CAIRO — Egyptian revolutionary and Islamist groups voiced concern on Tuesday that the appointment of new governors by the interim president includes too many army and police officers, raising fears among critics that the old regime of autocrat Hosni Mubarak is making a comeback.
The two sides are bitter rivals, but voiced similar condemnations over the appointments, which saw 12 military and police officials secure posts in Egypt’s 27 provinces. Many of these officials served in key posts during Mubarak’s three decades in power.
Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, swore in the governors, removing all 10 of ousted president Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood appointees, though many had left to protest in Cairo against the new military-backed government. The Brotherhood rejected talks with the government, much less participation in the post-Morsi transition.
Supporters of Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected and civilian president who was overthrown by the military July 3, say the governorships show that top security officials seek to keep power in the hands of generals. They point to the ouster of Morsi as further evidence.
Morsi was toppled after millions of Egyptians demanded he step down for what they saw as his failure to govern inclusively and manage the economy after years of autocracy and corruption under Mubarak. Many said Morsi acted only on behalf of his Brotherhood group.
Activist group Tamarod, which led mass demonstrations across the country against Morsi just days before the coup, said the appointments do not express the goals of Egypt’s 2011 revolution that toppled Mubarak. Tamarod spokesman Hassan Shaheen was quoted on the state-run Ahram news website as saying that former Mubarak-era officials should not be named to such posts because they proved to be incompetent, corrupt, and inefficient.
On the same website, the Strong Egypt Party of former Brotherhood leader Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh described the appointments as a step toward the militarization of the state.
The spokesman of the ultraconservative Islamist Watan Party, a sharp critic of Morsi’s ouster, warned that the selection of governors pushes Egypt back to how it was when the presidents hailed from the military, including Mubarak.
“Liberalism in Egypt means riding a tank behind a soldier to steal the state,” Yousri Hammad said in a post on Facebook. “The new governorship moves resuscitate life back to the dissolved National Democratic Party,” he said, referring to the former ruling party.
The shake-up came as supporters of Morsi reinforced their six-week-old sit-ins in the capital and called for more protests across the country to demand his reinstatement.
The former president’s supporters have ramped up protests in the past two days after news leaked of security plans to besiege their Cairo protest camps. Police delayed action to avoid bloodshed.
Authorities, meanwhile, extended the detention of more than 100 pro-Morsi protesters detained in various clashes.
Among the key demands of protesters is the release of top Brotherhood leaders charged with inciting violence.
Also Tuesday, a Cairo court said it would begin hearings on Sept. 7 for former Brotherhood lawmaker Mohammed el-Beltagy and three others for their alleged role in the abduction and beating of a policeman. Beltagy is also among those wanted by police for allegedly inciting violence, but has taken refuge among thousands of protesters at the main Cairo sit-in, beyond the reach of police.