Another wali at the heart of a big controversy. The haughty behavior and the remarks considered contemptuous of Saïd Sayoud, wali of Oran, towards the owner of a modest eatery provoked the indignation of many Algerians, shocked by an attitude considered unworthy of a great clerk of the ‘State.
On an unexpected field visit to a district of the second largest city in the country, the wali spoke to a sandwich seller who operated a modest shack in a construction site in a contemptuous tone: “Take your things and go – out of here! “, he has struck him several times. Filmed by the cameras of the television which accompanied it, the sequence quickly became viral on social networks, arousing very many angry reactions from Internet users.
This also provoked a surge of solidarity on the part of citizens who spontaneously offered to help the unfortunate innkeeper driven out by the wali by renting him premises at their expense.
Contempt and anger
Beyond the tone full of arrogance and contempt used by the wali towards a citizen of visibly modest condition, it is above all the fact that this humiliation was captured by cameras which irritated Algerians, quick to ignite against what is assimilated to “hogra”, the local word for contempt and injustice at their most revolting.
“You have ten minutes to get your things,” he told another violating trader. In another scene, we see him speaking to a police officer about traders encroaching on the sidewalk and ordering him to “strike with an iron fist”. As a reminder, it was this same wali who took the decision to close the Hôtel Liberté where French President Emmanuel Macron dined privately on August 26.
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In October 2020, his predecessor, Messaoud Djari, also found himself at the heart of another big controversy following his attitude deemed “haughty and contemptuous” towards a teacher who complained of the lack of means. from which his establishment suffered. The person concerned, Sydia Merabet, had suffered the wali’s wrath after having pointed out to him that the students’ desks “dated from the colonial era”.
In Algeria, the walis, these all-powerful prefects who govern the 58 wilayas of the country, are often accused of putting on a show and abusing their power in front of television cameras.
Last October 12, visiting a construction site, the wali of Tiaret, Ali Bouguerra, attacked local entrepreneurs, even challenging one of them in his absence in these terms: “Shame on him! If he were a man, he would have come to face us. »
Four days later, it was the turn of the wali of Laghouat, 403 kilometers south of Algiers, to create controversy by lecturing a school director whose establishment is not connected to the Internet. Faced with the outcry created by his remarks and faced with the rise of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) which denounced “a serious drift”, the wali was forced to make amends in front of the television cameras present. from humiliated manager.
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During their inspection visits, some walis act as engineers, doctors, agronomists or computer scientists, depending on the circumstances, and distribute orders and recommendations in areas that they sometimes do not master at all.
Last April, during a visit to a hospital, the wali of Bordj Bou Arreridj, Mohamed Benmalek, inquired about the situation of a child who had been operated on for a broken leg. Replacing the doctors who had taken care of the child and the surgeon who had operated on him successfully, the wali ordered the evacuation of the young patient to another medical structure when his case presented no urgency and did not require any treatment. in particular charge.
“Take your trash and get out of here”
Examples of atypical walis are legion. During the six years he spent at the head of certain wilayas of the country, Ould Salah Zitouni had been nicknamed “El Bombardi” (the bomber) for his muscular methods. “Take your rubbish and get out of here,” he once said to a contractor whose site he was visiting in Béjaïa. Last September, during an umpteenth movement in the body of these all-powerful governors, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune terminated the functions of sixteen of them.
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Before his stroke and during the first years of his first term, former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika did not hesitate to humiliate ministers, walis and senior officials in front of television cameras. Many walis have, it seems, taken his example, venting their nerves on site managers or mayors.
Some of these prefects advertise their outings and visits in order to shine a light and obtain promotions, even ministerial positions. Under Bouteflika, several walis have been promoted to ministers, but the function leads both to government and to prison. Last October, the former wali Ahmed Hamou Touhami, nicknamed “Mr. 10%” because of the percentage he charged in all the cases he handled, died in detention. He had been sentenced to four years in prison for business of corruption.