of the whole campaign didn’t exceed LE50,000, including banners, and was mainly funded personally by coalitian members. We refused some funding offers from MPs. The main part of the coalition’s budget is funded by a friend named Ahmed el-Menshawi.
Al-Masry: Some people will accuse you of trying to get closer to Gamal Mubarak for personal gain. What do you think?
El-Kurdi: We know this pretty well. None of us will nominate himself for parliament. We will collect funding from coalition members only. Our support for Gamal Mubarak is became he’s the only choice now on the political arena.
Personally, I have always rejected the inheritance of power idea, but the foreign scheme currently being played out in Egypt compels us to unite.
Al-Masry: But personal gains are not limited to parliamentary membership and financial funding only…
El-Kurdi: I have no comment. I know independent newspapers will not leave us alone. Whoever has the idea that we are benefitting from the campaign is encouraged to uncover this. We are citizens who care for this country’s interests. Up until now, we haven’t had contact with Gamal Mubarak.
Al-Masry: You were a member of the leftist Tagammu Party. Why did you leave the party?
El-Kurdi: I froze my membership. We are supporting a citizen whose name is Gamal Mohamed Hosni to hold office. He’s an ordinary citizen who has visited poor people in villages. If there’s anything preventing Gamal Mubarak from being informed about the problems of citizen, we must inform him of it.
Al-Masry: Hassan Nafaa considers your coalition to be supported by businessmen in the NDP who will benefit from Gamal Mubarak’s presidential candidacy. What’s your opinion?
El-Kurdi: To be realistic, we know this country suffers from corruption. The question is whether corruption is a result of President Mubarak’s time in power, or whether it was inherited from the age of President Sadat?
I personally think Mubarak has delayed in countering corruption, because he was fighting religious extremism. Now I believe Gamal Mubarak will fight corruption.
Al-Masry: What’s the source of your faith in Gamal Mubarak?
El-Kurdi: I read his statement, which said, “I am committed to fighting corruption,” and this is evidence of his intention to eradicate it.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.