Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Public Audit

AP Photo/Amr Nabil
He didn’t know it, we didn’t know it, and they didn’t know it, but Mohamed Morsi planted a time bomb on September 6, 2012, when he appointed Hisham Geneina as chief auditor. Geneina had plenty of name recognition and public esteem as a leader of the judicial independence movement of 2005-2006, but unlike his fellow judges in that movement, he is not thought to have Islamist sympathies. When the revolution broke out, he did not delve into its politics, as did Zakariyya Abdel Aziz, who gave rousing speeches in Tahrir Square, or Mahmoud al-Khodeiry, who was elected to the first and only real parliament after Mubarak’s ouster. And he was not discredited in office as was Ahmad Mekky, who frustrated many people as Morsi’s Justice Minister and then, frustrated himself, huffily resigned in April 2013.

Morsi was fairly easily removed by the longtime hoarders of state power, but ironically they’re finding it much harder to eliminate his most fateful appointment. This March, Sisi dismissed Geneina from his post, but the story is far from over. Today is Geneina’s first trial session, where he stands accused of “disseminating false news that disturbs the public peace.” But the coup makers had to take a tortuous path to get to this stage, and the trial portends the beginning of a second and possibly more embarrassing phase. Geneina’s shrewd tactics and unassailable reputation have made this a very costly mess for Sisi and his confederates.