Hosni Mubarak dies aged 91

Hosni Mubarak gained prominence as a career military officer, a role that earned him a distinction for his performance in the Yom Kippur war. After the assassination of the then-president Anwar Sadat, Mubarak ascended to the presidency.  

Fourth Egyptian President Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak has just passed away. He ruled with an iron fist for three decades, making him the longest-serving Egyptian president. Mubarak was removed from power after 18 days of endless protests that swept through the country during the Arab spring. In an unexpected turn of events, he resigned and handed over power to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

For much of his first term in power, Egypt was suspended from the Arab League. His decision to maintain relations with Israel created many enemies both at home and abroad. However, it earned him immense respect in the United States, who overlooked his undemocratic rule.

Mubarak’s reign has come under huge criticism for alleged human rights abuses, stifling political opposition and muzzling the media. The ‘strongman’ participated in four elections which he easily won. In three of the elections, he was the sole candidate, a vivid indication of the authoritarian hold he had on the state. Mired in corruption, anger, and poverty hundreds of thousands of protestors showed up in the streets and demanded an end to his long reign.

After the resignation of Mubarak, Egypt held her first democratic election, a contest that saw Mohammed Morsi rise to power. Hosni was then subjected to a long trial where he was accused of killing hundreds of protestors. In June 2012, he was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. It only took a year after that for the military to return in power after General Abdel Fatel Al Sisi toppled Morsi in an interesting turn of events. The political changes saw Mubarak get acquited in 2017 after launching an appeal for his trial. He once again became a free man after spending 6 years in custody. 

The man who once steered the lives of 80 million Egyptians retired to private life spending his time at his seaside villa in Sharm el-Sheikh. The magnificent villa overlooked the crystal-blue waters of the Red Sea. This was an ideal location where he could reflect back on his life and the choices he made. Amid calls for an investigation into his family wealth, US officials estimate his net worth to be anything between $2 billion to $3 billion. Unlike the eccentric atmosphere at Tahrir Square during his ousting, quiet solitary life and occasional visits to the Cairo military hospital marked his last days.