Monthly Archives: November 2011
By Abdelkhalig Shaib
November 29, 2011 — Few weeks ago, the British Ambassador in Sudan wrote in his blog an article entitled “Celebrating World Food Day in Sudan?” The Ambassador attempted to link the resentment towards food inflation with the protests that Khartoum witnessed in the last two months. Subsequently, Sudan’s foreign ministry summoned the Ambassador and stated that some of the figures he listed were not accurate and that he should be careful in what he writes in the future.
The Ambassador has stated so many things in his article, and his analysis of the economic situation is not a secret. To the contrary, his observations are well known to most of the Sudanese who are struggling to secure their daily and basic needs. But, why is it a big deal to criticize the economic situation in Sudan? This might be attributable to the capacity in which the Ambassador expressed his views. For me, the article seemed to be from a British Citizen who lives in Khartoum in his personal capacity and not in his capacity as an Ambassador.
It makes no difference whether Nicholas Kay in his personal or official capacity criticizes the economy and the way Sudan’s government handles certain political challenges. What he wrote is a mere fact. One could understand why the government fears such comments. Protests have taken place in different peripheral areas around the capital, for reasons other than the political situation, the constitution and power sharing. This time’s protests are for securing drinking water and reducing prices of necessary food commodities.
A few days tour in Khartoum would help to see how it is detached from the conflict that recently erupted in South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. Khartoum is also isolated from Darfur and the complexity of its situation after the secession. The local media only conveys the government version of events while other dark sides of the conflict remain mysterious.
No one seems to comprehend that the secession of the South of Sudan has serious repercussions on the North of Sudan. The government has had enough oil revenues during the five years interim period that preceded the secession as provided for under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. These revenues were mainly spent on security forces when other vital sectors were increasingly marginalized. Accordingly, adopting an austerity plan in Sudan without addressing the root causes of the problem would not help; it would rather exacerbate the issue. The government is simplifying both, the economic and political challenges after the secession. To overcome these challenges, some sort of thoughtful approach has to be taken. The adverse economic effects of the secession could only be mitigated if there is a political stability in the country. This entails, of course, political accommodation and full realization of the requirements of Sudan’s historic transitional phase.
Unfortunately, the deliberate news blackout policy is no longer viable and effective when it comes to the prices of food. It is true that Sudan’s capital city is isolated, along with its people, from other parts of Sudan. But Sudan itself still has to interact with its surroundings. The Arab spring that swept through the Middle East and Africa has to visit Sudan at some point. Every single Sudanese would welcome it and host it except those who still think that tyranny, dictatorship, corruption, poverty, hunger and unemployment could do anything other than fueling a wounded nation and encourage it to revolt.
The author is a human rights activist and visiting researcher at Harvard Law School
November 29, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – An Arab businessman has castigated the Sudanese government for its failure to create a transparent environment for investment, few days after Khartoum decided to eliminate its investment ministry under intense pressure from the parliament.
© Sudanese Petroleum Corporation www.spc.sd
According to Salih Abdullah Al-Kamil, a Saudi investor who heads the Union of Islamic Commerce Chambers, the Sudanese government’s “repulsive” investment policy is to blame for the departure of foreign investors from the country.
Al-Kamil, who was speaking during the conference of Arab food security held in Khartoum on Tuesday in the presence of Sudan’s Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, said that the government’s adoption of “erroneous and erratic” plans coupled with its “fluctuating monetary, political and economic policies” has repelled foreign investors.
He further accused the government of lacking transparency in its investment policy, saying that the investment sector suffers from a host of problems represented in the absence of basic legal regulations and violation of contracts.
The businessman expressed regret at the fact that the Sudanese government treats taxation as a way to fill its coffers and cover deficits in its budget.
He went on to advise the government that providing an attractive environment and laws is not enough, calling on Khartoum to adopt a holistic approach by introducing extensive reforms into the laws and policies organizing investment.
In response to the criticism, Sudan’s vice-president Taha admitted the absence of investment policies in his country, adding that his government was determined to review the investment law as well as other laws related to it, including the lands law which he said the government already began to review in demonstration of its seriousness in attracting investors.
The Sudanese government this week declared its intention to drop the investment ministry in its next cabinet and decided to devolve its duties to the presidency of the republic in a move intended to assuage pressure from the national parliament.
A number of parliamentarians last week lashed out at the government’s investment policy, citing allegations of corruption and nepotism which they said drove foreign investors away.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/Sudan-criticized-for-repulsive,40863
November 29, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — UNAMID chief, Ibrahim Gambari once again called on regional and international partners of Darfur peace process to put more pressures on the rebel groups to in order to join negotiating table and dissuade them from escalating violence in the western Sudan.
Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) signed a framework document to achieve peace in Darfur last July. One of the three historical groups, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) who did not sign the deal was part in the forum. But the two others, Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW) and that of Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM), were not associated to the process.
Since his appointment as Joint Chief Mediator ad interim, Gambari believes that rebel groups should stop violence and give peace a chance, as he also repeats that the outcome of the Doha process lays down a good ground for peace in Darfur. He furthermore says concerned by the recent alliance between Darfur rebels and those in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
In a briefing to the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) on Monday at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Gambari warned that the renewal of violence in Darfur would damage the progress made since the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).
“It is doubly important that the African Union and the international community stress in words and actions their opposition to the military means chosen to advance political objectives,” he emphasized after mentioning the recent statements by the rebel groups on their determination to topple the regime.
Since the signing of the Doha document, the region witnesses a relative calm, at least no notable clashes between the government and the rebel groups. While the government said preparing to a national government before to launch the regional authority and hold a dialogue process in the region.
During a meeting with international envoys for Sudan in El-Geniena last October, Gambari went to suggest international sanctions against the non-signatory rebels. Nonetheless, the diplomats only condemned the “continued belligerent postures” taken by the three rebel groups, and urged them to consider a negotiated solution.
The non-signatory rebel groups are facing international pressures to negotiate with the government but for the time being there is no peace process proposed for the Sudanese parties. Khartoum also says the only option for the rebels is to join the DDPD.
The head of the UN peacekeeping department, Hervé Ladsous, told the UN Security Council last month they are preparing a new road map for peace in Darfur. He also said the findings of a workshop on Darfur held ten two week ago in Washington would contribute to define it.
During a meeting held Tuesday with the head of Darfur regional authority Tijani el-Sissii in Khartoum US Charge d’affaires Ambassador Mary Yates reiterated the US rejection of any tendency to overthrow the regime through violence, reported the LJM website.
Sissi also met with the French Ambassador Patrick Nicoloso who reaffirmed Paris support to the Doha peace document. He also pledged that France would seek to convince the rebel groups to join the negotiating table.
Members of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union said more attention should be paid to recovery and development projects to provide the peace dividends to Darfur people. They also stressed on the need to reengage negotiations between the government and the rebel groups.