Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 18 November 2011

Sudanese forces for change: beware of Sadiq Almahdi


By Abdullahi Osman El-Tom

November 18, 2011 — Last week witnessed the birth of a new alliance enjoining four major military forces from Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile under the name Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF). Within less than a week of its establishment, the SRF received applications for membership from two important rebel movements, Kush of the Nubians of the Northern Region and the Beja Congress of Eastern Sudan. As the SRF has declared, it intends to oust the Khartoum government by all means. That Albashir has been critical of the SRF is understandable. What has infuriated Sudan’s activists was the stance taken by Sadig Almahdi, the head the Umma Party and twice prime minister of Sudan.

In a nutshell, Almahdi warned that accession of the people of the margin to power will lead to disintegration of Sudan and cause a replication of Rwandan genocide inSudan. The statement comes amid expectations of demise of the hegemonic power of minority groups from the Northern Region over Sudan, coupled with likelihood of accession of the marginalised majority that compose the SRF to power in Khartoum.

Almahdi’s thesis does not only reveal his true nature as a staunch opponent of the marginalised people in the country and who have kept him in power for far too long. Rather, his views affirmed in spectacular fashion that he and Albashir are in the same camp and represent two faces of the same coin. Not surprisingly, Almahdi has consistently acted as ’momentum brakeman’ in the opposition against Albashir. Every time a thrust of popular uprising could be seen looming on the horizon, Almahdi intervened and delayed popular action until the momentum is lost. Such is his dedication to preservation of the current genocidal junta of Khartoum.

The assumption that the people of the margins of Sudan cannot share power in the centre without breaking up the Sudan or causing genocides is, to say the least, absurd. Far from it, it is the monopoly of power by a tiny minority that has led to such undesirable outcomes. In a recent critical online article, Namal Din Jameela Alla reminds us of the peril of domination of the Northern Region Elite over the country. In his words, top officials drawn from the Northern Region include: the President; Vice President; Assistant President; Head of Ruling Party and his Deputy and Secretary General; Ministers for Interior, Defence and Foreign Affairs; Head of National Security System; Head of Central Bank; Head of National Police System; Military Chief of Staff; Governor of National Capital; Head of Constitutional Court; Head of National Bar Union; Head of National Workers Union; Head of Farmers Union; Manager of Khartoum International Airport and many other. Much worse, most of these personnel come from certain, limited ethnic groups in the Northern Region, leaving many Northerners as powerless as their fellow citizens in other peripheral areas of the country.

Many analysts find Almahdi’s crusade to preserve the current government quite bewildering. A US-based Sudanese group described Almahdi’s defence of GoS as “political senility,” thus confirming doubts of many whether Almahdi is till in full retention of his faculties. Surprisingly, Almahdi does not seem to realise he has long past his sell-by-date. He had his chance twice as a Prime Minister but left nothing behind but embarrassing legacies. His premierships were riddled with entrenchment of marginalisation, massacres, injustice and incompetence. Much more, Almahdi has contributed to many of the problems, which necessitated establishment of the SRF, subject of his bizarre criticism. Here are some of them:

If we are to look for a godfather for the Janjaweed of Darfur, we need to go no further than Sadiq Almahdi. Albashir simply consolidated what he had long invented and perfected in South Kordofan during his second premiership before moving it to Darfur. Well, he and his old friend Gaddafi and whom he is now trying disown had long harboured an insidious plan and explanation for the poverty in Darfur. Prunier, the eminent French anthropologist writes: “[...] in the 1980s, Colonel Gaddafi and Prime Minster Sadiq al-Mahdi gave an answer: Darfur was poor and backward because it was insufficiently arabized. It had missed out in the great adhesion to the Muslim Umma because its Islam was primitive and insufficiently Arabic.” (Prunier, the Ambiguous genocide 2005:162 ).

The revelation above absolves Almahdi of responsibility for sustaining poverty in Darfur and throws the blame on the victim. At the same time, such diagnosis also provides him with a perfect excuse for indulging in population engineering through importation of Arab groups from neighbouring countries.

In the 1980s as well, some misguided Arab supremacists submitted their famous manifesto of the Arab Gathering. The manifesto suggested certain actions aimed at achieving Arab control over Darfur and Kordon in 20 years. Admittedly, the manifesto was a work of a callous misguided minority among Arab ethnic group and was certainly not shared by many. There was no evidence that Almahdi admonished authors of pamphlet or rejected its contents. The manifesto itself was inspired by Alhmahdi’s approach to Islam and Arabism for he had already blessed Gaddafi’s importation of foreign Arab groups into Darfur. The group came under the name the Islamic League’ and settled in Darfur during Governorship of Tigani Seise, now head of LJM.

Gaddafi’s generosity to Almahdi knew no bounds, nevermind the fact the latter has been exceptionally mean-spirted to his late friend. It was Gaddafi who financed Almahdi to regain Al-Kurmuk from the SPLM; it was Gaddafi who paid for his botched attempt at toppling the Khartoum government in the 1970s and; it was Gaddafi who funded his successful electoral campaign in 1986. What kind of upbringing that man had, and which makes him bite the very hand that feeds him?

The contempt of Almahdi for the people of Darfur is unimaginable. Nevermind that it was they who secured him his first and second premiership, that Princess Magbula, the grandmother of Almahdi was a Fur from Darfur and that it was Darfur which provided the rank and file troops for his unsuccessful coupe in 1970s. Strangely enough, his Darfur soldiers were called mercenaries, a term he never protested to this date. Instead, when he later got in power, his first agenda item concerned compensation of his family for its nationalised properties, a plan torpedoed by Communist Party MP Izza Aldin Amir. It never occurred to Sadiq to investigate extra judicial killing of his Darfur troops, or even compile list of those who were lost in the process for their families.

That Almahdi never bothers about investigating massacres of marginalised people is part of his political biography and hence his current opposition to ICC-Albashir case. During his second Premiership, thousands of Dinka people were burnt alive in train carriages in the middle of El Dein city, a massacre that was courageously exposed by Baldo and Ushari. Almahdi, did nothing except unleashing his media dogs to castigate and demonize Baldo and Ushari for bringing the massacres to attention of the world.

Almahdi’s notorious despise for the marginalised people featured again when JEM invaded Omdurman in 2008. Almahdi spoke about them as mercenaries and called for the harshest punishment to be visited on them. He must have been pleased that his advice was honoured; for many of captured JEM solders were killed in contravention of international conventions while others are sill languishing in Kober prison.

If the reader is confused as to why Almahdi sacrifices even the most fundamental justice principles of Islam as well as humanity in protection of the status quo in Khartoum, the answer is easy to guess. Changing the current status quo threatens the bases of his power, anchored on two axes: A particular brand of Arabism and a particular brand of Islam.

Almahdi is not only an Arab. Allegedly, he is a direct descendant of Prophet Mohamed and thus secures both axes to his power and qualifies for ruling the Sudan. Forget that no half decent anthropologist, historian or genealogist would fall for that ancestry story and I wouldn’t be too disappointed if the Arabs across the Red Sea would. The new aspirants to power in Khartoum, whether from Western Sudan, Blue Nile, Northern Sudan or Eastern Sudan challenge these very bases of Almahdi’s power. They are fighting for a new system in which Arabism and Islam do not privilege a citizen over others, in politics otherwise.

When Almahdi visited my own hometown, Umkeddada in the 1960s, I saw his followers rushing to kiss his hands. Having been pushed back by his bodyguards, they dived to gather some ’holy sand’ from the tracks of his Land Rover. For the benefit of the ignorant and the uninitiated in these matters, the holy sand was fully charged with Almahdi’s Baraka (blessing) and was exceptionally good for medication as and other purposes! May be that was why Almahdi gave no clinics or hospitals.

Well Mr Almahdi, that kind of servitude and indignity is over. Umkeddada has no more time for imams and their holy sand, fake or otherwise.

Abdullahi Osman El-Tom is Head of Bureau for Planning and Strategic Planning. He can be reached at: Abdulahi.El-Tom@nuim.ie

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  • 18 November 2011 22:54, by Elijah B. Elkan

    Dear Mr. El-Tom, this is a very good article I had read, congratulation. Everything you wrote is 100% correct. He is a bad seed to the core. This man had killed many Sudanese over many years in Sudan. Almahdi is an habitual liar and psychopathy. He’s a fake holy man and he is a murderer. He ordered the assignation of William Deng during campaign. North Sudan will break up into 3 countries.

    repondre message

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