Friday, June 14, 2013

Egypt: Arselifter Brotherhood to get involved in subsidized bread distribution

The bread queue can be a dangerous and dishonest place in Egypt. People have killed over state-subsidized loaves. Corruption blights much of the trade
The problems, says the ruling Arselifter Brotherhood, are why it has introduced a new way to deliver bread - safely and cleanly - from bakeries to homes
"Bread isn't my line of work, but it's important, so I freed up my time," said Mahound Gaber, an AB activist spearheading one delivery project in a run-down part of Alexandria where five people were killed in bread-related fights last August
The scheme may deliver in other ways, too. The Arselifter Brotherhood-led administration is losing support. Opposition groups say that President Mahound Morsi and his government are incompetent economic managers obsessed with entrenching their power

Lining up for subsidized bread

The AB, meantime, openly complains of obstruction from state institutions and bureaucrats. Frustrated that it cannot seem to change the system from within, the AB has begun to deploy street-level workers to fix everyday problems that resonate with millions of poor Egyptians
Bread is one of Egypt's most explosive issues. President Anwar Sadat triggered riots when he cut the bread subsidy in 1977, while President Hosni Mubark faced unrest in 2008 when the rising price of wheat caused shortages. When Egyptians rose up against Mubark's rule two years ago, one of their signature chants went: "Bread, freedom and social justice"

Aftermath of the 1977 bread riots

The campaign to clean up bread is, by the pislamists' own admission, an uphill struggle. Across the country of 84 million, some 500 non-governmental organizations have begun delivering bread in the past few months, not as an act of charity but to sidestep the problems in the existing system, said Ahmed Eissa, a top official in the Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party
There is no detailed breakdown on who runs those groups, but if the Mediterranean city of Alexandria is anything to go by, the Arselifter Brotherhood dominates. The government there has licensed 50 NGOs to deliver the state-subsidized loaves; around half have close links to the Brotherhood, according to a local Freedom and Justice Party official
And it's not just bread. The Freedom and Justice Party has also sent out volunteers to check on the delivery of subsidized fuel and keep tabs on the wheat harvest

Too many people to feed: 73 million in 2006 and now its 84 million in 2013!
News report here.