In a tale of politics, power and greed, this two-part series examines the Mubarak family.
Gamal Mubarak is the youngest son of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president. He was a banker before joining politics in 2000 as a member of the Egyptian ruling party, the National Democratic Party (NDP). He then rose to become NDP’s Deputy Secretary General.
He holds a Business Administration degree from the American University in Cairo. He started a banking career after graduation, which led him to the position of branch manager of the Bank of America, London branch.
Unlike his elder brother Alaa whose face is still unknown to many Egyptians, Gamal has been interested in building a political career and is widely present in political life and media.
In 2002, President Mubarak named Gamal for the position of the General Secretary of the Policy Committee, which is NDP’s third most powerful position. The policy committee is a crucial body at the NDP. It is the source for most of the government’s actions.
However, the Mubarak clan has been paying a high price for that appointment, inside and outside NDP. NDP’s old guards have not been happy with Gamal’s campaign to inject fresh and young bloods in the ruling party. Safwat al-Sharif, chairman of the Shura Council and former information minister and Kamal al-Shathili, a state minister for Parliament and Shura Council affairs are the main opponents to Gamal’s party refreshment plan.
In the sixth annual conference of NDP last month, Egyptians expected some news on whether Gamal is going to be the party’s presidential candidate for 2011 elections or President Mubarak will run for a fifth term.
Gamal did appear as a powerful figure, but neither he nor his father touched on the subject leaving the door open for many speculations.
Gamal’s speech at the conference touched on dialogue with the opposition, stressing that his party is not obliged to reveal its candidate for the coming presidential elections in 2011.
Gamal founded Future Generation Society in 1998. The society’s main aim is to develop the human resources sector in Egypt. Its board of directors consists of businessmen and politicians like Ahmed Izz, an NDP member and steel manufacturing tycoon in Egypt and Ahmed al-Maghrabi, Minister of Housing and Construction Development. The society is seen as Gamal’s portal to apply his plans to incorporate young but knowledgeable and skilled politicians into the ruling party.
Outside the NDP, Egyptian opposition parties have extensively denounced Gamal’s engagement in politics and accused President Mubarak of planning to pass the rule to his son. Thousands and thousands of articles have been written by opposition members and writers to criticise what has been known in Egypt as “inheritance of power.”
In addition to political opposition parties’ firm rejection to the principle of inheritance of power, Kifaya movement was founded in 2004 by politicians from different back grounds not only to oppose inheritance but to call for an end to President Hosni Mubarak rule. The movement managed to arrange thousands of demonstrators in a string of protests between 2004-2008.
Earlier this month, a group of Egyptian activists among them Ayman Nour, the former presidential started a campaign to collect five million signatures against the inheritance of power.
Despite the unprecedented controversy, President Hosni Mubarak and Gamal have denied any intention to pass the rule to Gamal. President Mubarak and Gamal statements about the issue have always fallen short of curbing the anger of opposition and apparently large part of the Egyptian people.