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Weekly Press Columns Digest

Weekly Press Columns Digest

 

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The Sudanese daily newspapers, exceeding 15 in number, are remarkably rich in columns on various walks of life, with noticeably diverse opinions; though most of them deal with politics, some critical of the present government policies and others profusely lauding those policies.

Writing in his column that appeared in his own daily newspaper Almeghar Alsyasy on Saturday, Al-Hindi Izz al-Dinn blamed the Finance ministers of the previous government and the present one for raising the rate of exchange that consequently led to the skyrocketing prices to the scarcity of the basic commodities and ultimately led to the demonstrations which were staged in many cities across the Sudan.

The economic crises increasingly aggravated since January 2018 when the government approved the "disastrous" budget which inflated the official rate of the dollar from 6.5 to 18 Sudanese pounds, said the President of the Board of Directors of Almeghar Alsyasy in his column.

He said, as journalists and columnists, they repeatedly warned the former Finance Minister, Genera Al-Rikaby, and the administration of the central Bank of Sudan against raising the value of the dollar. They did not heed this warning and they even "scoffed us" and they passed their budget by the consensus of the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly.

This policy inevitably led to hysteric hikes in the foreign exchange rates and in the prices of all commodities, including salt, the columnist said.

The blunder was complemented by the present Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Mutaz Mussa, by insisting on formation of what he called "the market-makers mechanism" for fixing the rate of the dollar which at the time, was 45 Sudanese pounds in the parallel (black) market, Hindi said.

He added that those market makers made the value of the dollar 47.5 pounds and, as a result, the rate in the parallel market continued to grow until it reached 70 pounds.

The mistakes by the previous and present governments were a logical result of an exclusive opinion and insistence on the errors and refraining to consult economists and experts, Hindi said.

He added that the economic mistakes follow political and administrative errors, starting from appointment of the ministers, under-secretaries and directors, depending first on the trust before the qualifications and experience. This occurs even when the appointments are made from within the ruling party, something which was obvious in the formation of the present government, the columnist wrote.

The situation has become beyond the ability of the repairer and requires a radical remedy to restore the matters to normalcy and here comes the role of the elders and wise men of the National Congress Party and the Sudanese Islamic Movement, the Islamic columnist opined.

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The Chief Editor of the same newspaper, Almeghar Alsyasy, Salah Habib, began his column of Sunday with reference to remarks made by NISS Director-General Salah Abdulla Gosh in a recent press conference in which Gosh placed the responsibility for the incidents on the government which he said should have explained the factual situation to the public and added that it was not his NISS responsibility for holding such a press conference to elucidate the facts.

Habib concurred with the remarks by NISS chief, commenting that what happened was the responsibility of the government and the ministers who did nothing until eruption of the present demonstrations which otherwise could have been avoided.

Everyone of the ministers was busy with his own concerns and none of them could say anything about the heightening cost of living and the escalating crises until the people reached a degree of grievance that pushed them into the street, the columnist said.

He added that, with the economic crisis aggravating each day, the people could not even withdraw their own money from the banks and could not either get an explanation to this situation. Until now no official turned up to speak to the people to mitigate their anger as every one of them was busy with his own concerns.

Yet there is still a chance for settling the matters quietly as the country is the homeland to all the Sudanese people and every one of them has the right to rule it.

The Chief Editor concluded his column by saying that the President of the Republic must turn up and address the people for alleviation of the situation before the country is lost. The people are forgiving if they sense sincerity by the statesmen, Habib said, wondering whether the President would come out and address the people.

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Altayyar daily on Wednesday carried a column by Asma'a Juma'ah on the country's economic plight that led to numerous crises, including an anarchy that predominated the markets and the hikes imposed by covetous merchants.

The price of a commodity that is grown on the bank of the Nile and moved to the market on a horse-pulled cart increases every now and then for no good reason, except to go along with the chaotic trend, Ms. Juma'ah said.

She noted that a commodity that is stored for a year is presented for sale at the current price of today, while some merchants monopolize the commodities and unleash rumors of a scarcity, while others shut down their shops with commodities inside waiting for price hikes and thus, Juma'ah went on, the merchants aggravate the problem and exercise pressure on the consumer.

The columnist blamed the government authorities for failure of controlling the prices, citing Industry and Commerce Minister Mussa Karamah as saying in parliament last October that the anarchy in the prices was due to absence by those authorities from the markets to control the prices.

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A recent social media video of a man posing as a security officer brandishing a pistol and threatening any one who demonstrates against the government was discussed by Ms. Shamail al-Nour of Altayyar.

Shamail called in her column for sternly dealing with the video man who was on Tuesday captured by security authorities which said he would face charges of threatening and intimidating the civilians, instigating sedition, posing as a security agent and possessing weapons.  

 

She wondered whether the Armed Forces would bring an officer to account for a graver threat, placing his pistol beside him and, appearing on his Facebook account and writing: "We shall not hand it (power) over to worthless birds (the trivial people)".

 

The columnist has branded the comment by the army officer she named as Osama Abu Shaibah, as much worse than what has appeared on a video of an unknown man, wondering if an army officer threatens and terrorizes with his weapon anyone who contemplates protesting the situation which has become unbearable, who is going to protect the country, though the real question is: "Whose country is it?"

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Under the title "The Deadlock", another woman journalist, Raja'a Nimir, wrote on Thursday that the states of the Sudan seem to be experiencing a real stalemate for the lack of subsidized wheat flour and a resultant scarcity in bread where, according to Ms. Nimir, a loaf of bread is sold for up to 5 Sudanese pounds.

In the column that was published by Altayyar daily, Nimir said that witnesses told her that the demonstrations which were staged in Atbara in the River Nile State, north of Khartoum, began in a peaceful way but some of the bread protestors took to subversion.

The demonstrators must check those saboteurs because they defeat the cause of the demonstration, said Nimir, adding that destruction of the public and private institutions only aggravates the crisis.

 

She said the patience of Sudanese citizen reached Zero degree towards the present economic crisis, citing the scene of a woman employee standing all day in a long queue wishing the ATM would kindly offer her a few banknotes of her bank account.

Although their statements of reassurance soon turn out to be invalid, government officials insist on repeating them, while the living difficulties continue to aggravate, Nimir said. The people became fed up with such statements which, according to Nimir, seem to be made in a domain other than where the targeted people live.       

 

The columnist also made remarks on corruption which she said is of multiple forms but the predominant one is the political corruption which, according to Nimir, means the misuse of power for illegal purposes. This type of corruption includes favoritism, bribery and blackmail, she noted.

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A column by Dr. Khalid al-Tigany, a renowned press writer, published on Aljareedah daily newspaper of Tuesday, discussing the stalled negotiations between the Khartoum government, on one side and the opposition armed movements, and recent-joining civilian parties, under the African Union mediators.

The columnist believes that the path for the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) mediators to achieving successful peace negotiations on the conflict in Darfur is paved as they will be based on the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

Dr. Tigany believes that the AUHIP will, on the contrary, confront difficulties in brokering a settlement to the conflict in the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile states). The Panel has not reached a conclusive result in 18 rounds of negotiations between the central government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/North (SPLM/N) since 2011, said the columnist.

To further complicate those negotiations, according to Dr. Tigany, is that the SPLM/N has recently split into two factions, one led by Abdul Aziz al-Hilo, of South Kordofan and the other by Malik Agar of the Blue Nile.

Khartoum government, the press writer went on, prefers to negotiate with Hilo because he is militarily stronger than Agar on the ground.

Dr. Tigany notes that the West is intensifying pressure on the Sudanese conflicting parties to sit down for negotiations for "a smooth landing" so as to ward off chaos and instability in Sudan which "harm the interests of the West."  

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The topic of a column by Al-Tahir Satti and published by Al-Sudani daily on Wednesday was a statement by Industry and Commerce Minister Mussa Karamah saying that the government has imported salt for 300 million dollars in the past years.

 

Although he did not mention the type of the expensive salt, Satti deduced that it must have been a highly pure salt that is used in manufacturing drugs and is produced and exported mainly by America, China, Canada and Germany.

 

The columnist said that the Sudan, with a Red Sea coast that is more than 700 kilometers long, is capable of manufacturing and exporting this kind of salt but what is missing is the willpower that is needed for building such factories for the purpose.

 

Instead of complaining to the parliament and to the public opinion, the Minister could persuade the Council of Ministers and all other decision-makers to create an environment that is conducive to manufacturing this kind of salt, Satti said.

 

He added that those who are angry for importing salt might not be aware that the Sudan imports clothes, in spite of the Gezira cotton scheme, imports sugar for failure to operate the White Nile Sugar factory at full capacity and imports benzene and gasoline instead of exploiting the Rawat and other oil fields.        

 

 

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