Sudan: Weekly Press Columns Digest


Khartoum — The most outstanding issues in the press commentaries last week were: 1/ The fatwa (religious ruling) by runaway clergy Abdelhay Yousif - who is hiding in Turkey to evade corruption cases in Sudan - in which he ruled against the citizens' transferring or exchanging the hard currency they have through the local banks. 2/The controversial revelations by Foreign Minister Ms. Mariam Alsadiq Almahdi in which she said Sudan's lands are wide, its population is little and thus the country does not mind giving the neighboring countries areas to cultivate. 3/The endeavors by the military component of the Sovereignty Council to secure representatives in the planned legislative council.

Wrote Ms. Nahid Qurnas in Aljareeda newspaper about Sheikh Yousif's ruling in which he discouraged the citizens to remit their hard currency through the local banks:

All over the World, and whenever the opposition loses the elections, they sit back and study why they have failed, what was wrong in their election program that did not satisfy the electorate and what were the mistakes committed by their ministers when they were in office. And they strive to amend their steps for the coming elections. But in our dear country whenever the dust of the battle for power settles down and one party emerges the winner, the loser does all what it can to put obstacles in the new government's way, whatever the cost. I do not know if such an opposition is aware that by so doing they are harming their people and their country. Such conduct sure harms the people, not the rulers in office.

Now, once the national currency's exchange rate was liberalized and the citizens urged each other to use the banking system and not the black market in their foreign exchange transactions and the people rushed to help their country and the signs of recovery began to show up, Sheikh Abdelhay Yousif is issuing a strange fatwa warning the citizens not to send their remittances through the local banks, arguing that the leader of the country is not religiously committed, and because of that he will not be keen about the money of Musims!

It appears Sheikh Yousif still lives in the times of the defunct regime when public money used to end up in the pockets of the regime supporters.

Please Sheikh Yousif; This money will not go into PM Hamdoak's pocket. Hamdoak will not even feel its smell. The money is going into the Bank of Sudan..The national bank. The bank of the nation.

This word "nation" that brings the people together has a thousand meanings. Every Sudanese sees it from his own perspective. But all of us are now saying: Do or Die!

Whenever one is in the government, patriotism peaks to its highest, the slogans become ones for unity and solidarity..all of us are brothers in a united Sudan etc..and when things change and an era is replaced with another era and we go down from the chairs of power, the sitting ruler becomes the bitter enemy..the daggers come out of their sheaths and the program for putting hurdles in the way of the new government takes off. And the word "national" becomes insignificant, save in the name of the sesame halwa sweet brand "Alwataniyya" (national), sold on the local markets!


On the euphoria surrounding the recent revelations in Cairo of Foreign Minister Ms. Mariam Alsadiq Almahdi, in which she said Sudan's population is not that big and that there is room for more people from the neighboring countries to come and invest in Sudan's agriculture, wrote Editor-in-Chief of the daily Alsayha (The Outcry), Mr. Altahir Satti:

The Minister did not say anything that deserves all this noise. She has done good to remind the Sudanese elite of the country's strategic issues that do not receive due discussion. That is the issue of the country's small population. The count of the Sudanese population is just a number mentioned when politics dictate, not for the purpose of study and analysis. According to estimates of the country's bureau of statistics, Sudanese count less than forty million.

The issue we should bravely counter is that this number is not compatible with the country's area. Despite the cession of Southern Sudan, there is need to raise the population growth rate. The population's growth rate should be doubled and doubled for the country to be able to exploit its resources in a better manner.

Peace and stability are the best vehicles to achieve the objectives of population growth. And after that comes the issue of immigration, which a country like the U.S is reorganizing once in a while. The lottery and asylum are some of these windows. The First World does not open these windows out of love for the Third World. They are opened according to research and studies which indicated that low population growth reflects negatively on the overall livelihoods.

Then the Minister spoke about the limitations of interests and the exchange of benefits with Ethiopia and other countries. These are investments, of course. She has put it plainly that these objectives can be possible after the common borders are demarcated. The message is clear. That is after we re-control all of our territories. After this nothing can stand in the way of cooperation between our country and Ethiopia with respect to investments and the exchange of benefits.

It is sad that our borders with Egypt are not completely exemplary. For the border district of Halaib is still occupied by Egypt. It is the duty of Mariam and her government to settle this issue for our country to enjoy the benefits of good neighborliness with all the countries around us.


Ms. Asma Jum'aa, Editor-in-Chief of the daily newspaper Aldemograti (The Democrat) has tackled the sensitive issue of the launch of the legislative assembly:

The formation of this assembly was a basic demand of the Sudanese masses. But was delayed for reasons, including the achievement of peace. The launch of this assembly is still facing difficulties, the worst of which is power sharing. Even the military component in the Sovereignty Council (the presidency) has its share in this Assembly.

Bushra Alsayim general secretary of the native administration, has revealed that an influential figure in this military component had met some leaders of the native administration to include them in the transitional legislative assembly. It was agreed that the native administration and sufi leading figures be appointed within the military's share in the assembly, regardless of the fact that those leaders were members in the dissolved parliament of the defunct regime.

First: Why doesn't Mr. Alsayim tell us who this influential figure in the military component could be? The question is because we have two influential figures in that Council: Burhan and Dagalo. There is not a third one.

And also why some leaders of the native administration? Where are the rest?

And the question: Why was the military component given a share in the parliament, in principle? There is no law anywhere in the world that permits such a thing. Of course it was the military component that insisted upon having a share. Their aim in this is to render the assembly valueless, just a decoration like that of the defunct regime.

And even the most important question: since the military component did not feel ashamed to have a share in this assembly, why didn't it go straight and appoint military officers like what exists in the Sovereignty Council? This recalls Sudanese the adage: One who dances should not hide his beard!

In general terms, what the military component has done reflects its intentions towards the legislative assembly. It wants the assembly to be a decoration while its real duties are taken by the mostly military government partners council!

In the light of these facts, we warn the military from going too far with this step and stop doing these strange games that do wrong to the Armed Forces.

The masses should not keep silent if the Legislative Assembly should look like that of the defunct regime. The masses should veto this assembly. This is their right!

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