June 19, 2013, (KHARTOUM) – The Youth section of the National Umma Party (NUP) issued a statement today announcing that protests are planned for June 29 in al-Khalifa square in Sudan’s twin capital of Omdurman.
FILE – Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir smiles (L) as the leader of National Umma Party and former prime minister al-Sadiq al-Mahdi (REUTERS /Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
According to the statement, the “soft attitudes” toward the government “are no longer viable in the face of the system that became addicted to walking on the risks and crises”.
“There is no choice but confrontation whatever the price is…. there is no higher cost than the cost of the regime continuing [in power]” the press release read in part.
It vowed that the protestors will not return home that day until the regime has fallen.
The language of the statement however, indicates that the demonstrations planned does not have the backing of the NUP leadership and in particular the party’s chief al-Sadiq al-Mahdi.
Al-Mahdi has expressed lack of interest in schemes aimed at ousting the government led by the National Congress Party (NCP) saying rather that he wants to reform it to prevent a state breakdown.
The former Prime Minister also publicly distanced himself at a press conference last week from the National Consensus Forces (NCF) recent announcement of a 100-day plan to bring down the regime.
At the said press conference NUP’s representative at the NCF, Abdel-Galil Al-Basha passed a note to Al-Mahdi, saying that he had participated in all stages of preparation for the 100-day plan.
However, al-Mahdi ignored the note, saying instead that the initiative was aimed at mobilizing, not overthrowing the regime.
His position angered his peers at the NCF who have long grown suspicious of the al-Mahdi’s stances regarding the government.
Al-Mahdi also announced a new “Charter for Change” that NUP would seek to implement as soon as possible. It is comprised of collecting a million signatures that would later develop into mass sit-ins and protests.
An official in the NUP politburo who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the demonstrations would take place 3 weeks after al-Mahdi’s announcement.
Critics assert that al-Mahdi has no intention or interest in seeing the NCP regime go particularly as his son is currently an assistant to president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.
Some within the NUP politburo privately say that they believe al-Mahdi has forged a secret deal with the NCP in which he agreed to block any efforts in the direction of regime change.
Last week Sudan’s presidential assistant and NCP vice chairman Nafie Ali Nafie praised the NUP and al-Mahdi for “washing his hands” from the opposition and the armed rebel groups.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article47013
June 19, 2013, (JUBA) – South Sudan may arrest and prosecute the two suspended federal ministers charged with requesting and wiring funds without the knowledge of the presidency and other relevant institutions, according to a cabinet minister close to president Salva Kiir.
South-Sudanese president Salva Kiir (SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)
On Tuesday Kiir suspended and lifted the immunity of Cabinet Affairs Minister Deng Alor Kuol along with the Finance and Economic Planning Minister Kosti Manibe Ngai for an incident that involves disbursing funds totaling $7,959,400 to Daffy Investments Group Limited which is a private foreign company whose top executive reportedly is related to some officials in Juba.
The presidential order, copy of which was extended to Sudan Tribune, establishes a five-member investigation committee, under the chairperson of anti-corruption commission, Justice John Gatwich Lul, to scrutinize the necessity and legality of the contract endorsed by Alor and Manibe as well as finding out the current whereabouts of the money.
Reacting to the unusual development, a cabinet minister close to the president said he believes the two ministers would be removed from their posts and tried in court if the probe finds sufficient evidence against them.
“They will definitely be dismissed from their positions and prosecuted if the investigation finds that they made the request and transfer without the knowledge of the president and the council of ministers”, a minister told Sudan Tribune under the cover of anonymity at the council of ministers premises.
The two ministers, according to the source, “foolishly” made the decision “in pursuit of personal interest” without involving relevant institutions.
“They did not involve the ministry of justice which is the legal institution which examines legality of the government contracts. They foolishly approved the request in pursuit of personal interest”, said the source.
The source dismissed fears that the president would hesitate in firing them, given their seniority in the government and in the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) from which they hold membership at the 27-member political bureau, the highest organ in the structure of the ruling party.
Similarly, sources at the ministry of finance and economic planning claimed that Manibe awarded a contract to the company for gratification.
“This is not the first time. The minister [Manibe] has always wanted to have all the contracts of supply for things negotiated by him alone without involving the government. At one time he said that he had direct access to chief executive of this company that wanted to help in revamping the structure of the ministry. He was saying it was him who was giving them contracts so they should show appreciation when he [Manibe] was the minister of cabinet affairs,” said the source.
He further claimed most of the officials at the ministry know that Manibe was related to the company’s CEO so it was possible he used his status to transfer the money to his behalf.
“There is evidence that he solicited for gratification from one company where he was supposed to get 40% from the contract. He is actually the shareholder. He also asked for gratification from a company he wanted to help put up the electricity for independence celebration”, a source at the ministry of finance claimed in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.
Sources said that they were satisfied the evidence was overwhelming enough to warrant an arrest against Manibe, who when contacted for comment, initially responded: “I am not making any comment at the moment. I am reflecting on what’s happening, what I am about to receive”.
When phoned again over the revelations by some officials at the ministry that he received gratifications from the company, he answered: “No, nothing! That [solicitation] has never happened; not at all”.
Another source at the presidency said Kiir issued the orders to safeguard the national interest and that he believes the two ministers probably received their letters of suspension by now.
“They must have received the suspension letters. The letters went through the system. By this morning the official message must have gone out to them and they are expected to cooperate with the investigation committee the moment it starts its work after taking oath of office, the source told Sudan Tribune also Wednesday.
Meanwhile Deng Alor Kuol said it would be “inappropriate” to comment before the investigation committee completes its findings. However he claimed “some people were trying to bring him down for no apparent reason”.
“I think it will be inappropriate to make any comment now before the committee completes its findings. I know the public wants to know what happened but I think it is better they wait”, Alor told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday without giving additional information.
One of his aides claimed the money has already been returned, stressing that the minister had informed the president about the need for fire safety equipment to protect key government institutions with valuable information including the office of the president.
“It is not true that the president was not informed. The minister was acting on the resolution of the council of ministers which approved the purchase of fire safety equipment last year. You know that there was an incident of fire at the presidential palace and at the SPLM national secretariat”, he said.
ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL SCANDALS
Highly placed sources at the ministry of finance claimed misappropriation of additional funds by the suspended minister of finance, Kosti Manibe.
“I think it is the God who gave the president this courage. I say so because a lot of things have happened and nothing was done. No action was taken even for those we have expected the president to have reacted like the payment of 40 million South Sudan Pounds to the people who claimed to have delivered grains.”
These claims are part of the dura saga which the government had suspended payment until the result of the investigation by the ministry of justice proves that they actually delivered the grains, he further said.
He alleged that Manibe paid himself a sum of 440,000 SSP to acquire household furniture, generating commotion in the ministry and subsequently prompted internal reshuffle.
“Sincerely speaking, the recent changes in the ministry were an attempt to cover the embezzlement of 8 million US dollars which was transferred into a private bank account in Nairobi. The person withdrew 1 million dollars in just one day after receiving the money and requested to take the balance of $ 7 million in the second day. This raised suspicions from the Kenyan government which notified the central bank where the discussion went to the higher level until the money was eventually returned”, he explained.
South Sudan has been struggling to set up functioning state institutions since gaining independence from Khartoum in July 2011 under a peace deal that ended the civil war.
The government is largely made up of former rebel commanders who dislike scrutiny and have little experience of economic management. Financial oversight is weak.
Samuel Dhong, secretary-general of the South Sudan Law Society, which promotes the rule of law, welcomed the suspensions but said it remained to be seen whether the men would be charged.
“We have experienced this kind of action, but the problem is that they don’t reach a logical conclusion at the end of the day,” he told Reuters.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article47010
By Monim El-Jak
June 19, 2013 – Whenever Alex de Waal publishes analysis or reflections, Sudanese intellectuals and activists, and the concerned international institutions and individuals, give it priority attention. The last week of April and first week of May 2013 were for me remarkable weeks, watching de Waal coming with two articles, re-positioning himself as an advocate for “principled” activism and presenting his belief in democratization as the central pillar for resolving Sudan’s multi-layered and multi-dimensional crises. The articles, “Reclaiming Activism” and “Flawed Politicians, Flawed Peace” are writings that signal, as I see it, the rebirth of de Waal’s old “identity”, the activist, who devotes his efforts, in his own words, in “solidarity with suffering and oppressed people.”
What sparked my attention after reading the two articles was the voice of de Waal beneath the text expressing genuine compassion to the Sudan(ese) people and towards their stability and welfare. But at same time, he sounds reluctant to acknowledge some of his shortcomings or failures as an expert during his long engagement in Sudanese politics. I therefore find myself between two feelings or positions in receiving de Waal writings: the first, is to celebrate what I call the rebirth of de Waal, the principled activist, after the abandonment of this identity for about seven/eight years as he notes his first article as he returns to advocate for a holistic national approach to Sudan’s multiple crises, with democratization at the centre, supported by the three activism/advocacy principles that he outlines.
My second feeling or position upon interaction with de Waal’s recent writings is one of questioning. In the context of my personal (in)direct engagement in the same public issues that de Waal has been part of over the years, in addition to reading his intellectual products, I am forced ask: why de Waal is only now debating activism and the fate of Sudan? Is de Waal trying to offer a self-critique, albeit an unexpressed one, about his own engagement on Sudan’s issues over the last seven-eight years?
One major feature in the two pieces is de Waal’s reflection on a ‘wall of failures’ as he reviews his historic ‘principled’ positions across the fields of activism and Sudanese politics. In de Waal’s review of John Young’s book, The Fate of Sudan: The Origins and Consequences of a Flawed Peace Process, he describes the failure of “the inclusive approach championed by Justice Africa, and myself [de Waal], more than a decade ago, to resolve Sudan’s conflicts and engineer a democratic transformation.” This repositioning of himself also comes through in “Reclaiming Activism” when de Waal justifies his withdrawal from the “activist” tribe by saying that “about seven or eight years ago, I became rather uncomfortable with the word [activist]… because a group of people, in whose company I didn’t want to be, were claiming not only to be activists but to define ‘activism’ itself.”
The way I see de Waal presenting histories/events and his own engagement, in particular, make them more than just narratives. It is true that de Waal had tried to lead bright and principled initiatives seven-eight years ago as he said, and these principled efforts are still needed today because of the depth to which Sudan’s crises have reached. But I cannot easily accept the way in which connections are made in the two articles between de Waal’s principled positions of the past (seven-eight year) and of the now. My concern here is not to question the physical whereabouts of de Waal since he became “uncomfortable” with the activist identity. His roles in political negotiations on Sudan’s peacemaking processes are known. My question here is how will be possible to understand (and other “principled” Sudanese activists and victims of atrocities say “forgive”) the role de Waal’s played since he left “activism” in a series of political/“peacemaking” processes which have only deepened Sudan’s ongoing dilemmas, and to accept him now as an advocate for “principled” issues, including his ‘”personal commitment to working in solidarity with suffering and oppressed people.” Between the two narratives is there any self-critique?
In “Reclaiming Activism” Alex de Waal points to what he calls the “arrogation” of “activism” by “designer activists” reflecting on the result as offensive, demeaning and counter-productive, and which has dominated and undermined the space for ‘principled’ activism. While I fully agree and rally with Alex’s three principles of activism as presented in his article, I also fully disagree with the way that he implicitly portrays the period of his voluntary disappearance, jointing “peace platforms,” as untrue activism era. My disagreement indeed goes further to be suspecting about de Waal’s interests of recent writings, and whether it can really be seen as “the rebirth of the principled activist”? Or just laying the ground for a new political soft-landing for new failed initiatives and engagement?
I recall the engagement that was guided by the “principled activism” of de Waal before he abandoned “us” (both Sudanese and international) seven/eight years ago. We have been continuing this work up to now, thousands of principled activists, such as those working with Enough Project, Darfur Consortium, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, and individuals such as Desmond Tutu, George Clooney, Wangari Maathai, Eric Reeves, etc. During this journey I have never seen what Alex describes as “consensus among national civil society activists viewing our regional and international partners/allies presenting narratives and prescriptions that are simplified, simplistic and pernicious.”
My disagreement with de Waal indeed goes more, coming from both my participant and observer identities, to suggest that de Waal has not been faithful to his own principles. As a result many Sudanese democrats and independent activists do not have much faith in the narrative of de the Waal Project, as it pushes false judgments into our mouths particularly with respect to our longstanding and principled relationships with regional and international activists. For example, in his unjustified enough anger against the Enough Project, de Waal tries to de-validate the views of activists such as Alhaj Warrag, noting that he is “intrigued and concerned” about his confidence in Enough’s capacity to “represent” him. Is de Waal himself organic to his three “principles” which guide an individual or organization aspiring to the honorable term activist? The answer to this I think can be found in an uncovering of choices/interests that de Waal, the public figure not the person, has made over the seven/eight years since abandoning his own activist identity.
I would like to try to trace some of the highlights of these years in order to unveil other identities and tags that de Waal has chosen to wear, which in my opinion are reasons for him to leave (un) principled activism.
In September 2004, Justice Africa, headed by Alex de Waal, was involved in the birth a courageous initiative aimed at making visible the humanitarian and human rights suffering in Darfur, the Darfur Consortium. The Consortium was composed of a diverse group of sub-Sahara African NGOs, Africa-focused international NGOs, Sudanese NGOs and civil society in addition to NGOs from the Arab region, created before Enough Project and Save Darfur. Suddenly de Waal and his Justice Africa team have disappeared from the platform and tried to erase any relationship they have with the consortium. The Darfur Consortium (now transformed as the Sudan Consortium) made notable breakthroughs on justice.
The author is Sudanese activist he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article47015