Egypt’s government should be a people pleaser

Egyptians have a long way to go until we achieve what we aspire to as a nation but one positive factor is that we are headed in the right direction even if our pace is slower than we hoped. There is no magical wand to solve our problems which have accumulated throughout the decades and people will not suddenly feel that their situation has become easier. There is a long road ahead of us but change is on the way and the hope is visceral.

I thus asked myself this question: What can the government - any government - do so people are pleased with it? Part of my answer was gleaned from a conversation with a friend of mine. To give an answer, one must ask another question: When are people ever pleased with their governments? When I talk about people here, I mean most people and to varying degrees. Most people are not pleased with their governments, not due to some defect or due to some high aspirations of the rulers but due to our human nature which is always seeking higher aspirations. A real crisis occurs when the defect is in the government and not in the people and when the people’s demands are possible to achieve yet the administration in charge is incapable of meeting them.

The real crisis

If we apply this to our situation in Egypt, we can say that the real crisis between the government and its people lies in the rhetoric adopted by the government towards the people. It’s represented in the government’s ability to attract attention to its positive achievements yet when it drowns itself in small mistakes, it ruins its achievement. Another mistake the government commits is when it fails to focus on the simple and possible means to satisfy citizens. If it manages to take control of these means, it will be able to gain the citizens’ full support.

What can the government - any government - do so people are pleased with it?

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

The government can begin to do this by specifying the locations where citizens deal with it directly. These locations include the health office which issues a citizen’s birth certificate, the hospital where they are treated, educational administrations, tax offices, police and traffic stations, passport and civil registry offices and other offices. Before specifying what’s needed, let us close our eyes for a moment and imagine the suffering of the citizen in all these places I just mentioned and other places I haven’t mentioned. Imagine if the government - as an introduction to create confidence between itself and the people - decided to begin reforming these offices and decided to make citizens’ lives easier in these places where’s it’s in direct contact with its audience. The citizen would thus walk in to a clean office where there’s a smiling employee who quickly finishes his paperwork.

Imagine if citizens feel that the government has set its mind to making their lives easier in these simple places. Imagine how the citizen will thus feel towards his government? I am not saying this will solve the problem and I am not saying the government will have solved its problem with the people. However, it’s a start for people to feel that the government is really concerned with their suffering. What must come later is for the citizen to feel that the government is his government and that its problems are his problems and that its achievements are his achievements. Let’s give it a try.

This article was first published in al-Jarida on October 10, 2014.


Abdel Latif el-Menawy is an author, columnist and multimedia journalist who has covered conflicts around the world. He is the author of “Tahrir: the last 18 days of Mubarak,” a book he wrote as an eyewitness to events during the 18 days before the stepping down of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Menawy’s most recent public position was head of Egypt’s News Center. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom, and the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He can be found on Twitter @ALMenawy


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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