Weekly Press Columns Digest

Weekly Press Columns Digest

KHARTOUM  (Sudanow) – The week’s columns  have tackled a number of issues of public interest. The writers have discussed the hot issues of the Renaissance Dam crisis, the outcries by  former supporters of the defunct regime over the confiscation of illegally obtained properties, the positive response by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to demands of protestors on 30 June for quick justice, Hamdok's sacking of some ministers and the economic policy followed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning:
Columnist, professor of economics and political science in the Sudanese universities Abdellatif Albooni is of the view that the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis is on its way to become an international issue. He wrote in the Alsudani daily newspaper:
“All indications reveal that the Renaissance Dam crisis is on its way to be globalized. If it becomes an international issue, this could lead to a “half baked” solution. That is because the three governments, parties to the crisis, are besieged with a host of problems, immeasurable. Because of that the dam issue would continue to aggravate and will be open for all possibilities. Who knows, may be one of the three governments sees in it a way out of its internal difficulties.
The international group that controls the world politics would not want the problem to aggravate. That is why we are saying that a half baked solution, that saves the faces of concerned governments which do not want to be exposed before their peoples, is possible.
After this half baked agreement, the Dam will go in action, without a stop of its problems and repercussions. For that, there will remain the question: Will Ethiopia see stability and development as a result of the Dam while it is in a state of enmity with its neighbors? And will Egypt remain with its hands tied in the face of future threats of the Renaissance Dam? In another question, will Egypt and also Sudan accept Ethiopia to be in full control of the River Blue Nile waters? It is most probable that the struggle between the three countries will take new forms as all three river basin countries are vulnerable, plagued with lots of problems. The three of them know the weak points of each other. That means the region is likely to see an exchange of harm and strikes under the belt. The peoples of these three countries are likely to see more hunger, poverty and disease. The region is about to go into an era where everybody is the loser, unless a wise elite comes through to change the playground and the rules of the game and create a win-win solution.
Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan are not in shortage of wise men and the river water can suffice all, and more water harvesting can be made from the Ethiopian Peninsula, from the River Congo and from the Sudan. Rational water use through the introduction of sophisticated irrigation system, like pivotal irrigation, can give alternative solutions. The three countries can integrate their economies and they can ….and they can …. But who will listen?

Commenting  on the prompt and positive government  response to the calls for the massive public processions on 30 June to speed up the implementation of the revolution’s  objectives of ‘freedom, justice and peace’, foremost justice to those killed by the defunct regime, veteran Journalist Nureddin Medani wrote:
“We appreciate the Council of Minister’s  recognition that the message of the public was “received in full” and that the Government would abide.
This tendency from the Transitional Government well demonstrates the difference between a democratic government and the defunct government’s cover up of its crimes and preventing  the press from publishing them.
However, we have to concede the slow pace in implementing the economic recovery program and the government continuation of the free market policy  that increases the cost of living for the citizens. Also the government repetition of the previous government’s experiment of talking peace with the rebel movements outside the country is not productive. What we have now is that the rebel movements with their delay conduct have hindered the completion of the civilian government institutions represented in the formation of legislature and the appointment of civilian regional governors. The rebels have delayed the peace process because of their partisan and geographical agenda, instead of working with the government to achieve peace. The rebel movements should remember that the most harmed by the conflicts and wars are the citizens.
All of this should not make us forget some positive developments along the road to repair the country’s external relations, like the convention of Sudan Partnership Conference in Berlin, though this move is not enough to get Sudan out of the economic crisis.
Another public complaint is the delay in the trials of criminals and the corrupt elements of the defunct regime. A complete year has elapsed since the downfall of the defunct regime, and we hear nothing about those trials except shy apologies.
 The masses that took to the streets Tuesday had said it clear: They are the real guards of the revolution  and the government should deliver on its promise the day it took office to immediately proceed for implementing what it had promised and block the road before the remnants of the defunct regime who seek to regain their rule.

Outspoken journalist Mohammad Abdelmajid, Alintibaha newspaper, expressed his wonder at what he called “the big mouths”  who try to deny the revelations by the high-level committee working to retrieve properties  stolen by the operatives of the defunct regime:
“The committee is every week revealing crimes of corruption of the defunct regime, despite the continuous talk by the  operatives of the defunct regime  about Islam when they were in power.
The committee is telling us that Bashir had used to receive a monthly pocket money of 20 million Dollars. Has this anything to do with Islam?
Bashir’s former deputy Ali Osman Mohammad Taha had built a $6 million house with money taken from the government coffer. Here we have to remember that Osman Ibn Affan, Prophet Mohammad’s Third Caliph,  had one day donated all his money to the Muslim cause. The Prophet Mohammad’s Companion Musa’ab Ibn Omair was among the well-to-do and then became poor because he used to spend his money to help his fellow Muslims. And Omar Ibn Alkhattab had admonished his son when he noticed that his camels were fatter than those of the bait almal (the coffer): That means the herders took more care about his camels, neglecting the public property. The early Muslims
had used to race to serve the Muslim cause. Their race was not for land plots in the upper class Kafuri, Hai Alhuda, or Albagair suburbs.
Business tycoon Jamal Alwali said the committee’s report had carried “incorrect information aimed at defaming me and settling accounts, when it said I illegally owned land plots in the area of Albagair.”
“We have to believe that Ali Karti has acquired 99 land plots, Almita’afi 22 plots, Hind Altaqana 173 plots and her husband Mohammad Najeeb 127 plots, Hashim Ali Mohammad Khair 17 plots, but when it comes to Jmal Alwali we must not believe that he owned 157 plots!.”
The Islam you talk about has nothing to do with these thefts. We have to remember that The Prophet had warned his companions not to mediate the exoneration of someone who steals. “This is Allah’s right and rule. I swear to Allah that if my daughter Fatima steals, I would cut her hand,” the Prophet had said.

Writing in the daily newspaper Aljareeda, Columnist Haydar Almikashfi has wondered about  the type of economic policy the country is going to adopt :free market policy as advised by international economic institutions or a controlled economy as some operatives of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), the power-base of the government are calling for?
Controversy is simmering about what economic path the country should choose. There are two tendencies here: The one adamantly adopted by the Finance Minister, which is the option for free economy. The government seems to clandestinely support this policy.
And then we have another view staunchly adopted by the FFC economic committee.
Because of this controversy, it was earlier agreed to hold an economic conference, slated for last March.
March has passe, followed by April, May and June and now we are in July. I don’t think such a conference will be convened, ever, because the economic program of Sudan has already been drawn by the Berlin’s Sudan Partnership Conference, whose members adopt the model of economic liberalization and the World Bank’s economic structural reform policy: Full stop!
It is a wonder that the delay in convening the economic conference was justified in that the country was under the threat of the coronavirus, while the Berlin conference was held, though in video form, while the pandemic was still there. The proposed economic conference could have been held by the same means.
It is now all over. The lifting of subsidies is already in effect. It has become a reality. There is no way of retracting from it.
So the FFC economic committee program will have nothing to do other than some alternatives, like reaffirming the Ministry of Finance’s authority on public money (including its control of the security’s economic companies), encouraging agricultural and industrial production, attracting the expatriates remittances, control of gold and other cash crops export revenue via the commodity stock market, tax and customs reform, bank and telecommunication reform, speeding up the retrieval of stolen money, the establishment of cooperatives in addition to other alternative programs that boost the liberalization policy, but not in conflict with it.

About the sacking of six cabinet ministers, wrote Ezz Eddin Alja’ali in the electronic publication Altahreer:
Success in any government post is always governed by several factors that include the minister’s plans of action, the cooperation and positive interaction of his team, support of the related entities, in addition to financing, the government capabilities and the citizens candid and patriotic response to the minister’s policies and the work output.
Now the question: Can we say that just half of these factors were available for the relieved ministers?
Most of the criticism leveled at those ministers was not objective or fair.
Most of that criticism was motivated by special interests.
Those critics were against the revolution, in principle and were seeking to fail the minister’s mission, assassinate his personality and stifle his achievements. This black propaganda has resonated bad among the citizens.
If the minister or the government official does not receive those helping factors, how can we expect him to succeed in his job while he is sunk in impediments and the social chaos surrounding the government work.
The departing ministers are credited in that they tried their best to achieve something under the very complicated conditions surrounding the country.
If conditions go this way,  the new ministers have to tender their resignations from now, before they are besieged by the remnants of the defunct regime and the hasty critics who do not understand the complications surrounding the country.  




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