Sudan: Weekly Press Columns Digest

24 August 2020

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - In press focus this week was the row surrounding a statement by the ousted spokesman of the Foreign Ministry Haydar Badawi that his government was discussing the normalization of relations with Israel, the mass procession organized by the government's power base, the resistance committees, in which the marchers called for more government action to achieve justice, in addition to the saddening tribal clashes in the Red Sea coastal City of Port Sudan:

Playing on the two Arabic near homonyms natiq (spokesman) and natih (butting-a sheep or ox hitting another with its horns), outspoken columnist of Aljareeda daily Zuhair Alsarrj lashed heavily at the now relieved spokesman of the Foreign Ministry Haydar Badawi who was condemned by the government for a statement in which he reportedly said the country was discussing the normalization of relations with Israel:

For me the sacking of Ambassador Haydar Badawi from his office as official spokesman of the Foreign Ministry who said contacts were underway between Sudan and Israel on the way towards normal relations and his stated backing of the recent peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is a lenient punishment, compared with the gravity of the mistake he had committed. The man should be put before a board of discipline that rules extra punishments, including his final dismissal from the Foreign Ministry. A person who commits such a grave and rash mistake, no matter how qualified he is, should never be allowed to work in the diplomatic post that needs the special specifications of shrewdness and diplomatic guardedness, two agreed upon qualities of diplomacy, which is widely understood to be 'a sophisticated art.'

The diplomat should not involve himself in politics or do things on his own discretion. He/she should be committed to the letter to the policy tailored out by decision-makers. May be he can give advice to the statesmen, but within the diplomatic norms, and not to go out and speak on TV screens.

It is awkward for the official spokesman to divulge the state secrets to the media in the same simple way when he spoke about the conversation between the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister on the relations between Sudan and Israel.

Can anyone imagine such talk to come out from a diplomat, let alone if he is the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry! He should never have revealed the state secrets in this absurd manner even if he were authorized to talk about this subject in particular.

May be I have, or somebody else may have, an opinion about the creation of a relation between Sudan and Israel, positively or negatively. But the question is: Is it possible for the official spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, an ambassador with a long career in diplomacy, to give such a strange statement, talking to the media on this sensitive subject as if he were having a chat with his fiends?


Ahmed Yousif Altay, the Editor-in-Chief of the daily Alentibaha, has appreciated the work of the young men and women who marched Monday in the streets of Khartoum to urge the government for more action and to correct the path of the revolution. He, however, blamed Prime Ministry Abdalla Hamdok for not going out to receive the protesters and address them:

The march we saw Monday, dubbed the jard alhisab (the final account), was the second most important procession the political arena had seen in the revolution's age in terms of timing, objectives and subject. For, if the 30 June 2019 one million demonstrators' procession had set a water-shed in the progress of the Sudanese revolution and if we consider it a real turning point after which the rules of the game were changed after the military had sought to change courses on the heels of the sit-in massacre, this Monday march had sent powerful and effective messages that the torch of the revolution is still alight and that the youths and the resistance committees are not bored from the struggle, did not wane and that they are more keen to guard their revolution which they have sealed with their dear blood.

After the cruel breaking of the sit-in by forces belonging to the then Military Council, the military completely put its hand on the revolution and tried to muscle it from its makers after going into that rampage of killing, manhandling and raping in the sit-in zone. To do so, they tried to mobilize the tribal leaders, took resort in the ousted regime's trade unions and the remnants of the defunct regime and controlled the official media and directed it towards defaming the revolution and its makers. Accordingly, the revolution was hijacked and things turned towards the interests of the military council in a manner completely similar to that of the defunct national salvation regime. In those critical moments came the 30 June march to put things right. The revolution triumphed once again and the military council was forced to retreat from its designs. It was a bright victory that created a balance and corrected the path.

And because the revolution was targeted from within and from the outside, attempts were made of late to hijack and direct it towards the interests of certain political forces; and the political parties returned to their old misconduct, struggling for official posts, and political bargaining came to the surface, the government power base (the Forces For Freedom and change) and its government neglected the revolution's objectives and the requirements of change. At this point there was need for correction. The revolution's youth, its guards, had to rise and give their calculations. That is a message, perhaps the last, for anyone with vision.

The resistance committees and the revolutionaries have proved they were forcefully guarding their revolution, never compromising, never allowing to be led, not even by the government they had put into office.

And there remains a word: The Prime Minister should have addressed the marchers who made the revolution that brought him to the helms. The Prime Minister's presence could at least have shown his appreciation for these men and women's sacrifices and could have calmed the souls. Now that he has done what he has done, he has widened the gap between his government and the revolutionaries, set barriers and paved the way for escalation.


Under the title "There should Be Accountability For Those Involved in the Port Sudan Events" wrote columnist Shamae'l Alnoor in Altayar newspaper:

The Port Sudan tribal confrontations that started earlier this year, had used to end in faint conciliatory tones and nobody was put on trial. It was sure things would erupt once again... This is natural in case of the absence of accountability and the lax law towards the grave crimes committed. This situation encourages more feuding and the killers would be encouraged to harvest more souls, even if those killers were instruments in the hands of big gamers.

It is these reconciliation conferences that have beset the country with damages; conferences in which the authorities amass the media and the matter is portrayed as if it is over. And before the ink in which the reconciliation documents are written dries, conflict would erupt once again. That is because this reconciliation is made without accountability that achieves justice. It is made at the cost of accountability. The countless Darfur reconciliation did not stop the blood letting there.

It is difficult to take seriously the Statement of the Security and Defense Council that it would hold accountable those who had instigated the Port Sudan clashes. That is because the authorities do not deal firmly and quickly with such incidents. The right thing is to hold accountable those who plan such clashes.

It is imperative that we all of us press for the serious enforcement of the law that does not spare any tribal component. No reconciliation without accountability and no reconciliation while the blood has not dried yet and the souls are tense because of injustice.

The transitional government should lay down the groundwork of the rule of law, beginning with the periphery. For sure this would not be attained by conferences and reconciliation documents that are signed at the expense of justice.

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