Home | Comment & Analysis    Tuesday 16 January 2018

Sudan: An ailing dictatorship, looming public protest, and desperate evasive tricks

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By TRAYO A. Ali

In Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan (the city that knows no secrets, as is always described) the talk there is not about the uncomfortable Weather, which in this Season is dry, cold, dusty and windy, nor is it about the city’s broken sewage system, and the polluted water or about the notorious militia known as Rapid Support Force (RSF), which frequently harass the citizens, or about the horrible stories of War in Darfur and/or in Nuba Mountains and B. Nile. It is even not about the long-standing but censored issue of the already devastating Cholera epidemic ravaging throughout the country. The talk, this time, is about only one thing; UPRISING.

The town is pregnant, electrified and imminently explosive. The reason is the increase in food prices (especially the bread and sugar), devaluation of the Sudanese Pound and the shortage of fuel.

Sudan’s millions of unemployed youth, with no access to any basic facility, (except sitting round local tea makers and sipping the tea and occasionally browsing on their phones, with heavy presence of secret service agents watching over their shoulders), are these days busy networking through social media and deliberating on how to stage public protest to resist this sky rocking food prices.

Sporadic protests have already started, a dozen have been arrested and even some casualties recorded in Khartoum, Omdurman, Medani, Al-Genaina, Al-Obied, Nyala, Sinar, Kosti, Atbara, Port Sudan, Dongola, Jadugle and Kassala are all charged cities.

Finger Size bread
Commentators are mocking and making jokes about the crisis.
"The more its price increases, the size gets smaller and tiny". A protester commented that the bread size is now comparable to a finger. He added that
"The more it becomes smaller in size and poor in quality, the bigger impact it will have on the street".

Whilst the opposition is mobilizing and gearing up to command this growing situation, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has already hunted and locked incommunicado some opposition leaders including Engineer Omar Al-Digaer, Chairman of the Sudan Congress Party (SCP).

? Unfolding religious Front.
Another totally new segment of society (religious clergy) are also voicing out their concerns and joining the crusade against the hunger. From within once considered an exclusive domain of the ruling NCP, Imams are rebelling. Hear this one who sent a strong warning to General Albasheer. While calling on him to step down, he told him point blank that:

((On that day when you face alone your Allah, He will ask you about the miserable lives of the Sudanese, He will ask you about the broken families, about the ruined societies, the orphans, the destitute, the raped ones. He will ask you about the thievery, the nepotism, the corruption, the looting and all that you are guarding, guiding and protecting. He will chain you and cage you and throw you into the deepest of the Hell Fire)).

The courageous Imam also pointed that:
((The best thing God likes to hear is to speak the truth on the face of an authoritarian leader and I am doing now)).

Indeed the move among the "Imams" is rare and quite unexpected one and it surprises both camps. The development (as some observers argue) could reinforce opposition’s position and drastically reduce the regime’s already eroded moral ground.

The Case of Lady Antoinette (Queen of France) is cited
The Sudanese activists are exposing on social media every aspect of President Albasheer’s lavish lifestyle and that of his family, and associates. They even exhibited President’s expensive Watch "Rolex" and the life of his family to that of France’s last Queen Marrie Antoniotte who faced summexecutiontion upon charges of corruption and provocative lifestyle. This is in reference to some around the President who are living lavish style. The activists are citing Lady Antoniotte provocative statement in which She wondered as to "why the French hungry mob should not eat cake if they do not get bread" !!!

? Disinformation propaganda about imminent foreign attack
As is expected, the talk on the other side of the river is very different. The government media, officials and its security apparatus are busy concocting and fabricating disinformation propaganda about an imminent "foreign attack". They are concocting very incoherent and contradicting stories about military buildup taking place on the Eastern front (border with Eriteria). The government officials cannot give any coherent account of what is happening and who is behind what.
This is considered by analyists as mere propaganda techniques of blatant lies usually resorted to by the NCP regime to distract public attention whenever internal crisis start fermenting. "It’s a desperate move to preempt the expected crisis. All the political observers believe that. "The government is up recycling same old tricks to intimidate the public and distract the focus", as one states.

In an interview with the B. B.C TV, Mr Mini Minwai, Chairman of Sudan Liberation Movement (SKM) and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) respectively have categorically dismissed these government claims as baseless propaganda jargon that cannot hold any water.

Mr M. C. Osman, a close observer and analyst on regional affairs argue that:

"If there are major pending issues between Egypt and Ethiopia on water matters, that is a known issue, but these two countries are rational states. They could easily resort to reason in resolving their disputes. And if there are any misunderstanding between Eritrea and Ethiopia, that is also explainable against the background of the previous war they went through. But for Sudan taking the lead in spreading words on the imminent war against her from an invisible enemy, and in this very time, then the whole intention behind the cry is questionable. Such behaviour can only be interpreted in the context of its ongoing internal crisis. It’s a tactic to distract public attention".

The author is the chief negotiator of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi



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