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Thursday, 26 November 2020

Sudanese cabinet shakeup downplayed by activists

New cabinet will only be in place for a few months, say sources

Ahmed Eleiba in Khartoum, Monday 9 Dec 2013
Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir arrives at the airport in the capital Khartoum, March 23, 2009 (Photo: Reuters)
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A cabinet reshuffle in Khartoum on Sunday saw the replacement of several key figures, although the new government will reportedly only be in place for a matter of months.

The reshuffle saw the departure Ali Osman Taha, Sudan's first vice president, as well as advisor to the president, Nafie Ali Nafie. Taha lost his post to the president's close confidante and minister of presidential affairs, General Bakri Hassan, while senior member of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) Ibrahim Ghandour won the post of advisor.

Only three ministers retained their portfolios in the shakeup.

Many suspect that the changes were made against a backdrop of internal party disputes. Taha's ouster has convinced many observers that some sort of discord with President Omar Al-Bashir took place, although Bashir stressed the opposite at a Khartoum rally attended by Ahram Online.

The same sentiment was echoed by Nafie, who confirmed that Taha was a maverick and had regularly nominated himself to step down. He denied that the heavyweight figures had made a permanent exit, calling the current period a "hiatus." 

A high-level NCP source who was witness to the events of the last three days told Ahram Online that the current cabinet is only temporary and will be replaced by another transitional cabinet in the next few months. This government will be tasked with writing the constitution and working on the parliamentary and presidential polls, which start in 2014 and will be spaced a year apart.  

Commenting on the shakeup, a political analyst in Khartoum said that the president had bowed down in favour of the army by making away with the Islamist movement affiliated with his own party. This follows the recent breakaway of Ghazi Salahuddin Atabani from the NCP to form his own party, Reform.

Similarly, many youth activists lack confidence in the current government.  

"This government does not reflect the street, nor does parliament. I suspect there won't be any one person who will express the will of masses who demand comprehensive change and not just a change of faces," a youth activist, who asked to remain anonymous, told Ahram Online.

Fatima Ghazali, a Sudanese political activist, says that the recent changes might cause an explosion on the Sudanese street. "We were looking forward to a national transitional government that would be tasked with drafting a constitution espousing free and fair elections, and that would take it upon itself to end the military strife in Darfur and southern Kordofan and the ongoing political strife in the country," she said.


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