Weekly Press Columns Digest

Weekly Press Columns Digest

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The week’s  most publicized issues, that also won in- depth analysis from pressmen and politicians, were:

1) the conversation, in private, between two lawyers defending the accused in the 1989 military coup that brought General Bashir to power in which one of the lawyers sent offending language against the person of the now- relieved general manager of Sudan’s National TV and Radio Corporation, Mr. Lugman Ahmed

2) statements by figures from Bashir’s regime in which they aired their party’s desire to run in the  coming elections and

3) the news in circulation about the coup authority’s intention to appoint a prime minister and a cabinet of technocrats away from the ongoing mediation effort from the UN, the AU and the sub-regional authority IGAD.

Politician, general Secretary of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement /North (SPLM/N), Mr. Yassir Arman, like many other commentators and activists, has lashed heavily against Lawyer Mohammad Shawkat who was caught in an off record conversation using humiliating racial language against the recently sacked General Manager of the National TV and Radio Corporation, Mr. Lugman Ahmed.

Writing in the daily newspaper Alyawm Altali (the next day), Mr. Arman, who has a record history against racialism and the call for equal citizenship, has said:

Without resolving the issue of citizenship and without any social discrimination, the Sudan would not become a stable country.

The Southern Sudan was gone when citizenship and the right of others “to be others”  were gone.

 And Sudan will not see any stability if we do not recognize our diversity and our unity in diversity. Racialism is still walking on two feet in our country, the Sudan, though still silently.

Many thanks to the mikes of the court trying the main figures of the Salvation Regime that told the truth and revealed the heavy load of racialism in the words of Mohammad Shawkat, defense lawyer of the Salvation Regime’s former minister of defense and  long-time associate of Bashir, General Abdelrahim Mohammad Hussein, and the responsive laughter of Shawkat’s fellow lawyer Abbubakr Abdelraziq, a leading figure in Sudan’s Islamic movement.

Our counry will not move along the right path if we do not groom a high sensitivity against racialism of all sorts, like the language leaked by the open TV microphones from the tête-à-tête between lawyers Shawkat and Abdelraziq in which the first described a respectful citizen, a leading media figure, in   
language I don’t  dare to repeat in this article.

Let us imagine what the reaction of the U.S judiciary and lawyers could have been if such talk was made by white lawyers against a black man in that nation.

Mr. Shawkat deserves dismissal from the bar association of Sudan. He should be stopped from practicing the profession, especially if we know that the man had used that racial language inside a court  of law and within the corridors of the law. What law is this Mr. Shawkat is standing for after all of this? 

What had occurred deserves a collective, cultured, political and social deterrent reply that punishes this language and its use whether in words or in action. The forces of the revolution should place the issue of racialism within their top priorities, because we cannot devise a new national project without solving the issue of citizenship, one of the main root causes of our wars.  

In 1990 the late Dao’od Yahya Bulad met leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Dr. John Garang.

At the outset of the encounter Dr. Garang asked Bulad: “What are the reasons that prompted such a leading figure like you to desert the Islamic Movement and move to the SPLM?"

The late Bulad’s prompt answer was that: “I have discovered that blood is denser  than religion in the Islamic Movement.” That is: The ethnic bonds are stronger in the Islamic group than the religious bonds.

This is an issue that concerns political parties and groups. It concerns all of us.. We have to face it together.

I once again call upon the youths and the keen sons and daughters of our nation: Let us celebrate the elapse of a century since the 1924 Revolution, that Sudanese Revolution which broke the racial barrier and picked the late Southern Sudanese Ali Abdellatif, with whatever he represents, as a leader of the nation of Sudan. The touching and elegant pictures of the leaders of that revolution, with all their racial diversity, remain as a lasting call against racialism: "I am a Sudanese no matter the tribe I belong to" as Ali Abdellatif answered his interrogator when he asked him to which tribe he belongs.


The second issue of the week was the exoneration by a Khartoum court of law of former foreign minister, former chairman of the dissolved National Congress Party, Dr. Ibrahim Ghandour and some other leading political and security elements of the defunct regime.

The court said it found no evidence to condemn the men of treason, terrorism and waging war against the state.

The prosecution had said the men were planning assassinations and other acts of violence on June 30, 2020. The charges were included in a testimony by a security man the court said he continued to change his testimony every time he was interrogated.

However, Dr. Ghandour has said upon release that he was calling for national unity and for the country to go ahead towards national elections.

On these statements wrote the Editor of the daily newspaper Altayyar (the current), Mr. Osmam Mirghani:

What raises real wonder (from my follow-up of Dr. Ghandour’s statements) is that this great Sudanese Revolution is no more than a break after which the show continues (as in the radio and TV programs.)

For this man the Revolution is just a passing event without any wisdom to be taken from it. It is a book without any lessons to be drawn, an experiment without a content.

It is known that the former ruling National Congress Party did not withdraw on its own from the political scene. It was removed by a popular uprising that continued for several months in which martyrs had fallen and the country’s prisons were flooded with detainees.

It is a revolution for which the World gave a standing ovationď, honored it by removing the name of Sudan from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism and then removed a substantial amount of international debt that crippled the economy.

The international community was, in addition, very enthusiastic for limitless partnerships with the Sudan in all domains. This is a reality no one can deny.

 And when Dr. Ghandour speaks about his party’s preparedness for the general elections, hoping to sweep those elections, this indicates a fearful reality. Fearful not because his party would win the elections, but because this man and his party believe that they can continue from where they have stopped on the morning of 11 April 2019, the day of their downfall. This is as if fate has written for the Sudanese people to prepare for a more formidable dictatorship from a political party that does not know how to read history.

Frankly speaking, the situation now is very bad. But, more correct, is the fact that a party that ruled the country for thirty years, completely destroyed the country and was ousted by a popular uprising (not by  guns or a tanks) would not be an alternative.

Courage should not mean some leaders of this party come out for free and open political action. But courage should be for these figures to exercise self-criticism, confess to their sins and request pardon from a nation that unanimously drove that party and its regime out of power.

Wonder reaches its maximum when Dr. Ghandour continues to repeat the name of (the National Congress Party), as if he is gleefully rejoicing the gloomy outcomes of the Revolution.

For anyone to say the National Congress Party could come back to life through a court ruling is a stifling of the people that had brought this party down.

That is because the National Congress Party was not voted out of office in a general election. It was forced out of power by a unanimous decision from the people of the Sudan. The people’ s resolution is above the constitution.

My advice to Dr. Ghandour is that:  The first step towards an apology to the people of Sudan is to confess that the National Congress Party no longer exists, just like similar parties in many parts of the World which were toppled by their peoples. Those parties had never thought of provoking their peoples’ fury by thinking of a comeback after they had fallen.

News leaks early in the week spoke about an intent from the military to form a government of technocrats, away from national consensus as already promised and apart from the ongoing international and regional mediation effort.

The reports said the new cabinet will win the backing of the remnants of the defunct regime and the former rebel movements, signatories to the Juba peace agreement.

Under the title: "A Government to Legitimatize the Military Coup”, wrote the Chairman of the Sudanese Congress Party, Engineer Omar Aldegair, in the daily journal Aljareeda (the Newspaper):

Because the military coup authority is not different from the previous despotic regimes, talk is now circulating that the military is preparing for the declaration of a government made up of persons under the denomination of “technocrats”, coupled with ministers from the parties to the Juba peace agreement and, may be, some partisan elements supporting the military coup.

All of this goes on away from the masses roaring in the streets whose demands center on the issues of freedom and civilian rule, before the naming of persons who can rule.

The coup authority believes that employing such persons would absolve it from answering the question about its legitimacy.

That is a wrong notion, mere speculation not backed by any logic. That is because, before answering the question: who is to rule, there should be a solution for the constitutional and political crisis in a way that ends the military coup situation and leads to the restoration of the hijacked legitimacy by responding to the people’s demands for the establishing of a civilian government and the removal of all the impediments that hinder this government’s job of implementing the slogans of the Revolution.

The formation of a government in a bid to legitimatize the military coup is sure to meet the same fate of the 21 November 2021 political agreement between General Burhan and former PM Hamdok. That new government will find itself face to face with the forces of the Revolution even before its ministers would go to their offices. That is because the forces of the revolution have no option other than to continue with their peaceful struggle to end the military coup situation and restore the process of civilian democratic change.

It is just a way of self-deception for these new ministers to wet their mouths for sovereign and ministerial posts alongside the military coup authority;  consoling themselves that they are “just technocrats assuming public offices to serve the people.“

They cannot do or say so while this military authority is facing the people with firearms.

These ministers will eventually be considered by the people of Sudan (the owner of real legitimacy) as false witnesses.

They would look as if the spark of conscience inside them has turned into just a piece of coal.

They will look as if they had not heard the advice of the German Poet Berthold Brecht on a similar situation that: What can we tell those who come after us if they ask us: Why did you keep silent when the blood was flowing in the streets?”

It is no secret that the military coup and its backers are unifying themselves in an unsacred alliance to thwart a sacred dream and to turn the spring of the December Revolution- whose flowers are yet to blossom- into a hot summer that forces the snakes and the scorpions out of their holes to, once again, take  our country back to despotism and corruption and their bitter fruits of suffering and misery.

It is no secret that the military coup authority has no interest in the initiative of the UN mission and seeks, through what is called the “national initiative” to win a false legitimacy through a formal settlement of the political crisis that does not address the issues raised by the forces of the Revolution. The aim is to announce a tamed, easy- going government of “technocrats” that reconciles with the coup authority and perpetuates the statuesque authority.

This situation puts all the forces of the Revolution before a historical national responsibility that gives them no option other than to overcome their differences and immediately embark on the coordination of the capabilities of their peaceful struggle within a wide front with a united leadership to end the coup and agree on constitutional arrangements to restore the democratic process.

In this, these forces should form a common mechanism that represents all of them on the way towards the formation of a civilian authority that (during what remains from the transitional period) achieves specific agreed upon objectives ending by the organization of general free and fair elections that put the country on the road for the peaceful exchange of power according to the wishes of the electorate.


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Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...


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