Al-Ganzouri recounts in his memoirs the scenes of Mubarak’s decision to remove him from the premiership


Prepared by Ismail Al-Ashwal:

Posted in: Wednesday 31 March 2021 – 11:30 AM | Last update: Wednesday, March 31, 2021 – 11:30 am

On the years of formation, struggle, and moving from the village to Cairo, through the years of study and the end of assuming prestigious positions until the end of his first government in 1999, the events of the memoirs of the late Prime Minister Kamal Al-Ganzouri, issued in 2014 by the Dar Al-Shorouk, (My path … the years of dream … … and isolation … from the village to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers).

Al-Ganzouri passed away today at the age of 88, after a great administrative and political career, as he took over the presidency of the government twice, the first of which was in the second half of the nineties after the launch of the privatization program and the transformation of Egypt with its economic link completely, and the second time was in delicate circumstances that witnessed the administration of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces affairs. The country is an exception, during which the most important electoral elections were held after the revolution of the twenty-fifth of January 2011, with the election of the People’s Assembly and the Shura Council and the President of the Republic.

In his memoirs, Al-Ganzouri spoke about his last days as prime minister during the Mubarak era, and the conspiracies and intrigues he faced during that time that ended with his dismissal, so he says:

In the year of public action farewell, the measures of the excitement have escalated, and I leave this a little. And I reaffirm the priority of work in the fourth year. It was the same during the previous three years (1996 – 1998). It was based on pushing the production sectors in agriculture, industry and construction, and what all this required in terms of supporting productive services activities such as transportation and communications, and driving and moving activities such as petroleum and electricity.

It also continued to accelerate development to get out of the old valley, which had narrowed its people for decades, and was no longer able to provide them with the minimum food and housing, nor the normal movement in its cities and villages even on foot, nor the security of its children, as the narrow place gradually affects Slowly on nerves and human behavior.

For all this, the government hastened to work on exiting northern Egypt, east and west, and south east and west, in continuation of the steps it started during the eighties and the first half of the nineties.

• I have prepared 3 national projects in Sinai, North and South Upper Egypt, so that my efforts will not be wasted after leaving the position of responsibility

As Minister of Planning in successive governments during that period, I sought to include national plans, what the community needs and needs in terms of building infrastructure in the inhabited valley, including roads, bridges, ports, stations, electricity networks, sanitation and drinking water, schools, and hospitals, as far as resources allowed The state, and to make every effort to prepare for the exit from the Old Valley to Sinai, the Eastern Desert and the Western Sahara, by extending the networks of paved roads and providing energy in many of these areas.

In order for this effort not to be lost or dispersed if I did not continue in the position of public responsibility, I have prepared three national projects:

First: The National Project for the Development of Sinai in September 1994.

Second: The National Project for the Development of Southern Upper Egypt in April 1996.

And third: The National Project for the Development of Northern Upper Egypt in May 1996.

These projects included the solutions necessary to solve the problems facing these areas, the work prospects for their development and reconstruction, and adequate financial allocations for that, whether for what the public sector and the state could do, and what the private sector could undertake after making sure that it was ready for them directly by providing the necessary incentives for that. And the timetable for achieving what is targeted. These documents were presented to the Council of Ministers, and after their approval, they were presented to the People’s Assembly and the Shura Council and approved.

At the end of the nineties (1999), the fourth year of the government, the reclamation of the lands of the northern delta available on the Salam Canal No. 1 was expedited, and the fourth plague under the Suez Canal was completed. The main canal, and the completion of the construction of two bridges over the Suez Canal, and the payment of work on the railway line from the city of Qantara east to Rafah.

In the northwest, efforts were made to complete the construction of Al-Hammam Canal No. (2), after work had been completed on Al-Hammam Canal No. 1, which branched from Al-Nasr Canal. Thus, we were able to reach the water to the El Alamein region on the northern coast. Efforts have increased to complete the project of establishing the eastern port of Al-Tafria on the White Sea, and the project of establishing the port of Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea. The effort accelerated farther south, to the east, to the iron and steel projects to the east, to the Toshka projects, to Darb al-Arbaeen, and east to Al-Owainat to the west.

• The government that came after me thwarted my projects despite the authority’s praise for it while I was in office

Unfortunately, officials in the next government, along with the governmental media, sought to thwart these projects, which they had previously approved, praised and gave many names to them, such as the projects of the Great Renaissance of Egypt, the New Map of Heliopolis.

Lasting dream

The practical reality confirmed that field follow-up is a supreme necessity not only to solve the problems that arise in a timely manner, but to stop them and reduce them before they occur. The goal was to push the growth rates of the GDP year after year, after the rate was about 3.5% in the last year of the previous government (1994/1995), it became 5% in the year 1996/95, 5.1% in the following year, and 6% in the third year, It reached about 6.2% in the fourth year (1998/1999). This required support for private and public investments, year after year, in order to increase growth rates. With this local effort, economic relations with Arab and African countries had to be strengthened.

I remember traveling to Tunisia in the first of April 1999 to hold the joint ministerial committee between Egypt and Tunisia, as I was surprised the evening before, that Dr. Osama El-Baz asked me to tell me that he sent a written letter from the president to my house to deliver it to the Tunisian president to Zine El Abidine. I was not satisfied with such matters, so how can the prime minister carry a written message, this is the role of an ambassador or assistant to the foreign minister, especially since these letters do not deviate from general words expressing the depth of the close relationship between the two brotherly countries, and the good wishes of the president, king or prince . Is it difficult for a Prime Minister to say this orally?

I did not say anything to Dr. Usama Al-Baz, so that he did not explain the matter inappropriately, and decided to meet the President on Zine Al-Abidin at this time on the condition that I be alone, but I asked that engineer Maher Abaza be with me after I explained to him that he was tired of carrying the written message and he was grateful and accepted. A very polite man carried the message. At the meeting and after the pictures of the meeting were taken, and after some time I mentioned that the President sent this message to your Excellency, and I took it from our colleague, Eng. Maher Abaza, and presented it to the President, Ali Zine El Abidine.

In mid-April 1999, I was accompanying the president to visit China, South Korea and Japan. On his visit to Japan, something happened that may seem simple but unacceptable. When disembarking from the president’s plane, I was surprised that the president, his wife, his son Jamal, Dr. Zakaria Azmi and Mr. Jamal Abdel Aziz had left the plane while the rest of the delegation was seized.

A few minutes later, we got off after the president and his companions left the airport. Upon arriving at the hotel, I felt upset about what happened, so I called Mr. Nabil Fahmy, Egypt’s ambassador to Japan, and told him that I would not attend the Egyptian and Japanese businessmen meeting scheduled for this afternoon, and this was the first meeting in the visit program, and she confirmed that I reject what happened to me at the airport. He said, “It is not my responsibility, but it is all on the Japanese side.”

But I said I will not attend, and the president knew of the situation, so he called me directly to my room number without the help of any of the secretaries and said: What is the airport news, Kamal? I said: Nothing. He said: I see you in the meeting. He wanted to say, “No need for what I did,” but he did not say.

In the end, it became clear that he was gathering all of this inside him, and he was showing his lack of distress from these behaviors to a subordinate who maintains his dignity in an excess as he sees it. And he kept his frustration with these behaviors within him, until a day came with a sudden decision, without any introduction or warning signal, but the opposite was what he was keen on.

At the end of July 1999, there was a last session that lasted more than two hours, during which the president discussed three draft laws to refer them to the People’s Assembly, the last of which was a project for the Ministry of Justice, and upon leaving the president told Dr. Zakaria Azmi, he sent these laws to the People’s Assembly, the latter replied that The draft law on the Ministry of Justice is being objected to by the Minister of Justice. Kamal is the responsible prime minister and chief justice minister.

This saying, it may seem an appreciation to my person, but it is confirmed later that it is a camouflage and a postponement of what he had planned in his mind, so that it would be a completely lonely decision that was completely surprising and shocking to the utmost extent, and I do not know what the pleasure in this is?

• The Chief of the Bureau conveyed words that I did not say .. and when we discussed the matter, Mubarak shouted at me: Zakaria Azmi does not lie

To sign!

In the end of August 1999, and it was a Wednesday that I remember well, as it was the visit of Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel, and on the same day the visit of Mr. Suleiman Demirel, President of the Republic of Turkey, and the President was returning from Algeria the same morning, and he told us that he had not slept the previous night. It was known that the president’s failure to sleep in the crowd of work agitated his nerves, and here Dr. Zakaria found the opportunity to strike at the relationship between me and the president, and the matter began by saying to me:

Barak will arrive at this hour and your Excellency and the defense, media and foreign ministers will receive him, and upon reaching the Ras El-Teen Palace the President will meet Mr. Barak for forty minutes, then you will join the meeting, so what do you think ?!

I said: With regard to the meeting, I will enter directly or after forty minutes or not, this is the president’s right, but I only comment on accompanying Barak from the airport to the palace. Is this the president’s request or is it back to my opinion, and if I have an opinion, I don’t like this and one of the ministers is enough to accompany.

Here, Dr. Zakaria did what he liked and was always waiting for, and when the president entered the palace, while we were still on the way from the airport, he told him that Dr. Kamal refused, and did not explain “eh rejection” in order to increase his anger. Upon reaching the palace, Barak went to the bathroom, and here the president asked me, and as soon as I entered he revolted against me, and this had not happened before for more than twenty years, even with a word of reproach or guidance, and he said:

How is that? The Prime Minister of Israel, Beijing, came to Ismailia to meet Sadat, and I was Vice President and I did not attend the meeting.

I said: I did not object to this, but it did not give me an opportunity to state the truth of the matter.

And he said in a loud voice: Zacharias does not lie.

So I said: And I am not lying .. Hear me, Chief, hear me .. Give me a chance.

He said: No.

I said: No .. no ..

The meeting ended, and his anger, anger and sadness were more intense. I imagined and even realized that my dismissal would take place today or tomorrow. But it was strange that he met me in the following days, more friendly than any period ago ..

So I said to myself: I entrusted my affairs to God

After that, the president’s anger increased a lot without anyone notifying me, after learning that the planning rejected a request to increase the investments allocated to the presidency. A memorandum was presented to increase the investments allocated to the Ras El-Teen Palace project and the Princesses Pavilion for the fiscal year 1998/1999, and it indicated to the memorandum the following text: “This can only be approved after verifying the terms of implementation and whether it was done by direct order, and what before 98/1999, and what after 98/98. 1999, ie the total cost. ” Of course, it was a valuable opportunity for Dr. Zakaria Azmi, to immediately present a copy of this visa.

On Sunday, October 3, 1999, Al-Gomhouria newspaper and the main article of the writer Samir Ragab were published under the title Al-Maghroor, and the conversation was about me. I did not care and considered it a bid on the part of the writer, who refused to grant him an exception in the height of the new building of the new Al-Gomhoria newspaper on Ramses Street. But I learned and later confirmed that the article was written under the direction of the president.

All these evidences and others did not cause concern, because work is progressing and popular acceptance continues .. I even remember that Major General Omar Suleiman visited me one week ago, when he talked about the expected ministerial change, and I said: Can a change be made without the exit of so-and-so as requested The people, he said, “Maybe the president will change his mind as it happened at the last minute on April 15, 1993, and I did not understand the point until later. Mr. Omar Suleiman wanted to say that the change will include you and I hope it will not happen, as happened at the last moment for Dr. Atef Sidqi and he remained,” After his departure was actually decided on the morning of April 15, 1993.

• The president concealed his feelings about my behavior so that my lonely decision was “surprising and shocking” … and I do not know what fun this is ?!

The news that he wanted was shocking

Tuesday morning, October 5, 1999, the unexpected happened to me. Perhaps he wanted during the last month, especially after the sharp debate in the palace of Ras al-Tin, to give me safety, provided that the appointed day arrives with him, so that what is inside him will heal and the stab will be more wounded.

Mubarak told me about the decision, so I answered him calmly: Thank you .. I felt that I was “taller” … and Omar Suleiman said: Mubarak’s men convinced him that you had become his competitor.

The success achieved and the increasing popular satisfaction were the reason that I overlooked what he was masterminding. The important thing is that we were in the People’s Assembly salon, the president, Dr. Ahmed Fathy Sorour, Dr. Mustafa Kamal Helmy and I, before entering the assembly hall to deliver his speech in the joint meeting of the members of the People’s Assembly and the Shura Council, as Mr. Ashraf Bakir, the Chief Secretary, requested that we all enter the hall before the President, except I stayed for a moment alone with the President, and I said: After the session, the Council of Ministers will hold a session to present the resignation, so do you think that I come to the Presidency to present it, or what should I do ?!

He said: No one will come to the Council of Ministers who will take it because I will change the cabinet, and I will see you next week.

So I said: Thank you, a calm voice, and a satisfaction he did not expect.

Yes, and I swear to God, I went out with an unimaginable sense of contentment, for God gave me at that moment a tremendous amount of reassurance until I felt as I walked to the hall, that I was taller.

It is strange, but very strange, that Mr. Hassan Hafez wrote in Al-Wafd newspaper two days later, that is, on Thursday, in the newspaper’s weekly issue, an article entitled “Al-Ganzouri entered the hall with his head raised” without ever seeing him or speaking to him on the phone, Glory be to God for everything.

After the president’s speech ended, I went to the Council of Ministers to hold a session to submit the resignation, and found Major General Omar Suleiman, waiting in the salon attached to the office, and I asked him: What happened ?!

He told me directly and in specific words:

Those around him convinced him that you had become a match for him.

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