KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Outspoken Columnist of Altayyar Newspaper Ms. Shama’el Alnoor has raised questions about the recent dubious visit to Sudan by Kenyan Vice President William Ruto that took him to the gold mining district of Atbara. She wrote:
“A few days ago a Kenyan newspaper published a story about the visit by Kenya’s Vice President William Ruto to Sudan, The paper brought to light what it called the relation between Mr. Ruto and ousted President Omar Albashir in which the two men dodged the U.S sanctions on money transfers outside Sudan.
According to the Kenyan newspaper, the airplane carrying Mr. Ruto had landed in Atbara City Airport and is believed to have picked boxes stuffed with money. According to the paper the plane is owned by Sudanese businessman Usama Dao’od, owner of the Dal Group. But Dal Group had denied the Kenyan paper’s report.
The visit by the Kenyan official had coincided with the mutiny in the barracks of the security’s Operations Corps in mid January, a matter that made it to pass unnoticed.
Yesterday the Altayyar newspaper reported that Kenyan officials had asked the Sudanese Ministry of Energy and Mining for permission for the Kenyan official to enter the gold mining zones in the Nahr Alneel State, although Kenya has no investments in the mining sector in Sudan.
And also yesterday the newspaper Alsudani Aldawliyya published a complete report about the visit, in which it confirmed what was reported by the Kenyan paper. The paper, Alsudani Aldawliyya, added official statements to the report by the Sudanese paper. From the paper’s report, written by fellow journalist Sumayya Sayyid, we understand that Mr. Ruto had actually arrived in Atabara City and was officially received by the local authorities there and before that, he entered the country via the Presidential Lounge in Khartoum Airport. According to Atbara City Municipality’s Director the plane carrying the Kenyan delegation belonged to the Sudanese police.
About more than two weeks have passed since the visit took place, while we could not see any comment from the government on this grave incident: The Kenyan Vice President lands in Khartoum Airport, and then he flies on another plane to Atbara and the plane picks what it came for and then the Kenyan official flies back to Khartoum and then outside the country. All of this occurs in secret, quite outside the official track of such visits. This is a scandal.
What is required now, and after the official confirmation from the City of Atbara, is that the government comes out with an explanation: What has happened during this visit in the first place? And did this visit take place with the knowledge of the civilian government or just with the knowledge of the military component of the government, given the fact that Ruto was received by official authorities in Atbara and also given the fact the local regions are still under the authority of the military, or whether it was with the knowledge of part of the military component?
By and large, this visit, and after it the visit Kenyan officials intend to pay to the same area, has to be investigated. We cannot wait longer than the time that has already elapsed. What is needed is an immediate investigation into what had happened. And more than that “How did it happen and what did the aircraft carry from Atbara?”
Commenting on a recent meeting of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdouk with fanatic Islamist ghazi Salah Al-Dinn Atabani, columnist Yusuf al-Sondy wondered what Hamdouk expects to get out of Atabani who participated in the coup detat against the democratic regime in1989 and in undermining the constitutional system and the state of freedoms.
Writing in Al-Tahrir online newspaper that appeared on Saturday, Sindy asked what does the prime Minister wishes to get from a man who took part in the darkest years of the Ingas and witnessed or participated in all outrageous crimes of execution for possessing dollars, aggressive layoffs, prohibition of political activities, dissolution of political parties, suspension and closure of newspapers, suppressing the freedom of expression and the press and prolonged imprisonment of politicians without trial?
He added that it is true that Hamdouk is a prime minister for all the Sudanese people but it is also true that those people have toppled the government of the Islamists and have put an end to the era of the Islamist leaders who inflicted all sorts of torture and the people thought that, throughout the period of the transitional Authority, no role, whatsoever, would be played by anyone of those leading Islamists who occupied a high position during the rule of the ousted president (Beshir) and who participated by implementation, statement or silence in some or all crimes which were perpetrated since the seizure of power by the Ingas in 1989 and until its ouster in April 2019.
There is nothing that qualifies Atabani for participation, even with opinion, in the government of the Transition period and the appropriate place for him is jail rather than meeting the Prime Minister, said the columnist, adding that Atabani is one of the Islamists who deceived the people with Islamic slogans and oppressed them for 30 relentless years.
"Mr. Hamdouk, the people have isolated the Islamists, including Atabani, and have ostracized them by toppling their regime and they occupy no place in the people's sentiment except chanting "We tread on any Kouz (Muslim Brother) slogan that made them sleepless", said Sondy in conclusion.
Columnist Sumayah Sayyed was astonished with a recent statement by the manager of Al-Fakhir Company for Advanced Enterprises (the company authorized by the Ministry of Finance to export gold) who admitted that they buy smuggled gold from the Gold Building in central Khartoum, apparently without fearing any legal accountability for dealing with smugglers and undermining the national economy.
In a column that appeared on Al-Sudani Aldawliyyah newspaper of Monday, Sumayah wondered how people could openly deal with smugglers and brokers, while the official authorities would not move for legal actions against them.
She said the manager told a group of reporters that the Gold Building daily receives at least 300 kilograms of smuggled gold, i.e. a monthly six tons worth more than 3 billion dollars, each month.
This means that a monthly 3 billion dollars uncontrolled by the central Bank of Sudan are collected by the smugglers from whom Al-Fakhir Company purchases the gold for export, said the columnist, urging the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Sudan, the Customs and the Security organs to consider this "grave" situation.
In his newspaper Altayyar daily of Wednesday, Chief Editor Osman Mirghani supported a call by the Sudanese Professionals' Association (SPA) for a popular campaign through February aimed at exerting pressure completing the establishment of the governance institutions, namely the parliament, the state governors, the commissions and the status of the Bank of Sudan.
"This is exactly what we have been advocating as the country's crises and problems cannot be resolved in absence of such institutions, particularly the legislative assembly (parliament) as no country can build its future without a parliament that enacts legislations and supervises the government performance," said Mirghani in his regular column.
The SPA has been the "locomotive" of the December revolution throughout and has to carry on with this role for maintaining the momentum of the revolutionary movement for assisting the cabinet to speed up complementing the government institutions, the columnist said.
In addition to the popular pressures through demonstrations, an understanding must be reached with the (rebel) armed movements which at present insist that the establishment of those institutions must be delayed until peace is reached in the current Juba negotiations.
As formation of the legislative assembly and appointment of state governors cannot be postponed any longer, those movements are to be reassured that new members from their ranks could be added to those institutions after a peace agreement is concluded, Mirghani suggested.
The Sudan confronts a serious problem of two-way smuggling as it neighbors on seven countries suffering the same difficulties of the Sudan, even worse, including poverty, conflicts, erroneous politics and dictatorship, the latter the Sudan has recently got rid of, although the country still suffers its consequences, said Asma'a Juma'ah in a column published on Altayyar daily newspaper of Thursday.
Those neighboring countries also suffer a poor control of their borders with the Sudan, yet the latter faces grave difficulties of cross-border problems in addition to smuggling of all Sudanese consumer and strategic commodities causing current acute living hardships, such as wheat flour, fuel, sugar, all sorts of food, drugs, gum Arabic, oil-seeds, gold and many other goods, Asma'a said.
Likewise, many hazardous commodities, including weapons, narcotics, stolen motorcars, instruments, polluted vegetables and fruits, etc., are smuggled into the country across those open borders, adversely affecting the country's security and stability as well as the health of the Sudanese people, the columnist added.
The hazard coming to the Sudan from the borders began in an unprecedented degree during the defunct regime which was much concerned with its own security and existence while the border security was not among its priorities to the extent that some of the neighboring countries transgressed and occupied Sudanese border territories and the regime did not even denounce those acts, fearing any reaction would threaten its very existence for which it was prepared to pay everything to remain in power and by the end of the day it paid a lot but collapsed, said the columnist.
The smuggling of the essential commodities is one of the main reasons behind the increasingly high prices and the scarcity of those commodities in the local markets while they are always available in abundance in the neighboring countries with prices lower than in the Sudan, the country of origin, Asma'a noted. (Ironically, it is reported that Sudan-produced sugar re-smuggled from Eritrea is sold in Kassala for a lower price than in Khartoum, editor.)
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