05-December-2021

Successive Governments Fail to Handle Strategic Issues- researcher

By: Aisha Braima

KHARTOUM (SUDANOW)- Former Army General Mohamed al-Abbas al-Amin, who currently teaches strategic studies at Al Zaem Al- Azhari University in addition to serving as an expert for Sudanese Center for Research and Strategic Studies, spoke to SUDANOW on the 59th anniversary of Sudan’s independence. Amin who holds PhD on strategic studies, focused his remarks on the way the Sudanese national governments and political parties handled the strategic issues since independence up to now.

Governance:
Dr. Amin said he doesn’t believe that any single national government has successfully handled the Sudanese strategic issues since independence up to now. The traditional political parties which took power following the independence were dominated by religious sects. He said the domination of sectarians prevented parties from offering a model of good governance, arguing that spiritual status of those sectarian leaders blocked the way before the new generations to take over the leadership like what happened in other countries particularly in the West. He said in France the leadership term in any political party is only two years. In Sudan he said “there are leaders who have been assuming their parties leadership since 1968. This kind of one-man dominance has hindered all possible socio-economic and political strategic plans and has hampered any creative innovation that he said could have been offered by the new generations.

Economy:
I could say that lack of a strategic vision of the political parties and governments during the 60 years of the last century made Sudan in a state of standstill in terms of economic development. In spite of the Sudan's huge potential resources that can make it compete with any country, even the United States of America in such strategic crops as wheat, only a handful of projects were established during the multi-party systems and the military regime of President Ibrahim Abboud in the late 1950s and 1960s. The only national projects established at that time were the Managil Extension and Er-Rossiris Dam, in addition to some low-capacity sugar factories. Dr. Amin went on to say that the strategic Sudan Railways project, which was built during colonial era, was severely neglected, particularly during the 1969-1985 May regime of President Jaafer Nimeiry. The Gezira Scheme was also neglected due to administrative problems rather than lack of resources and funds, he added.

Education:
As regards the higher education, Sudan had only two universities namely University of Khartoum and Cairo University, Khartoum Branch, followed by the Gezira University in 1989, Dr. Amin said. He added that the students studying abroad outnumbered those admitted in the local universities at that time. All through the Sudan was suffering a lack of adequate economists, engineers and medical officers, he said, estimating the intake of the Faculty of Medicine in the 1960s at thirty to forty students.
"I would say that the policy of expansion in higher education adopted by the current government is relatively good," commented Amin. He explained that it is good to provide wide chances for higher education by establishing universities with various specializations across the country; but the problem is where and how to place the fresh graduates.
The education policy must be linked to strategic development plans, he said, adding that the successive governments which alternately ruled the country since independence have not benefited from experiences of other countries with similar circumstances. He cited, for instance, former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamed as having sent 20,000 students for studies abroad and the Malaysians have set strategies’ to absorb them in revival projects and eventually they worked aggressively for making a tangible change in Malaysia. “In our case things were opposite,” Amin said, adding that many fresh graduates, including doctors and engineers, remained unemployed for long, despite the huge funds spent for qualifying them in universities. Dr. Amin estimated that nearly 1800 university teaching staff migrated to petrodollar Gulf countries, mainly due to low wages.

Society:
In spite of the fact that the Sudan is potentially a rich country that suffers no food crises, poverty strikes many Sudanese families, Dr. Amin said. The social changes resulting from the war and economic sanctions created political and economic instability. Many people, including farmers and nomad herders, deserted their home regions seeking peace in secure areas, he added. This demographic change, according to Dr. Amin, made farmers and nomad cattle herders, owners of real resources --the land and cattle, engage in marginal jobs and live in poverty, instead of the well-off status they had been leading. Moreover, entire generations have missed opportunities of education, he said.

Constitution:
As regards the constitution, Amin said:” We still keep talking about interim constitutions since independence.” The long-history political parties along with their highly educated members have failed to formulate a permanent constitution because of the narrow partisan interests that outweigh the national interests, he remarked.

Secession:
The greatest catastrophe experienced by the country was the secession of South Sudan, Dr. Amin said. He noted that the successive governments did not offer reasonable solutions for the South Sudan case, particularity in relation to development and education. Therefore, he went on, the current government had paid the price of secession. "I am afraid if what had happened in the south is repeated elsewhere, the country will disintegrate into shreds. I hope government and opposition will work out an agreement on a strategic vision of ruling the country, particularly as the international community is interested in curbing Sudan's previous leading role in the region and the world at large," the researcher said in conclusion.

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HA/ MAS/ AS

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