Weekly Press Columns Digest17 January, 2021
KHARTOUM (Sudanow) -The week’s editorials had tackled a lot of issues including, in the main, the on-dragging controversy over the proposed amendments of the school curricula, the upcoming cabinet reshuffle and the repercussions of the Ethiopian bandits attacks on the Eastern border enclave of Fashaga and possible Ethiopian intelligence activity within Sudan.
About the sensational resignation of the school curriculum director, Dr. Ahmed Algarrai, wrote prolific writer, Professor of African History in the American universities, Abdallah Ali Ibrahim in the electronic publication Sudanile:
“It is rightful blame for Prime Minister Hamdok to have froze the work of Dr. Garrai and his staff with respect to the new school curriculum. The amendments were introduced to the curriculum after insightful consultations that included a spectrum of institutions. The PM is blamed to have frozen the work without even a single reference to Garrai. And even when Garrai tried to meet the PM to explain what he has done about the new curriculum, the door was shut before him (Garrai), a door which was previously delved into by worthless persons of sorts.
This was wrongdoing, not only towards Garrai, but also towards the revolution.
It is common knowledge that the clouds of opposition to the proposed syllabus had gathered against Garrai the day he opened his mouth to speak about the matter, shortly after he was appointed in October 2019.
It is no secret that the school curriculum was a Horse of Troy ridden by the counterrevolution to score two victories:
The first one was to oblige the government to relieve a senior employee of hers in such a degrading manner after it had previously relieved former Health Minister Dr. Akram Altoam.
The second victory was to impose its (the counterrevolution’s) vision on how the curricula should be and to secure a presence in future curriculum amendments.
It is for sure that Garrai had lived a gloom for one and a half years during which he was grilled on the fire of the counterrevolution. Garrai had no support whatsoever in this battle from the elite opposition we had closely known during the defunct regime: I could not read a word of support from Garrai’s fellow Republicans who should have backed him with a counterattack on the old curriculum. Even two of the best critics of that old curriculum, Dr. Alnoor Hamad and Khalafallah Abboud (both Republicans) said nothing.
The same applies to the parties of the Forces For Freedom and Change (FFC), the government power-base.
But the greatest loss for the revolution and for Islam was when the Islamic Jurisprudence Council stepped in to impose itself in the curriculum issue, assuming the position of a sentry assigned to protect the national identity.
I can’t recall the number of times when I cautioned against the threats this Council can pose to our search for modernity.
It was not just me who is warning against the danger of this Council. It was what I learned from patriarch of the Sudanese Islamists, the late Dr. Hassan Alturabi, who had a progressive vision on this matter. He (Turabi) had maintained that “the religious men (the clergy) we know” were but a needless appendix in the body of Islam, who confiscated legislation from the history of the nation and took monopoly of it. That was why Turabi had distanced these clergy (unless on certain conditions) and deprived them from the right to fatwa (religious ruling) when the issue of modernization was on the table. He (Turabi) had strictly confined the activity of these clergy within a group of other specialized scholars from the domains of medicine, the sciences and the social and humanitarian disciplines of knowledge.
I have tried, over the years, to pass this piece of information from Turabi about the danger of this Council, but I got nothing other than scorn from the “official” opponents of the defunct regime, let alone an accusation of being a Kouz (Turabist).
For these, Turabi is worth for nothing other than harsh criticism.
Garrai’s letter of resignation had caused me to have pity for the morality of the team of employees we have chosen to lead the revolution. The counterrevolution is smacking for the fall of a third victim beside Dr. Akram and Dr. Garrai.
On the press leaks concerning the new government formation, wrote Dr. Zuhair Alsarraj, a firebrand news commentator, in the daily newspaper Aljareeda:
The political parties were supposed to have picked qualified administrative and executive cadres who can go down to business from the start instead of politicians who need much time to gain experience.
What can we gain from technocrats and professionals with little executive and administrative experience? Or do they want us to become Guinea pigs for anyone who wants to conduct experiments on us?
True, political experience can help the minister face the challenges and take daring decisions. That does not mean the leaders of the political parties and the former rebel groups should have monopoly of ministerial portfolios without having the necessary experience for that.
A look at the nominees from the two parties shows that they don’t have the necessary administrative-executive experience as compared with the incumbents who have gained some experience during their year-long stay in the office (just compare the present Minister of Education with the new nominee for the post. Is it possible for a member of an armed group to become in charge of the Ministry of Education?)
(The other group (the FFC group may have political experience, no more. The political experience is not enough (by itself) to run ministerial duties, in particular during this critical juncture when the country is in need of more capabilities and experiences.
And if the political parties are unable to present real candidates who are qualified to assume ministerial posts, there is no need for a comprehensive cabinet shake up.
It could be enough to replace ministers who demonstrated clear weakness, instead of appointing politicians and partisan leaders who lack the required experience. If not, we will move from one failure to another and from one pitfall into a deeper pitfall!
The ongoing belligerency in the Fashaga district of Eastern Sudan has prompted writer Bakri Alsayigh to invoke the history of Ethiopian intelligence activity in Sudan.
Writing in the electronic publication Alrakoba under the title “The Ethiopian Fifth Column”, Sayigh says:
“During the 1960s and under the heavy-handed rule of Emperor Haile Selassie over 100,000 Ethiopians and Eritreans fled into Sudan. The entry of these people into Sudan was not difficult because there were no clear borderlines between the two countries. The Ethiopian activists had, then, staged a wide-secret information campaign against the regime in Addis Ababa. They managed to broaden their activity within Ethiopia, a matter that obliged the Ethiopian intelligence to heavily deploy its assassination experts inside Khartoum and also, in particular, in Kasala, Gedarif and Port Sudan in the East where the Ethiopian activists lived.
It was fairly easy for the intelligence agents to kill Ethiopian activists with the help of the fifth column residing among the Ethiopian refugees in those respective Sudanese areas. That fifth column was very active among the Ethiopian refugees. It helped the Ethiopian intelligence a good deal, planting time- bombs within the refugee camps and groupings. Hundreds of Ethiopian activists were shot dead by silent pistols. Wide kidnappings of hundreds of Ethiopian opposition elements were carried out in secret. Those killings were not confined to the Ethiopian political activists. A big number of Sudanese who sympathized with the Ethiopian opposition or publicly expressed solidarity with the Eritrean freedom fighters were also killed.
That Ethiopian fifth column had been, since the 1950s (and still is) a strong force on which the Ethiopian ruling authority depends in order to know everything about Sudan.
The power of that column became largely visible during the 1960s (in particular in 1964) after the collapse of the Abboud regime when the ensuing democratic regime had openly supported the right of the Eritreans to self-determination. At that time the Ethiopian government could not keep silent. It unleashed a wide activity of a fifth column within the Sudanese towns. As a result the country saw hundreds (if not thousands) of assassinations that victimized Sudanese nationals and Ethiopian opposition elements alike.
All this dangerous information about the Ethiopian intelligence and its tributary “the fifth column” is just an introduction for talk about the danger of the Ethiopian intelligence inside Sudan. If Sudan has the ability to uproot this intelligence and fifth column, it should do now before it becomes too late. That is because the situation between Sudan and Ethiopia today is completely similar to the situation in the 1960s.
Now the questions: Are there no intelligence elements among the tens of thousands of Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees who entered Sudan of late and the hundreds of thousands who entered Sudan before?
Aren’t there no Ethiopian intelligence agents among the tens of thousands of Ethiopian coffee, tea and food vendors working in Sudan?
Aren’t there fifth columnists among these refugees and traders?
It is very easy to answer these questions.
Like what happened in the 1960s, there may be a time bomb in Sudan called the Ethiopian fifth column!!!
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