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Sudanese president kicks off sweeping cabinet reshuffle

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September 9, 2018 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir is preparing to address the nation on Monday morning following a late-night cabinet shuffle that is expected to be the first step in a series of radical measures aimed at overhauling the central and state governments in a bid to weather an intensifying economic crisis.

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Mutaz Mousa Sudan’s Prime Minster (GoS photo)

Bashir removed his second Vice President Hassabo Mohammed Abdel-Rahman and replaced him with North Darfur’s ex-governor Osman Yousef Kibir and is expected to lay off some of his closest aides, according to government sources that spoke to Sudan Tribune on Sunday evening.

Several of Bashir’s assistants represent opposition parties that have joined the government as part of the national dialogue process that expanded the composition of the executive and legislative branch.

The veteran Sudanese leader briefed the leaders of these parties earlier Sunday on his plans to reorganize the government by reducing the number of ministers from 31 to 21 and replacing the current Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh who is also the first vice-president.

The leadership council of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) later convened and agreed to promote the minister of Electricity and Water Resources Mutaz Mousa to the position of Prime Minister. Also, it was decided that the roles of Vice President and Prime Minister will be separated and that ten cabinet positions will be eliminated.

Five NCP ministers will be removed from the new cabinet.

It is believed that the upcoming changes will most likely impact the finance and interior ministers while the foreign and defence ministers will be spared for now.

The president officially directed the foreign affairs minister El-Dirdeiry Ahmed and defence minister Lieutenant-General Awad Ibn Ouf to remain in post until the formation of the new cabinet.

"The aim of this step is to form a lean and functioning government that will respond to the aspirations of the Sudanese people in a dignified life and restore hope to them," said al-Bashir according to Sudan news agency (SUNA).

He stressed that he is not pinning blame on anyone for the current situation because of underperformance but that the end goal is to improve performance and make optimal use of the plentiful resources that the country has.

"We will continue under the National Reconciliation Government [to work] as a team to tackle problems, meet challenges and get the country out of this situation," Bashir stressed.

Also, he noted that his decision was endorsed by all the partners in the government that agreed on the need to cut spending and streamline government functions which includes reforming the civil service.

Bashir’s assistant Faisal Hassan Ibrahim disclosed that state and local governments are to be included in the transformation plan notwithstanding NCP partnership with other parties.

Last month, the NCP nominated Bashir for a new term in 2020 elections despite a rule in the country’s constitution that limits presidents to two 5-year terms.

(ST)

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