Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday appointed Mohamed Zaki, commander of the country’s Republican Guard, as defense minister, replacing Sedki Sobhi, who has held the post for more than four years.
Earlier this month, al-Sisi himself was sworn in for his second term as president after winning elections in March. In January, the Egyptian President ratified a decision to promote Zaki from major general to lieutenant general.
The newly-appointed defense minister previously served as the commander of the Paratrooper forces in the Egyptian Armed Forces. During the Presidency of Mohammed Morsi, Zaki was assigned as the commander of the Republican Guard.
In this capacity, Zaki refused Morsi’s demands to end protests against his rule by the use of force. Zaki has been hailed for protecting Egypt’s presidential palaces during the June 2013 protests and for siding with the demands of the Egyptian people. He was also a key witness in a number of legal proceedings against Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders.