Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 2 February 2012

Sudan is heading towards a perfect African Haboob

By Namaa Faisal AL Mahdi

January 31, 2012 (LONDON) - In an unexpected set of events, National Congress Party’s key members turn against their own political party in Gadaref, Nyala, Kosti, Tagali & Port Sudan, heralds a new phase of national rebellion and protest politics in Sudan

“To revolt is a natural tendency of life. Even a worm turns against the foot that crushes it. In general, the vitality and relative dignity of an animal can be measured by the intensity of its instinct to revolt.”

Mikhail Bakunin

News fresh from Tagali on the 31st of January 2012 -confirm assumptions, of a deep and escalating crisis hitting the ranks and the heart of the National Congress Party (NCP), the ruling party of the Sudan. The historic town of Tagali, in the State of Southern Kordofan, which saw the birth of the Mahdi’s led revolt at the turn of the 20th century, is seeing a different kind of crisis; its commissioner who has rebelled against International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted State Wali Ahmed Haroon, has been relieved of his duties, amidst news of wide arrests amongst his (NCP) colleagues and an ever more intensifying battle with the Kauda Alliance Forces.

News of frustrations, unrest and resignations amidst the National Congress Party ranks also dominate recent news from Port Sudan, Red Sea State.

Protests have become epidemic to Sudanese society, there were even news of protests on the 31st of January, by the government of Sudan’s oppression and torture machine, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), an organisation which seems primarily responsible for spying on Sudanese citizens as well as the abduction and detention and interrogation and torture of all Sudanese who openly and or secretly defy the national government.

Prior to the NISS protest as a result of government announced reductions in their bonuses, 700 prominent military officers from Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF) presented president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and minister of defence Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein with a memo which was reported to include several demands including military and political reforms as well as a warning against any military engagement with Sudan’s newest neighbour South Sudan. Government of Sudan’s second vice president al Haj Adam Yousif as well s defence minister Abdul-Raheem Mohammed Hussein have repeatedly threatened to start a war with South Sudan over some unresolved issues which include the protested oil rich region of Abyei and the Sudan’s government accusations to South Sudan of harbouring and supporting the rebel Kauda Alliance Forces.

Last year unrest amidst the Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF) led to relief from duty and forced retirement of 12 Armed Forces Commanders, the list which was published by the online news paper Hurriyat included major operations commanders who included el-Fasher Brigade Commander, el Tayeb Musbah, Nyala Brigage Commander Ahmed Abdoon, Manager of the Ministry of Defence Office al Naeen Kidir and Commander of the Army Intelligence Services Abbas Taje el Deen.

Earlier last week, commissioner of Kosti, White Nile State and vice chairman of the National Congress Party’s White Nile State branch rebelled against the National Congress Party and government and declared himself a self appointed Wali, a revolution which might have cost him his new anticipated role as commissioner of Rabak and a potential stretch in the Sudan’s notorious political prisons.

An escalating crisis in Gadaref State is also reaching boiling point, with The State’s Wali, 0Karam Allah Abbas openly criticizing the national governments superimposed governmental structure named the “Wide Based Government”. The wide based government is the current governmental structure involving the participation of 14 non elected political party members at all levels of the Sudan’s governance, which raises challenges of public sector’s expansion and raises questions of governance legitimacy. Also Fuelling the crisis in Gadaref is the national government’s imposed restrictions of governmental and State spending; National Congress Party led government earlier this year announced via the Central Bank of Sudan in Khartoum a set of restrictions on access to governmental bodies to loans from national banks and on governmental bodies spending.

Four days of protest initially ignited by National Congress Party leading member, ex National Minister of International Trade Dr. Abdul-Hameed Musa Kasha, brought the Sudanese army into the streets of Nyala to contain the people’s revolt. The incident which left at least four people dead, following Sudanese authorities use of live ammunition to disperse protesting crowds, also showed extreme restraint and wisdom from the Kauda Alliance Fighting forces who chose not to intervene in the town’s civil protests at the heart of Nyala city centre, an intervention which could have led to more life losses. The Kauda Alliance Forces were just on the periphery of the town at the time- engaged in numerous battles with the SAF.

Kasha who was unconstitutionally relived from elected post and replaced by an unelected central government appointed Wali, used his tribal influence, as well as the safety net of being a leading member of the National Congress Party to ignite the protests, the protest eventually burned most of the NCP’s buildings in Nyala town and has also led to mass arrests amidst the State’s student population and National Congress Party and other political party members.

Overshadowing the horizon is news of conflicting memos of reform presented to the heads of government by a phantom Islamic movement. The Islamic Movement or Islamic National Front and or the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan was an organisation of Islamic elites, which according to ex Islamic Movement leaderships statements, was dissolved in 1989 as part of a policy to remove 60% of the active membership, whilst leaving 40% to dissolve into the various National Congress Party government structures and leadership; within the remaining 40% in governance ( 20%) volunteered to lead deadly missions in the 22 year old civil war between the north and south, 10% left out of their own accord and 10% remained at the heart of governance.

The movement also saw further fractures with the overthrowing of its reforming leader Dr Hassan el Turabi at the turn of the century and the formation of an opposition movement under his leadership, the Popular Congress Party (PCP).

At the same time, the government is trying to remove attention from its ongoing political and dire economic crisis by fuelling religious conflicts and launching unfounded attacks on Sudanese opposition parties, government affiliated religious bodies have so far issued an official claim of apostasy against the leader of the opposition Umma Party, el Saddig el Mahdi and Imam of the Ansar sect and leader of the opposition Popular Congress Party Dr Hassan el Turabi.

Sudan is currently undergoing a deep economic crisis caused by the loss of over 75% of its oil revenue after the south became an independent country as well as poor management of governmental finances, a civil war in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile State as well as excessive governmental spending on the army police and national security services, estimated at nearly 30% of the forecasted 2012 annual budget , spending in presidential affairs estimated at nearly 5% , whilst spending in all basic necessary services such as education, health and support for business and agriculture estimated was forecasted at less than 1.2 % .

Short lived protests and demonstrations start quickly and just as quick are dispersed by national police forces’ use of heavy tear gas, heavy wooden sticks to beat protestors to a pulp and mass arrests. These sporadic bursts of protests have been ongoing since the coming to power of the National Salvation regime in 1989. On the 4th of January 2012, Chief of Police, State of Khartoum announced that his police force has successfully dispersed and successfully dealt with over 450 incidents of anti-government protests in Khartoum State alone.

Sudanese people cannot be ruled via a dictatorship or tyranny despite the general misconception and overriding assumption by the schooled Sudanese elites, who have deliberately and purposely participated in stealing the people’s will and democratically elected governments since the country’s independence in 1956. Schooled or mis-educated elites assume that a superimposed dictatorship or guardianship is the only feasible way to rule Sudan.

This misjudgement was inherited or taught to Sudanese schooled elites, who failed and continue to make their own sense and sound judgment about the state of their own country. The statement was made 127 years ago by General Charles Gordon’s on a nation he has failed to rule and to bring into submission:

“The Sudan is a useless possession, ever was and ever will be .....it can not be governed except by a dictator who may be good or bad!”

General Charles Gordon

Despite this being the overriding assumption of many Sudanese schooled, who have since Sudan’s independence formed part of the elite decision makers who ruled the country; evidence of continual revolution against tyranny proves the exact opposite.

The writer is a London-based Sudanese activist. She can be reached at namaa09@hotmail.com