20-October-2021

Weekly Press Columns Digest

Weekly Press Columns Digest

KHARTOUM (Sudanow)  -  The editor is choosing the following press commentaries on the week’s outstanding events. They tackle the visit by chairman of the Sovereignty Council, General Burhan to Turkey during which it was announced Sudan is to allocate a million acres of arable land for Turkish investments, the formation of a national mechanism to implement PM Abdalla Hamdok’s initiative for political, legal, legislative and economic reform and the court ruling condemning gold smugglers.   

About General Burhan’s visit to Turkey wrote Dr. Haydar Ibrahim Ali in the newspaper Aldemograti (the democrat):

The surprise visit by General Burhan to Turkey has caused a lot of wonder and questions, including who takes decisions in the transitional government and how.

For the foreign policy there should be a clear, unanimously agreed upon strategy that should also be implemented in full commitment from all officials. 

It is obvious for any strategy to observe the nation’s high interests and seek to raise the country’s position among the nations of the World.

Burhan’s visit to Turkey did not take the country’s interests into consideration, nor did it respect the country’s dignity, simply because Turkey is hosting elements opposed to the Sudan’s  democratic transition. The Islamists who looted the country’s riches have found a safe haven in Istanbul and deposited the looted money in Turkish banks at profitable interests. The media of the Islamists is active from turkey, attacking and threatening the transitional government whose head of state shakes hands with Erdogan with utmost love. This was also previously done by Burhan’s deputy, General Hemaidti.

I am in great wonder about the way these officials understand the cordial relations between countries. Sometime ago Turkey sought to enhance its relations with Egypt and exchange visits with Cairo.

But Egypt, that knows its interests thoroughly well, had set the precondition that Ankara should first stop the hostile activity of the Islamic opposition.

Here turkey virtually banished some of those elements. At this point Egypt permitted the reception of a tiny Turkish delegation, not at the level of the Sovereignty Council Chairman or his deputy.
Then we look at Burhan’s visit outcome and begin with the question: What are the legal justifications that permit the allocation of a million acres of arable land for a foreign country.

Is it out of generosity on the part of his eminence the Emir of Sudan or whether there are clear laws that allow this.

This visit to Turkey and its outcome is a stark proof that our glorious revolution is beset with a lot of chaos and randomness.

This is clear from the way in which nominations for ministers and deputy ministers were made when many opportunists climbed to senior posts. Then the political parties came in for power sharing to turn the supposedly revolutionary assignments into  booties.

We are in need of a revision of this situation to correct our path through the purging of the civil service and its leaderships from a new deep state which we should not create and engineer by our own free will. 
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Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in midweek announced a mechanism to follow up the implementation of his earlier initiative for political, security and economic reform in order to pave the way for a healthy transition to democratic rule. The formation of this mechanism had received a lot of discussion, in particular with regard to some names it contained.

Tackling this issue of the mechanism, wrote Mr. Salah Shua’ib in the electronic publication Alrakooba (the shack):

Mr. Hamdok was brought to this office by a revolution that with all confidence and full authorization allowed him to do what he sees suitable within the executive.

So how can he return to us two years after to tell us about the need for consensus about this or that pending issue as if the mandate he was given was not from a revolutionary consensus from the Sudanese people?

The Constitutional Document had stipulated the general elections to be held after two years. So, the Prime Minister hasn’t much time to waste in things like the initiative mechanism, from which emanate committees and committees to take us to what, nobody knows!

And because the transitional two years will elapse fast, a short time is allowed for Hamdok to achieve what he could not achieve, if we are not promised by an elongation of the transitional period, for five or six or, say, ten years. For who can stop the influential persons from achieving their wishes away from parliamentary accountability?

Hamdok, who has just two years left, is needed to improve his executive performance now. That is the meaning of the revolutionary authorization he was given. The essence of his initiative, which was very generalized, would not allow him to synchronize all the ministerial  performance now. There are economic, social, information, diplomatic and cultural shortcomings that just require executive tackling. In essence, the initiative does not give better priorities than the priority of tackling these shortcomings.

It is noticed that the mechanism membership is 95 percent masculine, embracing nearly most of the supporters of the partners in the transitional government.

If the matter is so, it is better to save time and energy and allow the partners’ council, the alternative of the proposed legislative council, to explain the  initiative and take it to its conclusive ends for the Prime Minister to be allowed to take his time with executive work and its heavy agenda.

Let us forget about all of this and ask a question about the ceilings of the recommendations of the PM initiative.

Will there be a recommendation for reconciliation with the Islamists for instance? And will the initiative convince the Sudanese Communist Party and the Professionals Association –who are not part of the mechanism membership- to come back and take part in the government?

Will these recommendations resolve the issue of the military’s and the security’s economic institutions?

Will they provide solutions for the economic problem away from the prescription in force now?

Will they bring peace on the ground?

Will they call for cleaning the state from the membership of the defunct National Congress Party? etc..etc..?

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About what could be considered the first ruling according to article 57-A of the Sudan Penal Code (subverting the national economy) in which two persons were ruled to be imprisoned for smuggling a quantity of gold outside the country, wrote Ms. Sabah Mohammad Alhassan in the daily journal Aljareeda (the Newspaper):

The Khartoum central division  court has ruled in the famous gold smuggling case in which the two accused were convicted under article 57-A of the penal code (subverting the national economy) for smuggling seven kilograms of gold via the Khartoum Airport on 30 December 2020 on Badr Aviation flight to Cairo.

That was an event in which some personnel of the Khartoum Airport customs unit were proved involved and convicted.

The court has ruled a five year prison term for the accused, effective from the day they were  arrested and a fine of 500,000 pounds or else an additional one year prison term in case of failure to pay the fine. The court has ruled the gold to be confiscated to the interest of the Finance Ministr

But the punishment did not look that deterrent, compared to the harm inflicted upon the national economy by the repeated smuggling of gold, in particular if we know that the convict is part of the law enforcers who are supposed to protect the country and its economy.

It is a ruling that reveals a big malfunction in the laws enacted at an earlier stage that look as if they were tailored out to protect the law breakers and not to deter them.

Now the question: who stands behind the small smugglers belonging to the law enforcement forces who traffic gold via the Khartoum Airport?

How did the policeman own all this gold and why did this particular seizure spark a wave of differences between the Badr Aviation Company (which is very much involved in the smuggling of gold) and the Customs Administration?

We fear that whenever a smuggled gold quantity is seized, those to be punished are those with whom the gold was found, without looking for who stands behind the incident.

Further, the smuggling of gold is on a clear increase these days, a matter that dictates more keenness and attention from the concerned bodies.

Also tell us about the investigations about all the latest gold seizures:  Who are the accused in those cases and where do the seized gold quantities go.

And most important: the laws should be amended to guarantee deterring punishments which make the people feel that their country is more precious than gold.

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YH/AS

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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