15 May 2018

Sudan's Al Bashir Reshuffles Cabinet

Photo: IRIN
President Omar al-Bashir

Khartoum — Sudan's President Omar Al Bashir has reshuffled the cabinet members of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in his government and appointed a new foreign minister to replace the recently-dismissed Ibrahim Ghandour on Monday, amid the ongoing fuel crisis in his country.

The president appointed Eldirdiri Mohamed Ahmed as minister of foreign affairs. He is a former member of the government's delegation that negotiated the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with South Sudan's rebel SPLM.

He replaces Ibrahim Ghandour, who was sacked last month, a day after the former minister accused the Central Bank of Sudan of not releasing the salaries for diplomats abroad for seven months. In the past Ghandour negotiated with Washington on the lift of economic sanctions on Sudan and worked hard to break the regime's international isolation. He has also been working on soothing Sudan's strained relations with Egypt, which fears Ethiopia would cut its Nile water share with a new massive dam that it's building on the Blue Nile.

President Al Bashir further appointed presidential assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid as minister of interior, a position that he also occupied from 2008 to 2013. The presidential decree did not affect First Vice-President and Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh.

The seven new ministers, five state ministers, and eight state governors are known as moderate Islamists or members of Sudan's civil society. Expectations are they will remain in their posts until the presidential election in 2020.

Among the newcomers in the cabinet are Salim Ahmed Salim, the former head of Sudan's National Election Commission, as minister of justice.

Reshuffle 'absorbs public anger'

A political expert speaking to Radio Dabanga yesterday explained that the changes in the cabinet are the president's attempt to absorb the rising public discontent that has resulted from a hike of prices and the ongoing fuel shortages.

In the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the ongoing fuel crisis has entered its sixth week, with dozens of vehicles still queueing in front of fuel stations. Yesterday presidential assistant Faysal Hassan Ibrahim said that a meeting with the president has laid the foundation for renewed distribution of fuel to Sudan's agricultural projects.

In addition, the travel of officials will be "rationalised [... ] except in cases of extreme necessity" according to Hassan Ibrahim.

Also the NCP leadership has declared a series of measures to address the current economic problem. At the level of monetary policy, the ruling party directed the need to spread banking services in the country and encourage the use of banking technology as an alternative to cash.

In addition, the party directed companies and government bodies to stop purchases of foreign currency from the parallel market

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