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President Bashir dissolves gov't, declares national emergency

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir has declared a national emergency for one year, and dissolved local and national governments amid widespread demonstrations in Sudan.

“I call on the parliament to delay looking into the constitutional amendments to open the door for enriching the political life through constructive dialogue and candid patriotic initiatives,” Bashir said in a speech late Friday.

The decision comes after two months of protests have rocked Sudan, triggered by a dire economy and rising commodities prices, that have evolved into demands the country’s 75-year-old president step down.

Omer Ismail, senior adviser at the Washington-based Enough Project, said Bashir is imposing a national emergency to enforce martial law, giving the president power to unilaterally make decisions.

“There is no parliament, there is no cabinet. He has all the powers in his hands. He can order the army to be in the streets, the tanks, any unit of the army,” Ismail said. “The security forces have free hands to arrests people, to detain them, to get in their homes, to stop and search anybody at any given time of the day.”

Opposition arrests

On Thursday, the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), an opposition party in Sudan, said security forces arrested Mokhtar al-Khatib, the Communist Party leader; Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi, the deputy head of the Umma Party, and party Secretary-General Sara Nugdallah.

SCP said the move was to prevent planned protests. Activists say at least 56 people have died during the protests, a figure the government challenges.

Speaking Friday to advisers outgoing ministers, according to media reports, Bashir said, “Our country is suffering from a difficult and complicated situation, the most difficult in its history. ...”

“The economic issue needs to be tackled by qualified people and for this I will form a government made of people of quality,” he said, without saying when the new government would be announced, according to a French news agency report.

Sudan diaspora

The Sudanese diaspora has paid close attention to developments in their home country, staging a handful of protests across the United States. A week ago, more than 1,000 members of the diaspora protested in Washington, demanding change in Sudan’s leadership.

“I think this revolution is belonging to the youth,” Virginia-based Sudan activist Remaz Abdelgader said.

“We have waited for 30 years and unfortunately nothing has happened. So this is our future. So we are the ones who are carrying this revolution and we are the ones who are making it our responsibility because this is for our children’s generation, this is for our generation,” she said.

Speaking during a protest at the Sudanese embassy in Washington in January, Sudanese native Rowa Kodi said this round of protests, now the longest since Sudan gained independence in 1956, feels different.

During the protests in Sudan in late 2013, Kodi said, “People used to push us out of their houses, not to welcome us in their houses, but what I see this time in the streets, people are welcoming us.”

“This time in the streets people are giving us water, people are providing food, people even providing first aid. They prepare themselves the night before so that they will be ready for injured people,” Kodi said.

She said there is a strong sense of solidarity among Sudanese that has helped energize demonstrators seeking change.

Comments

0 #1 kabayekka 2019-02-23 13:29
Unfortunately for the African Union, it cannot interfere in the internal affairs of this country.

That is why it is a suspect that the African Union has not matured enough to have an international force that can protect the human rights of the people of Africa.

That is why it looks like the old generations before colonization. Where the continent of Africa had military war lords with their own armies to do as they pleased themselves. And Sudan was very good at that as the history books records.
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0 #2 Akot 2019-02-23 18:09
In short, Sudan's problem that is due to lack of know-how to govern is caused by "local and national governments"?

Then what does self styled life time ruler Bashir do as he is not the cause of widespread demonstrations in a country he believes can only be ruled by him?

If the widespread demonstrations is not Bashir's making but that of local and national governments, then why do his people not want him any more as ruler?

Bashir is not even concerned the people he wants to rule till he drops dead form a huge part of migrants seeking better life in Europe...!
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0 #3 Lakwena 2019-02-26 14:07
In other words, Al Bashir is pioneering the path for the current and new breed of African tin pot dictator like ours herein, Mr. M7 and Gen Kagame.
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