In a country that produces cotton in large quantities, the population of Egypt were still taken aback when their new Prime Minister Hisham Qandil demanded that they all “wear cotton clothes” and “gather in one room” in order to save electricity, reported Egyptian news website Ahram Online Saturday.
Quandil, the first prime minister to be appointed by former Muslim Brotherhood member and new President Mohammed Mursi, was speaking about the government’s electricity consumption conservation strategy and their need to reduce the electricity consumption at a conference, when he came up with his strategy.
The electricity crises reached its peak in Egypt on Thursday, after parts of greater Cairo had major power cuts, shutting down the entire subway system and the stock exchange. The population are suffering, having to spend hours without electricity on a regular basis and being forced to deal with the heat of the summer without any air conditioning, reported the Egypt’s Daily News website.
Although Egypt has the capacity to produce up to 28,000 megawatts of electricity, it’s only managing 23,000 to 24,000 megawatts. The country has had 10 percent shortage in the electricity sector for the past three years. This is down to a few different reasons, including fuel shortages and the decrease in production by a few power plants, Quandil said in the conference according to the Daily News.
The Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party launched the renaissance project in April this year, in a bid to reform Egypt. The project consists of two main points, firstly to learn from the experiences of other successful countries and secondly to cooperate with all those countries in the economic field.
Egyptians responded to the PM’s request by mocking him via posting sarcastic comments in several popular social media outlets. One person wrote, while referencing to the Renaissance project “now I know why I am not feeling the renaissance. Of course: it’s because I am wearing polyester,” reported Ahram Online.
Many twitter users even ‘hashtagged’ the Prime Minister in relation to a well-known underwear brand in Egypt, Cottonile.
Ahram Online published several of the mocking and sarcastic comments:
“My house only has one room, sir!” One person wrote.
While another joked “Perfect! We should apply the same rationing system on water, too: let’s shower together,” wrote another.
Some took his demand to mean other things; one specific person writing “All of us with cotton underwear in one room? Sir, what you are asking for is forbidden and unlawful and it shakes the heavens and the earth.”
Others in the population were angered by the suggestion explaining “The government just reached the peak of ‘transparency’.”