A group of agriculture ministry employees have issued calls for an open strike on Wednesday to protest the nomination of Saad Nasar for minister of agriculture and land reclamation in the newly-installed government of Kamal El-Ganzouri, members of which are expected to be formally named on Wednesday.
Using mobile-phone text messaging and online social networks, ministry employees and agricultural researchers are calling for an open sit-in at the ministry’s Cairo headquarters with the aim of preventing Nasar from entering the premises in the event of his appointment.
The sit-in is slated to begin on Wednesday afternoon.
Nasar is a former governor of Fayoum and a former chairman of the state-run Agricultural Research Centre.
Ministry employees complain that Nasar had been a close associate of former agriculture minister Youssef Wali, who also served at one point as secretary-general of the now-defunct National Democratic Party of ousted president Hosni Mubarak. A controversial figure, Wali currently stands accused of importing carcinogenic fertilisers and pesticides from Israel in a case that is still being prosecuted in Egyptian courts.
Nasar has reportedly been nominated to replace Salah Youssef, agriculture minister in the outgoing Essam Sharaf government.