Egypt's obsession with the Kiki dance is to blame for the rise in gas prices and the failing economy, according to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
During an "Ask the President" conference at Cairo University, Sisi mocked the viral Kiki challenge, which has swept social media.
The challenge consists of dancing outside a moving car to Canadian rapper Drake's "In My Feelings" song, which has led to the arrest of a number of Egyptians and bans enforced across the region.
"You keep riding cars and doing that Kiki miki thingy," Sisi said before bursting out laughing at his own joke, when speaking about the reasons for Egypt's failed economy.
The audience at the university - presumably feeling like they had no choice - laughed along at the autocrat's joke.
Sisi then turned around to the oil minister and jokingly said: "Hey, Engineer Tarek raise the price of petrol and don't worry," before he continued laughing.
Egyptians on social media were not impressed by Sisi's attempt at humour when so many people in the country are living in poverty due to the government's failed economic policies:
sisi making kiki jokes 2018 better calm tf down— habiba (@sirhabiba) July 29, 2018
LMFAOOO Sisi just mentioned the Kiki challenge live on TV.— Mirna Abdulaal (@mirna_abdulaal) July 29, 2018
Sisi's joke came as he discussed ways to repair the Egyptian economy.
He accused the Egyptian people of being lazy and not living up to their promises to him.
Sisi claimed Egyptians are not working hard enough and too busy interacting on social media - such as with the Kiki challenge - rather than doing "their bit" fixing the sluggish economy.
Cairo's dissaproval of the Kiki Challenge is nothing new. Last week, state media threatened participants of the game with jail for breaking the country's - somewhat lax - traffic laws.
Muslim scholars in Egypt also warned that the dance is a threat to country's "long entrenched values and ethics".
'Sisi we're dying'
Despite the fact that Sisi is blaming Kiki for keeping Egyptians too distracted from repairing the economy, Drake's famous song has sunk further into the political bloodstream of Egypt with an Arabic parody.
The song lyrics express discontent with Sisi's rule and his regime's inability to raise living standards - despite his constant promises to create more jobs and wealth for Egyptians.
"Sisi, listen to me, stop joking, we are dying, our leader," says the singer, pairing the song's light hearted beat with sombre lyrics in a desparate plea.
"Sisi, did you not promise that you will spoil us, our leader."
The song also parodies complaints of the rising cost of staple goods - such as bread and fuel, which have become unattainable for many Egyptians.
It also described Egyptians trapped in a state of depression due to rising poverty.
The parody reflects a number of discontents expressed by Egyptians, which have been brushed off by the country's political and religious elite.
Earlier this month Ali Gomaa - a cleric the Egyptian state heavily relies on for stanch support - defended Cairo's crippling austerity measures by mixing his religious credentials with a bizarre take on nutrition in a recent TV interview.
"You all complain that meat is too expensive and you say 'oh so what are we going to eat?'" he said.
"No, we shouldn't be talking like that! Allah created us needing 3,000 calories a day... 3,200 calories a day."
He then went on to completely disregard basic nutrition advice and spoke about the calories in cake, saying this is a suitable alternative to meat.
"A piece of cake is 900 calories. So if you ate two pieces, that's it, as if you have eaten breakfast or dinner or whatever else."
Not a laughing matter
Despite Egyptian political and religious officials treating poverty in the country as a laughing matter, statistics show that poverty in Egypt is far from a joke.
According to UNICEF, poverty levels in Egypt have reached 27.8 percent, putting children at significant risk.
The UNICEF report, released at the end of last year said at least 10 million children are suffering as a result of "multi-dimensional poverty" and the physical and mental well-being of the population, with reports of children being affected by stunted growth due to malnutrition.
Copyright @ 2019 The New Arab.