Adwa is a small village, 150 kilometers north of Cairo in Sharqia Governorate, which has remained the center of attention for an entire year as the birthplace of now deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

Adwa is a small village, 150 kilometers north of Cairo in Sharqia Governorate, which has remained the center of attention for an entire year as the birthplace of now deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

An agricultural village, with a population of about 14,000 had been neglected throughout its history except for the time when Morsi was elected president of the republic. Soon after Morsi’s rise to power, numerous services projects were allocated to the village. Officials hastened to implement various utility projects there lest the residents’ complaints would reach the president who was keen on making frequent visits to his hometown where his family and brothers resided.

The good life

Khaled Samir, one of Adwa residents, described the status of their little town before former president Morsi took office as destitute and said this description applies to all other villages across Egypt in the past era, which could be characterized by lack of health or education services, depreciated roads, insufficient supplies of bread, primitive transportation means and an absence of postal services.

“We used to receive congratulations from nearby villages and towns and even from the Arab tribes in Sinai, Matrouh and the New Valley,” remembered Moataz Saleem, General Coordinator of Morsi’s presidential campaign in Adwa village. “We thought that all the problems in our village would be solved and that we would live in luxury through special government services.”

Village needs

The first demand made by the village was to separate from El-Zarzamoun’s local unit and become an independent local district to increase the number of its population. That demand was met when Sharqia’s former governor, Hassan Najjar, ordered to separate Adwa village and provide it with basic services as a main village.  Saleem said his village donated a piece of land to the government to establish the local unit building on it. The land was soon allocated and a building contract was awarded to a construction company with a one million Egyptian pounds budget earmarked for that project. “But we were stunned to know that the project was suspended and the separation order was suspended under the present government,” he added.

The village also demanded an additional bread quota where, according to Mustafa Abdel Maqsoud, Adwa village has only two bakeries with a production capacity of up to 14,000 loaves, i.e. at a rate of one loaf per capita per day. “We asked the former governor to increase our bread allocation, and he approved an increase by 10,000 additional loaves to be delivered by Zagazig central bakery. This quantity was reduced to 5,000 loaves after the coup,” Abdel Maqsoud explained. 


The main road in Adwa leads to nowhere 

Request to build a fifth school refused

With only one secondary school in the village, (in addition to three primary schools) with a classroom capacity of only 65 students, the village residents demanded the Buildings Authority in Sharqia’s education department to build a new school, but their request was refused last May and by June 30 this year, they received the rejection under El-Beblawi’s government, according to Maqsoud.

The village also requested that the government set up a post office. The request was approved and one of the village residents even donated his own apartment, which is built on an area of more than 150 square meters. “The Post Authority prepared a designated stamp for Adwa Post Office and all relevant procedures were completed, but again the project was suspended without providing any reason for that suspension, compared to the rest of other projects.”

“Equal rights”

Is the village thus facing a discriminatory treatment on account of Morsi’s removal? Has Morsi become a curse on the village after he was a blessing for it? Officials deny these claims. Hehia Center Chief, Mustafa Turkia said Adwa village is one of the Center’s villages, which comprises dozens of other villages and all villages must have equal rights and services based on the state’s budget.

“The Buildings Authority at the Education Department is the authority concerned with school construction and carries out projects on a priority basis. Furthermore, the postal authority is the competent authority concerned with completing the post office project in Adwa, but we’re still awaiting the enforcement of Adwa’s separation order through a new local unit,” Tukia said. The decision will be implemented by the concerned governorate offices without other parties’ intervention or amendment,” he explained and pointed out that the government was not punishing Adwa through a suspension of needed services.

 Turkia claimed that his center was seeking solutions for allocating a budget that achieves proper services for all towns and villages, taking into account the considerable national economy decline at present.

Political tension

Mahmoud Abdel Azim, a village resident, said Adwa inhabitants take to the streets in large numbers on a daily basis, to stage sit-in protests and cut off the main road, including the ‘Hehia-Zagazig’ railway line, demanding the return of President Morsi. “We will not stop demonstrating until Morsi is reinstated as the country’s legitimate elected president,” he added.

Some residents, however, have another opinion. Mohammed Abdul Rahman, a grocery shop owner and member of the dissolved National Party said: “The country was better off under the rule of President Hosni Mubarak. Morsi failed to introduce any new improvements to our village. He caused the entire country to slide into utter confusion.”

Development before politics

Ahmad Mohammed Abdul Nabi, a law student, said Adwa village residents were paying for the political wrangling between past and present governments. He denounced the town council’s recent rejection to pave the main road inside his village and stressed that the main road is still a dirt road and the inhabitants have previously raised demands for its pavement. He added that the executive authorities have allocated a small budget of US $150,000, but the project has yet to be completed. He believes that politics play an effective role in neglecting what he considers the right of citizens in all villages, including good education, health and proper roads. “The government should implement the projects already approved by Qandil’s government, so that my village and its population can live in comfort, away from politics.”