Egyptian transport minister Kamel al-Wazir joined Monday calls by angry citizens, including millions of Egyptians and families of victims of train crashes in Souhag and Toukh, demanding the ouster of the officials responsible for the tragedies and enacting the most severe punishments against them.
At a press conference, Al-Wazir said the accidents highlighted the criminal negligence and inefficiencies of government institutions in Egypt.
“As a citizen and member of the disenchanted public, I say that what happened is the result of the negligence and neglect of an official who grew fat on the people’s hard-earned money and taxes,” he said. “I will not be silent, I will not rest, and I will demand that all Egyptians sign a petition calling for his firing, and I will personally lead a demonstration in front of the government’s offices demanding that we find him and punish him in full view of the people so he can be an example for all those who don’t take responsibility for their actions.”
Al-Wazir launched a social media campaign to identify the perpetrators, accusing the head of the Egyptian railway authority, the train drivers who did not utter the necessary travel prayers before embarking on their journeys, the passengers who chose that particular day to travel and not any other day of the year.
The minister called on citizens to avoid riding cars, airplanes, trains or ferries for the time being, and to remain in their homes that are at risk of collapse until the investigation is completed.
However, he urged those who needed urgent forms of transportation to use bicycles with constant vigilance in order to avoid potholes, illegal speed bumps, and other potential dangers on the road.
“They can also emulate our movie stars and ride horses or donkeys in their daily commutes,” he added.