Could Mubarak sons be testing the waters among the public?



Mon, 01 May 2017 - 07:11 GMT


Mon, 01 May 2017 - 07:11 GMT

Alaa and Gamal Mubarak- Archive

Alaa and Gamal Mubarak- Archive

CAIRO – 30 April 2017: Sons of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have been spotted making low-key public appearances.

Media outlets have been highlighting the repeated appearances of Alaa and Gamal Mubarak around Cairo districts; however, this has been a source of spiraling controversy among Egyptians.

Footage and several pictures on social media networks showed Alaa Mubarak’s latest appearance among the public on Saturday.

Alaa Mubarak seen at public cafe

Alaa, reportedly accompanied by two older friends, according to eyewitnesses, was seen playing backgammon and drinking a cup of tea at a public café located in the Cairo neighborhood of Imbaba.

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The 56-year-old businessman headed to the café after dining at the renowned El-Prince restaurant, located in the same neighborhood.

Alaa arrived at the restaurant in a black car, with no security or bodyguards.
This made most of eyewitnesses blink twice before finally ascertaining that the man they saw eating in the popular district of Imbaba and sitting in a public café at one of the most crowded neighborhoods in Cairo is actually Alaa Mubarak.

Appearances of Mubarak’s sons elicited mixed reactions on social media networks.
The two sons, along with their father, have each already served a three-year jail sentence in respective cases after they were convicted of embezzling state funds originally allocated for renovating presidential palaces when Mubarak was in power.

However, regardless of an anti-Mubarak sentiment that is still entrenched in some Egyptians, Alaa and Gamal continue to receive a warm welcome from some citizens every time they make a public appearance.

One of the people who were apparently indignant at Alaa’s latest appearance was Tarek Hussein, who tweeted “Alaa Mubarak sitting at a café after he finished eating at El-Prince, while Alaa Abd El-Fattah is jailed.”

Alaa Abd El-Fattah is an Egyptian blogger and a political activist who received a five-year sentence in February 2015 for allegedly organizing a political protest without requesting authorization, violating the protest law.

Alaa and Gamal were both seen last year eating at a seafood restaurant in Shubra at yet another overcrowded popular neighborhood; again, with no bodyguards.

Alaa and Gamal at fish restaurant

Alaa, who seems to show a growing fondness for popular Egyptian cuisines, was previously spotted having dinner at a restaurant in Cairo’s Al-Sayeda Zainab neighborhood.

Alaa Mubarak inSayeda
Alaa Mubarak in Sayeda

Many pedestrians insist on taking pictures with the Mubarak’s sons whenever they make a public appearance; the once inaccessible sons of Mubarak now seem so friendly and willing to take selfies with the laity.

This new approach to communicate one-on-one with the masses has triggered rumors that the Mubarak family could be preparing a return to Egypt’s political scene.
It was long believed that Gamal, during Mubarak’s final years, was being groomed to succeed his father; an allegation which has been consistently denied by the Mubarak clan.

Some Egyptians share the conviction that the acquittal of Mubarak and his sons should never have been an acceptable path to resolution after the January uprising.
Some other Egyptians, however, seem optimistic about the possibility of Gamal and Alaa returning to the political scene, or just the streets for that matter.

Alaa Mubarak was spotted in early 2017 in Cairo’s Heliopolis district celebrating Egypt’s soccer victory over Burkina Faso at the 2017 African Cup. Both brothers also attended a friendly football match between Egypt and Tunisia held in Cairo in January. Egyptian football attendees thronged around them for pictures and autographs.

Alaa and Gamal at the Stadium- resized
Alaa and Gamal at the Stadium

They also appeared at the funeral of prominent Egyptian actors, officials and journalists. They both attended the funeral of noted actor Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, journalist Mustafa Bakry’s mother, football player Mohamed Aboutrika’s father and offered condolences to actor Mohammed Sobhy on the decease of his wife.

In May 2015, Gamal Mubarak made his first appearance since the 25 January 25 2011 revolution at the Pyramids with his wife and daughter.

The reaction pattern on social media has generally been twofold: some social media users see the appearances as normal, with the two brothers being accustomed to the spotlight for years, while others suspect an ulterior motive of the two brothers trying to gauge the Egyptian people’s attitudes towards them in case they decided to return to the political scene once again.



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