CAIRO: A special parliamentary session Thursday discussing the Duweiqa rockslide witnessed a heated debate between MPs and cabinet ministers.
The session was attended by the People’s Assembly’s (PA) housing committee and the committee of local affairs – including ruling National Democratic Party MPs and opposition MPs – and was headed by PA speaker Fathy Sorour. It lasted more than five hours.
Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities Ahmed Al-Maghraby, Minister of Social Solidarity, Ali Al Moselhi and the Minister of Legal Affairs and Parliamentary Councils Mufid Shehab were present on behalf of the government.
No formal requests to open an investigation were permitted since the PA is in recess until November.
Like most PA sessions taking place after a disaster, a major dispute erupted between governmental officials and NDP MPs on the one hand and opposition MPs on the other.
NDP MP Abdel Ahad Gamal Al-Din and independent Alaa Abdel Moneim hurled insults at each other. Abdel Moneim wanted to cancel the meeting which was delayed for an hour.
Next up was a tirade by outspoken independent MP Mostafa Bakry, who accused the authorities of refusing to allow him to distribute blankets among those left homeless in Duweiqa. He added that while at the disaster site, he didn’t see any NDP members, to which NDP MP Heidar Al-Boghdady, who represents the Duweiqa constituency, fired back, “You’re a liar.
Housing Minister Al-Maghraby attributed the disaster to fate, sighing “God help us all.
Muslim Brotherhood MP Hussein Ibrahim, who had attended the committee meeting, told Daily News Egypt that the opposition believes that “the government is 100 percent responsible for what happened.
“It is obvious that the government is too weak to carry responsibility for the lives of its citizens.
“Back in 1993 MPs had filed an investigation request into another area near Moqattam hill when a similar rockslide occurred, but it was neglected as usual, Ibrahim said.
According to Ibrahim, the government should go back to the PA’s 1993 recommendations to avoid future crises.
“This is an irresponsible government. I frankly don’t expect anything to come out of a new PA investigation as long as the NDP holds a majority and will keep on defending the government’s position.
However, NDP MP Georgette Al-Keliny did not take the government’s side completely, describing what happened in Duweiqa as “a rehearsal for dooms day accusing “everyone of neglect including PA members.
She also raised the alarm over the fate of the huge construction projects currently taking place on the Moqattam plateau with investments worth billions.