Khartoum — The highly awaited cabinet reshuffle is soon to be announced following the conclusion of consultations by president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir with other political forces and stakeholders, according to a Khartoum daily.
Bashir so far has met with influential figures within the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), leaders of NCP ideological arm, the Islamic Movement (IM), high ranking military and police officers and leaders of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani and the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi.
The Sudanese president was reportedly scheduled to meet with his longtime foe Hassan al-Turabi who heads the Popular Congress Party (PCP) and Secretary General of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) Mokhtar al-Khateeb.
It is not clear if these meetings materialized.
Al-Mijher Al-Siyasi daily newspaper quoted informed sources as saying that the current defense minister, Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, will now assume the post of presidential assistant responsible for the security and military affairs, adding that an unnamed high ranking army officer will be named as defense minister.
According to the same sources, it has become almost certain that Lieutenant General Bakri Hassan Saleh will keep his post as a minister of presidential affairs, and that Lieutenant General Taha Osman, will also keep his position as state minister and director of Bashir's office.
The sources also said that two state ministers, Idris Mohamed Abdel-Gadir and Amin Hassan Omer, will be removed from their current posts. The first will return to his original post as ambassador at the foreign ministry, while the latter will be named as minister of information and culture.
The former state minister of finance, Hassan Ahmed Taha, was being mentioned as strong candidate for the ministry of finance but other sources speculate that the current finance minister, Ali Mahmoud Abdel-Rasool, will retain his position.
According to the sources, the two presidential assistants, Gaafar al-Mirghani, and Abdel-Rahman Al-Sadig Al-Mahdi, will stay onboard. Both are the sons of the DUP and NUP leaders.
The sources also asserted that commerce minister, Osman Omer Al-Sherif, will be replaced by the current minister of Endowments and Guidance, Al-Fatih Taj Al-Sir, while Osama Atta Al-Manann will be appointed as sports minister.
It is also expected that the minister of Mining, Kamal abdel-Latif, and the minister of Energy, Awad Ahmed Al-Jazz and the Governor of the Central Bank will remain under the reshuffle.
The NCP's member of the political secretariat, Rabie Abdel-Atti, said that the secretariat is currently reviewing the upcoming cabinet reshuffle, stressing that change will be substantial and comprehensive and will not exclude any political force.
He dismissed all media reports on the forthcoming cabinet reshuffle as "mere speculations", stressing that consultations will include all political parties and civil society organizations.
Abdel-Atti told Al-Intibaha daily newspaper on Saturday that the cabinet reshuffle will represent a solid base for building a new Sudan and a beginning of a new phase with the participation of all political forces before the 2015 general elections.
He predicted that Bashir's consultations will extend to all political forces, including the PCP and SCP.
There have been mounting signs of divisions within the NCP and frustration particularly within the younger generations in the party about the lack of change in the leadership many of whom retained their positions for more than two decades.
Despite numerous pledges by Bashir and other senior NCP officials of major overhaul, the ruling party has yet to satisfy its disgruntled members and observers with a structural change in government and faces that could counter economic and political challenges in the country.