On Tuesday, the military appointed government in Egypt named its provincial governors, with 19 of them being generals, which immediately raised fears the country was returning to authoritarianism that earmarked the long reign of President Hosni Mubarak until his overthrow over two years ago.
Out of the 25 governors in the provinces, 19 were generals, with 2 being from the police and 17 from the military. One of the police generals has already become known for openly refusing to protect the supporters of Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected head of state in the history of Egypt who was ousted in early July.
Of the remaining six provincial governors who are all civilians, two are loyalists of Mubarak who are judges. In Giza, the second most populated province, the governor, who is civilian, has held that job since the military council appointed him following the ouster of Mubarak from power.
In the most populous province, and the capitol of the country, Cairo, the new governor was a leading figure in the old governing party of Mubarak.
Galal Saed was the governor of another province prior to being thrown out when Mubarak was ousted in the 2011 revolution.
None of the Islamist appointees that Morsi had added, which were 11 of the 27 governors, were kept. However, six of nine generals whom Morsi appointed to be governors stayed on in their posts.
With the naming of all the generals, the new military government returned to a trademark tactic of Mubarak: using the country’s governorships to create loyalty of the military’s top officers, while extending the police state’s grip across the country.
Activists who opposed both former president Mubarak and the democratically elected Morsi, denounced the government’s appointments immediately saying it amounted to nothing but a return to the former autocracy.
Little public explanation was offered on Tuesday by the government, but signaled a tightening of security was one of its biggest priorities.