by Benson Agoha
Egypt's military chief and Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi announced in a televised statement on Wednesday night his resignation and bid for the upcoming presidential elections.
The announcement followed months of speculation after he was seen last month consulting with eminent world leaders, including Russian President Vladmir Putin, on his ambition.
According to media reports by Chinese Xinhua's African News, Egypt's army chief announced his simultaneous resignation and bid for the upcoming presidential elections.
The move was not surprising. In fact, it is long expected by the public after he toppled former president Mohammed Morsi in July last year and banned his Muslim Brotherhood, on which portal he rode to power.
Protests, clashes and trials of Morsi's loyalists have been a nearly daily occurrence since he was removed following a year of mass oppositon against his style of administration, sparking reprisals protests by Islamist extremists who seized the chance to launch attacks against armed forces and their installations.
[ A TV screen shot of Egypts Army Chief and Defence Minister, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on March 26, 2014 shows him making a passionate televised statement in Cairo, Egypt. ]
Dressed in his Field Marshal's uniform and sitting behind a wooden desk as he made the televised announcement, al-Sisi "Today, I stand before you for the last time in military uniform," adding "I decided to end my service as a military chief and the defense minister," he added, vowing that he will fight for an Egypt "free of terrorism."
He went on "I modestly announce to you my bid to run for the presidential elections," noting that he put on and took off his military uniform for Egypt.
In compliance with Egypt's newly-established constitution, which stipulates that only civilians have the right to run for the position of president in Egypt, Sisi's quit from the military and the cabinet is a step in the right direction.
Xinhua News said Sisi made the campaign-style speech after a lengthy meeting on Wednesday night with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in the presence of Interim President Adli Mansour.
"No one can force Egyptians to elect a president they do not want," he said, urging other candidates to run for the presidency as well. Then adding he would be happy for whomever wins he said "I will be happy to see the victory of any candidate chosen by the people."
His announcement comes less than a week after 529 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt has outlawed as a terror group, were sentenced to death, and more were facing trial.
The conviction has already sparks world outrage from both political leaders and civil rights groups, just as students have staged demonstrations against the mass death sentence to the 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
But the former Army Chief said "If I am given the honor of ruling the country, I promise you that I will achieve together stability, security and hope for Egypt."
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* Photo Credit: Xinhua News/Pan Chaoyue.