According to Ibrahim Al-Heneidi, chair of the House of Representatives’ Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee, a new draft law aims to facilitate the dismissal of civil servants who support the terrorist-designated Muslim Brotherhood. “The draft law, submitted by MP Ali Badr, was overwhelmingly approved by the House’s Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee and reflects the government’s keenness to rid the administrative system of Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist elements,” said Al-Heneidi.
Al-Heneidi says the draft, which seeks to amend the Law on Non-Disciplinary Dismissal of Civil Servants (10/1972), will strengthen national security.
Badr told the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee on 6 June that there is a pressing need to combat terrorist elements within the state’s administrative system. “Cabinet ministers have lately complained in parliament that they lack the legal tools to rid their ministries of employees espousing terrorist thoughts and ideologies,” said Badr. “The new draft law will allow cabinet ministers to dismiss employees with proven links to the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist-designated groups.”
The draft law allows employees to appeal against their dismissal and return to their jobs if their names are removed from the relevant terrorist lists.
Last month Minister of Transport Kamel Al-Wazir told MPs that the Railway Authority has 162 Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated employees who consistently undermine the authority’s work and urged MPs to change the law to allow the Railway Authority to rid itself of “the forces of darkness and evil”.
Minister of Waqf (Religious Endowments) Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa also told the media last week that “there are a lot of sleeper Muslim Brotherhood cells in government ministries.”
“The Brotherhood leadership spends a great deal on these cells to promote its agenda in government circles and stir up trouble,” claimed Gomaa.
Independent MP Mustafa Bakri warned that the draft law might be unconstitutional.
“I think we need an independent judicial committee to judge whether this draft law is constitutional,” said Bakri. “It is difficult to determine who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and who is not, and there are concerns that the law could lead to the dismissal of civil servants for arbitrary reasons.”
In response, Deputy Justice Minister Ibrahim Shaarawi pointed out that the draft “allows state employees to appeal any dismissal decision before the administrative courts and in doing so is fully in line with the constitution”.
Atef Meghawri, head of the parliamentary group of the Tagammu Party, told Al-Ahram Weekly that in its current form of the 1972 Civil Service Law makes it difficult to dismiss state employees who espouse radical ideologies.
“There is a pressing need to change this law after extremist and terrorist groups were able to infiltrate government circles in recent years, mostly in the form of sleeper cells,” said Meghawri.
“When the Muslim Brotherhood was in power between 2012 and 2013 its members spread in all government sectors. It is essential MPs move quickly to help cabinet ministers dismiss elements with suspected links to the Brotherhood or to any other terrorist-designated group.”
Meghawri argued the bill drafted by Badr and approved by the House’s Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee is covered by Article 237 of the 2014 constitution which stipulates the state must “combat all forms of terrorism and track its sources of funding”.
MP Essam Alaa told the Weekly the move against the Muslim Brotherhood came after cabinet ministers discovered that some government employees were using their jobs to promote the group’s agenda.
“The current civil service law prohibits state employees from using their jobs to serve radical agendas or publish confidential information on social media but in recent years employees have ignored the prohibitions. It was important that the law be amended to fight this phenomenon, and protect the state from the Muslim Brotherhood’s wicked plans,” said Alaa.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 June, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly