Exclusive: Altaghyeer

In a new development a phenomenon characterized by the rejection of political and executive figures of ministerial posts within president Omer Albashir’s governments has surfaced, which previously wasn’t the case as everybody would join in a frantic race to accept a ministerial assignment in a remote state let alone a sovereign ministry such as the ministry of finance.

“Alfagheeh and Hamdok”

In the government reshuffle last week, the United Nations’ figure and economic expert Ahmed Abdalla Hamdok declined to accept the post of minister of finance despite the official announcement of the cabinet as the swearing in was postponed for a whole day to allow him to manage his arrival to Khartoum from Addis Ababa where he holds a prestigious post with the United Nations.

A number of potential candidates rejected the posts hours after announcing their names in the new cabinet including state minister at the ministry of finance Naji Shareef and minister of welfare and social assurance Sumaya Abukashawa.

Other figures declined to accept top posts within previous governments, as the case with Alsadig Alfagheeh, who was nominated for the post of state minister at the ministry of information, as well as the current justice minister Ali Salim who initially declined when nominated for the past government, but changed his stance and accepted the post under pressure according to information acquired by Altaghyeer during the preparation of the present report.

“A stigma”

Altaghyeer communicated with one of those who rejected a ministerial post and asked him why he refused to join the new cabinet and he answered that joining the government would be “a stigma” staining his political history and career.

And he added after requesting anonymity “a number of influential officials contacted me, as well as some friends and businessmen, all asking to join the government as I was told it will be a technocratic government with certain national goals, so I accepted in principle”. As he spoke through the phone, he went on to add “eventually I found out that, contrary to what had been advanced, the government would a technocratic one, and its bears no difference than the previous Inghaz governments, in fact it is regarded a polished version of Albashir’s governments, so I preferred walking away and conveyed my stance to those who contacted me because I will be ashamed of myself if became part of this farce”.

“Rejection from Islamists”

The phenomenon of rejection was not limited to figures outside the framework of Islamists, in fact top influential figures within the regime refused to accept high profile government posts after the official announcement of the cabinet, which could be viewed as a challenge to the party decisions and instructions. For instance the party deputy leader in Khartoum state Mohamed Hatim Salman rejected the post of governor to West Kordofan state, a similar position was taken by another top leader in the same party and ex-foreign affairs minister Ali Kurti when he declined to accept the post of governor to Red Sea state.

Journalist Mohamed Latif, one of the president’s confidants, believes that there are intersections within the process of decision making in the ruling party. And he wrote in an article in Alyom Altali newspaper that there are certain groups –without naming them specifically- in the ruling party working to undermine the president’s intentions, indicating the case of Khartoum’s governor dismissal of all governors despite his excellent performance according to reports made to the president.

“Economic collapse”

Albashir came to power through a military coup in 1989. And since then remained president via the grip of the military and security institutions aided by the Islamist organization in Sudan, and all agreements with armed and political opposition failed in achieving a democratic transition, among them the best-known comprehensive peace agreement signed between Albashir’s government and Sudan people’s liberation movement in January 5th 2005 which led to the independence of South Sudan.

Political compromises continued as a result of Albashir’s control over power, the latest being a government called “national reconciliation” which led to the so-called national dialogue which in turn was boycotted by the major opposition parties.

The country entered into a crushing economic crisis that manifested itself in an unprecedented spike in commodities’ prices accompanied by a continued collapse of the national currency as one US dollar became equivalent to 45 Sudanese pounds, and inflation hit a record high to become the third highest record after Venezuela and South Sudan as it stood at 67% in September.

Political thought professor at University of Khartoum Ibrahim Altigani says that there is a deep certainty held by some politicians that the regime is on its way to collapse. And he basically attributed the refusal of some figures to join the cabinet to their anticipation of inherent predicaments within the government “some think that the current government will collapse at any moment due to the economic crisis, while others believe they won’t have the capacity to influence decision making and will become puppets to Albashir and won’t be able to carry out their ideas and suggestions”.