CAIRO: The newly-elected executive board of Cairo University Staff Club elections has been dissolved pursuant to alleged administrative irregularities during its April elections.
The decree – issued by Cairo governor Said Abdel Aziz at the beginning of August – places control of the Club in the hands of Adel Mabrouk, dean of Cairo University’s Faculty of Commerce.
According to the decree, not all club members were sent an invitation to its general assembly meeting held on April 24, 2009 as is required under Law 84 on Non-Governmental Organizations.
In addition the decree alleges that club members were only notified of the general assembly meeting via an invitation sent by ordinary mail, in violation of an implementing statute which provides that invitations must be sent through registered mail.
Mabrouk has been appointed as a “delegate on behalf of the club, and charged with convening a general assembly within three months, when fresh elections will be held.
According to the decree, the decision to freeze the executive board was taken in light of Law 84 regulating Non-Governmental Organizations; the decision taken by the Minister of Social Solidarity to enter into negotiations with the Club; and the memorandum sent by Giza’s Social Solidarity Directorate calling for the freezing of the executive board.
The club went ahead with the ballot in April despite warnings from the Ministry of Social Solidarity (which under Egyptian law oversees the affairs of non-governmental organizations) that any elections held would be invalid because of legal irregularities.
Cases had been raised by two Fayoum University professors who allege that they were not notified of the Club’s general assembly. The two professors are members of the Cairo University Club by virtue of the fact that Fayoum University used to be part of Cairo University.
Club board members have consistently denied these allegations.
A statement issued by the club says that an economic and administrative committee from the Ministry of Social Solidarity examined club documents and “did not find a single transgression.
The statement also adds that the ministry ignored repeated demands made by the club for the establishment of a committee to examine the legal dispute between the club and the ministry.
“Despite this, the ministry sought recourse to the Cairo governor, who we expected to solve the problem in an amicable way, and hear our side of the story before issuing an arbitrary decision such as this.
Speaking to Daily News Egypt in April, Cairo University professor Abdel Galil Mostafa – a former member of the club’s board – said that these challenges were “politically motivated.
“There are documents – a registered letter – which prove that they were informed in time. In addition, the two professors in question are members of the [ruling] National Democratic Party, Mostafa said in April.
Mostafa also said that the club received a letter from the Ministry of Social Solidarity on April 5, 2009 claiming that not all members of the club had been invited to the general assembly.
The Cairo University professor says that the letter was sent 65 days after the club submitted documents detailing arrangements concerning the elections “when under the law the ministry only has 10 days to object.
Cairo University professor Laila Soueif told Daily News Egypt that allegations suggesting that not all Club members received invitations in time are “untrue .
“The group of professors who say they didn t receive the letters in time just weren t going regularly enough to their offices and checking their mailboxes, Soueif said.
She added that the decision to freeze the executive board has unified everyone in opposition to it.
She suggested that there exists no candidate capable of beating the incumbent board members, and that a re-run of the elections will therefore not change the executive board s composition.
“We re going to fight it, but at the same time if elections are going to be held in three months time anyway we might as well go ahead with them – the result won t change since leftists were the only real opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood and we accept April s election results and will not contest the election.
While Soueif says that she is unsure of the exact motivation for the ministry of social solidarity s challenge to the legitimacy of the Club s elections, she has not discounted the possibility that the high representation of members of the officially-banned Muslim Brotherhood could be a factor.
Club president Adel Abdel-Gawwad suggested to independent daily El-Masry El-Youm on Sunday that the decision to freeze the executive board “was taken by a higher, executive authority and not the ministry of social solidarity itself.
“The governor should have held a meeting with the Club s executive board in order to examine the reasons put forward by the Ministry of Social Solidarity for [the executive board s] dissolution.
“Instead, he was satisfied merely to sign the decree, making it appear that this was a decision issued by a higher executive authority, Abdel Gawwad is quoted as saying.
Abdel Gawwad also suggested that the Ministry of Social Solidarity should have waited for the verdict, due on Sept.28, in the court case examining the legitimacy of the elections.
Abdel Gawwad s accusations were rejected by a ministry of social solidarity official.
“The decree was in no way passed by a higher executive authority. The primary reason the decision was taken is because the previous Club president committed many administrative transgressions, the most important of which is the failure to send invitations to all of the Club s 17,000 general assembly members.
“Instead, invitations were sent to only 10,000, said Mohamed Labna, head of the non-governmental organizations agency within the Ministry of Social Solidarity.
“Members complained and presented a memorandum to the minister of social solidarity. The ministry in response convened a committee and the executive board was frozen on the basis of a decision issued by this committee, Labna continued.
Labna told Daily News Egypt that Mabrouk was chosen as delegate because “he is a respected member of the general assembly. -Additional reporting by Raghda El-Halawany