Weekly Press Columns Digest

Weekly Press Columns Digest

By: Mohamed Ali Saeed

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The week’s press commentaries have tackled the drop in the River Blue Nile waters after Ethiopia had started the first filling of the Renaissance Dam, the ongoing trial of the perpetrators of the 1989 coup that brought the Muslim brotherhood to power in Sudan and the circle of advisers around PM Abdalla Hamdok.

Writing in the daily Aljareeda, columnist Mohammad Wida’a questioned the benefits of the controversial Grand Renaissance Dam Ethiopia is building on the River Blue Nile, near Sudan’s Southern border:

The international and local media have carried satellite images and information showing Ethiopia had embarked on the first filling of the Dam before a due agreement is reached on the first filling and operation of the Dam.

It was also clear that the water level at the border Addaim water station in Sudan had dropped by a daily 90 million cubic meters. This is an indication that Ethiopia had closed the Dam gates. The Khartoum water corporation had on 19/7/2020 announced that a number of Nile water stations had gone out of service due to the sudden drop of water levels in both the Blue and White Niles and in the main Nile. The corporation has expected a scarcity of drinking water supply in some of the City’s suburbs.

It is my belief that the problem is far bigger than from what the corporation has said. May be the situation will be worse in the coming days, now that Ethiopia has started filling the Dam. I believe the drop in water levels at Addaim Station is greater than we were told. The government’s statement is obscure and misleading. It has spoken about a drop in the water level at Addaim station this year but did not tell us about the water levels at this station this time in the previous years that ranged between 360-500 million cubic meters. The water flow during the period 13-18 May 2020 was semi-fixed at a daily 130-140 million cubic meters. That is enough proof that Ethiopia did not just start the Dam filling, but has embarked on controlling the water. According to the negotiations minutes, Ethiopia was supposed to release a daily 250 million cubic meters of water in July and August, whereas it is now releasing about 135 million cubic meters of water per day, that is minus a daily 115 million cubic meters. This is a grave situation that requires strong and quick measures.

Unfortunately, the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources is now airing ineffective and useless statements amidst attempts to please the Ethiopian side at the expense of Sudan’s interests.

The benefits of the Renaissance Dam to Sudan are mere promises unsupported by a committing pact. Talk that Ethiopia would provide Sudan with 3000 or 4000 megawatt of electric power are just dreams that will not come true and are expressive of ignorance of the political and economic objectives Ethiopia is running after. That Ethiopia is ready to provide Sudan with all this quantity of electricity means Ethiopia is going to give Sudan a sum exceeding Sudan’s overall electric output.

Instead of pinning its hopes on such rosy dreams, the government should proceed on building a strategy for power production, concentrating on solar, wind and thermal energy.

 It is my advice the government should not be misled by such promises and go ahead for signing a binding agreement with the Ethiopian side.

We should also take into consideration that any agreement on the Renaissance Dam should be tied to the immediate evacuation of the Ethiopians from Alfashaga district in the east and the drawing of the borderline, before the signing of any final agreement.



The usually fiery commentator, Dr. Zuhair Alsarraj, wrote an article in Aljareeda newspaper on the ongoing trial of the perpetrators of the 1989 coup that brought Omar Albashir to power:

That these persons are now standing for trial is a matter of great importance. These people should see justice done in order to prevent any such adventures in the future from the military or the civilians who seek power under pretexts of saving the country or fighting corruption, while their real aim is to achieve personal gains and steal public money as we have seen in the last thirty years.

However, doing justice to the Darfur crimes should have been given priority. The hundreds of thousands of persons, killed and displaced need immediate justice to be done.

Second, doing justice to the Darfur victims is tightly connected to the achievement of peace which was set as a priority by the Constitutional Document.

The achievement of peace can also speed up the removal of Sudan from the US terror list and the opening of the country towards the World and the international financial institutions.

All of this requires two things: Delivering the ousted President to the ICC in the Hague, a matter the transitional authority rejects.

Second: trying Bashir and the other accused in the Darfur crimes in Khartoum in agreement with the ICC. So far we have heard nothing from the government about its required movement towards the ICC.

Sarraj then expressed his apprehension that the ongoing Bashir trial, in which he and the other accused appear very neat and relaxed as if coming from a five star hotel, could be a ploy to evade their going to the Hague. “All indications show that the trial would be turned into a political issue just to save time. This case does not require a lot of time to prove that the accused are guilty and then cut off their heads!



Writer Bakri Almadani has commented in Alsudani daily on the question of a farm said to be a meeting place for a small circle of advisers around PM Abdalla Hamdok, reports the PM had denied at a press conference last week.

The reports said the group includes, beside the PM, the adviser at the Council of Ministers Alsheikh Khidir and Dr. Salah Awad, the farm owner.

Wrote Almadani:

Apart from the personal views, that may not be true, and away from the terms ‘group’ and the ‘farm’,  the idea is worthy of attention and discussion.

The farm owner is author of the book: The Developmental Democratic State.

The idea of the developmental democratic state had met bright success in many countries in the previous decades, in particular Japan, China, South Korea, the Asian tigers and on the way we see Ruanda and Ethiopia.

Personally, I believe that the idea of the developmental democratic state is most suitable to the situation in Sudan, if applied in a correct manner.

In simple terms, the idea is a mix between the wild capitalism and the dry socialism, taking the merits of the two of them and merging them together.

That means the state will not quit totally from the economy and the services. At the same time it should not impose full control on the economy and the services.

In other words, the government should lay down a governing plan through which investments and services are directed, with enough liberty for capital movement within this spacious circle.

The aim is to achieve a developmental state and protect the vulnerable sectors of the population, maintaining their material rights in the state.

Neither the “farm circle” nor the Hamdok government, nor the entire Sudan will succeed in achieving the experiment of the developmental state without realizing the necessary conditions of achieving peace and the effecting of a national reconciliation that isolates nobody or group from this big national project.



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