Dr. Lam asks Kiir’s support on Jonglei state governor race

Leader of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) and Secretary-General of South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin is asking for appointment of his nominee as governor of Jonglei state (Photo credit: via Radio Tamazuj)

Leader of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) and Secretary-General of South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin is asking for the appointment of his nominee as governor of Jonglei state (Photo credit: via Radio Tamazuj)

JUBA – Opposition leader Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin has appealed to President Salva Kiir to support his nominee for Jonglei state governor, days after welcoming a Kiir-Machar consensus that ended a four-month-old deadlock on states allocation between the parties to the revitalized peace agreement.

There are rumors that President Salva Kiir is working to appoint the state governors this week, although a senior opposition has said today that the parties were in a deadlock over when that action should be taken.

Kiir and Machar met at the statehouse J1 on Wednesday last week and reached a consensus on how to resolve the deadlock on the states allocation which has been on for a duration of four months, and which has been blamed by peace sponsors for the surge in ethnic violence at local levels.

The Kiir-Machar consensus provided for the allocation of six states to the SPLM-IG. These are the states of Warrap, Unity, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Eastern Equatoria, Lakes, and Central Equatoria.

The SPLM-IO was given three states which are Western Equatoria, Western Bahr el Ghazal, and oil-rich Upper Nile state. The South Sudan Opposition Alliance was given the Jonglei state which it initially rejected, but accept after pressure mounted on them from the two principals of the agreement.

Letter from Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin to President Salva Kiir asking him to support his nominee for Jonglei state (File credit: NDM)

Letter from Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin to President Salva Kiir asking him to support his nominee for Jonglei state (File credit: NDM)

Following the announcement of the deal by South Sudan’s presidential minister Nhial Deng Nhial, Dr. Lam’s group along with another party within the Alliance welcomed the decision by the two men to allocate to them Jonglei state and immediately nominated its secretary-general for the position of the Jonglei state governor.

In a letter on Thursday, Dr. Lam asked Kiir’s support on the matter and appoint his nominee as Jonglei state governor because – according to him – it is the last chance for the group to serve as part of its contribution in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.

“Pursuant to the agreement reached on the 17th instant regarding the allocation of the Governors of States to Parties to the R-ARCSS, we in SSOA have started the process of choosing our candidate for the position of the Governor of Jonglei State,” Dr. Lam said in the letter dated June 25, and addressed to Kiir.

“The selection procedure [for Jonglei state governor] has always been for the interested constituent organizations to make their nominations, seconded by another and the Leadership Council chooses the one with more votes in the Council or if there was only one candidate then he/she wins unopposed,” he added.

He said his group has nominated its Secretary-General, Mr. Mahjuob Biel Turuk, to the position of Jonglei state governor adding that the “nomination was seconded by the SSLM.”

“To date, no other nominations were made. Therefore, SSOA LC should have adopted him as the nominee of SSOA to the position. However, some organizations within SSOA are reluctant to hold a meeting for that purpose for reasons best known to them.

“As time is ticking, we are obliged to present our nomination [for Jonglei state governor] directly to your Excellency hoping that he gets the appointment.”

Sudan sides with Egypt on Ethiopian mega-dam dispute   

Photo: Ethiopia's GERD being build on Sudan Ethiopian border

Photo: Ethiopia’s GERD being build on Sudan Ethiopian border

KHARTOUM – Sudan has urged the United Nations Security Council to encourage all parties with a stake in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to “refrain from any unilateral measures” that could affect regional and international peace and security.

In a letter to the Security Council on Tuesday quoted by the Cairo-based al-Ahram, Khartoum’s Foreign Minister Asma Abdalla explained Sudan’s position on the ongoing developments related to the dam, including an initiative adopted by Sudan to resume negotiations on the disputed dam with Egypt and Ethiopia.

Sudan asked the Security Council to support its efforts to resume talks in good faith to reach a comprehensive agreement between all parties.

The letter stressed Khartoum’s principled decision on “negotiating in good faith,” to which it has committed during negotiations given its belief in the importance of a solid foundation for cooperation between the three countries.

The letter listed some of the potential positive impacts of the mega-dam on Sudan, including the regulation of the flow of the Blue Nile, which would reduce annual floods during rainy seasons and enable the country to better manage its irrigation system.

The dam will also increase the power generation from existing hydropower plants, and will increase the navigation depth of the Blue Nile, the letter added.

On the other hand, listing the negative impacts of the dam, Sudan said that the GERD would completely change the flow of the Blue Nile by flattening its hydrograph.

“With this gigantic size, the GERD risks causing significant negative impacts to Sudan if not properly designed, constructed, filled and operated,” reads the letter.

“These impacts range from threatening the lives and safety of millions of Sudanese citizens living directly downstream from the GERD, to the operational safety of the Sudanese dams, to the flood-plain agricultural system of the country, and the socioeconomic and environmental impacts along the Blue Nile downstream from the main Nile River, all the way up to the border with Egypt,” the letter added.

“For the positive impacts to be realised and for the negative impacts to be mitigated there has to be an agreement in place with Ethiopia on how to fill and operate the GERD, otherwise the GERD stands to cause substantial risk to Sudan,” Khartoum said.

In the letter Sudan also requested the Security Council encourage all parties to refrain from taking unilateral actions such as filling the dam’s reservoir without reaching a comprehensive agreement. It also asked the Security Council to encourage the avoidance of any action which jeopardises “regional and international peace and security.”

It also asks the UN council to support Sudan’s efforts and call upon all the parties to resume immediate negotiations in good faith with “the objective of resolving the pending issues and concluding a final comprehensive agreement.”

Sudan’s government also affirmed its commitment to the rules of international law stipulated in the UN’s Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses.

The rules mainly cover the equitable and reasonable use of watercourses and the obligation not to cause significant harm to other watercourses, and the settlement of disputes by peaceful means.

Khartoum’s letter a comes few weeks after Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed to resume technical discussions on the mega-dam.

The tripartite negotiations reached a deadlock in February after Ethiopia skipped a final round of talks in Washington, leading to a diplomatic war of words between Cairo and Addis Ababa.

On 1 May, Egypt sent a memo to the Security Council blaming Ethiopia for trying to establish a deal without taking the interests of downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, into consideration.

Egypt rejected, along with Sudan, an Ethiopian proposal put forth last month amid the ongoing discord, wherein Addis Ababa proposed a “partial agreement” that would only cover the first stage of the filling.

Addis Ababa told the Security Council in May in a letter sent in response to the Egyptian memo that it “does not have a legal obligation to seek the approval of Egypt to fill the dam.”

Egypt has said it is ready for a revival of talks but stressed the importance of “serious and constructive” talks between the three countries’ irrigation ministers to contribute to a fair, balanced and comprehensive agreement that would preserve Egypt’s water rights and the interests of both Sudan and Ethiopia.

Some 85 percent of the Nile water that reaches Egypt flows from the Ethiopian highlands, mainly from the Blue Nile.

Egypt receives 55.5 billion cubic metres of water from the Nile annually, but requires over 80 billion cubic metres to cover its needs.

Sudan, Ethiopia say Kiir and Machar have 1 week to end states deadlock

Photo: Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar Teny

Photo: Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar Teny

JUBA – The governments of Ethiopia and Sudan have given South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit and main armed opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny one week to resolve the impasse on the states or risk “strong measures.”

Kiir and Machar have been trying to divide up the states since the formation of the revitalized unity government but could not reach a consensus as which state goes to who resulted in deadlock.

Speaking to Sudans Post this evening, a senior government official said diplomats from the Embassies of Sudan and Ethiopia delivered on Monday letters from Abdalla Hamdok and Abiy Ahmed, the prime ministers of Sudan and Ethiopia respectively, to the ministry of foreign Affairs.

The letters, the official said, “urged president Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to resolve the matter within one week or else the two governments will have something to say, maybe strong measures against us.”

“This is what we have been told but the leaders are working to resolve the matter. This is an internal issue. We are no longer enemies, but brothers who seek to end their differences in a peaceful manner and that peaceful manner cannot be imposed by an external threats.”

Sudanese banks overcrowd as banks briefly reopen for only 3 days

Photo: Sudanese banks users seen lining up in queue

Photo: Sudanese banks users seen lining up in queue

KHARTOUM — During the past three days, Sudanese banks in Khartoum and a number of state capitals witnessed severe overcrowding.

Following the Central Bank of Sudan’s decision to re-open the banks for three days ending on Thursday because of the Eid El Fitir, the feast marking the end of Ramadan, this weekend.

Customers crowded the Sudanese banks since the early morning hours, activists reported.

Bankers attributed the overcrowding to the Eid El Fitir and the payment of the salary increases of April and the salaries of May. Yet, the main cause is the daily cash withdrawal ceiling from ATMs that was reduced to SDG 2,000.

The activists warned against the crowding in the Sudanese banks and customers not taking into account the social distancing because of Covid-19.

The banks should regularly feed the ATMs, they said. The Central Bank of Sudan should return the daily withdrawal ceiling to SDG 5,000.

Earlier this month, the daily withdrawal maximum of SDG 5,000 was reduced to SDG 2,000. This led to long queues in front of ATMs, government employees in Omdurman told Radio Dabanga on Tuesday.

USD 1 = SDG 55.1375 at the time of publishing this article. As effective foreign exchange rates can vary in Sudan, Radio Dabanga bases all SDG currency conversions on the daily middle US Dollar rate quoted by the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS).

Ahmed Haroun tests positive for COVID-19 as cases become alarming

File: Former Sudanese Governor of Southern Kordofan state and ex-National Congress Party (NCP) Ahmed Haroun

File: Former Sudanese Governor of Southern Kordofan state and ex-National Congress Party (NCP) Ahmed Haroun

KHARTOUM — Ahmed Haroun, a former Sudanese official wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on war crime charges has tested positive for coronavirus, said the Sudanese government on Monday.

The former South Kordofan state governor and former head of the National Congress Party (NCP) of the ousted President Omer al-Bashir has been under arrest since the collapse of the former regime.

Ahmed Haroun is one of several former Sudanese officials including al-Bashir who are indicted by the ICC for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

In a statement on Monday, the Ministry of Interior said that his first on 21 April was negative, but the second and third tests were positive.

The patient was isolated in the hospital and later on transferred to an isolation site where he receives healthcare

He “will be returned to Copper Prison after the improvement of his (Ahmed Harou) health condition,” further stressed the statement.

Ahmed Haroun has been transferred to Universal Hospital in Khartoum North as it is one of hospital prepared with a section for COVID-19 patients.

In a related development, Sudan’s Attorney General Taj Elsir Alhiber said that the transfer of the detained figures of the former regime from the prison to isolation centres depends on the security and medical conditions and requirements.

Unconfirmed reports were saying that al-Bashir and other detainees have been placed at an isolation facility after the confirmation of Haroun’s infection.

Al-Bashir’s supporters warned against protests over lockdown

File: Former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir

KHARTOUM – The Sudanese government Saturday has warned supporters of the former regime against protests and gatherings that could help the spread of coronavirus.

Supporters of the ousted Omer al-Bashir launched calls for a protest in Darfur on Sunday despite the lockdown imposed by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A statement issued by the Council of Ministers said they receive reports saying that a political group affiliated with the former regime plans to hold rallies on Sunday morning.

“The government declared the state of health emergency, ordered a curfew (….) and banned gatherings for any reason. So, it intends to strictly implement (these restrictions).”

“Instructions were issued to all security and law enforcement agencies to deal strictly and decisively with everyone who violates these orders,” further said the statement.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Sudan rose by 59 to 592 cases, said the Sudanese Ministry of Health Saturday.

Last Thursday, the Sudanese authorities arrested 23 relatives of some detained leading members of the former regime who protested calling for their release and after claiming that one of them – Ahmed Haroun – was infected by the coronavirus in prison.

On Saturday night, security forces have been deployed outside the army headquarters and all the street leading to it were closed.

Also, the ministry of interior issued a statement warning that the security forces will not allow any gathering in violation of the imposed social-distancing measures.

Sudan imposes total lockdown on capital as COVID-19 cases soar

Photo: An Areal view of Khartoum, the capital of Sudan [Photo via Getty Images]

Photo: An Areal view of Khartoum, the capital of Sudan [Photo via Getty Images]

KHARTOUM – After a steep jump in confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, Sudan’s transitional government has imposed a nationwide lockdown to try to stop the spread of virus.

Health officials blame the rising number of confirmed cases on citizens who refuse to follow preventative directives issued by authorities. Sudan’s High-Level Task Force for COVID-19 now says anyone who violates the directives will be punished.

In the past 24 hours, the government reported 67 new cases, raising the total to 442 confirmed cases, according to Professor Sadiq Tawor, a member of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, who leads the task force.

Tawor says the death toll stands at 31 after three more people died Thursday. Thirty-nine patients have fully recovered.  Thirteen of Sudan’s 18 states have confirmed at least one case of coronavirus.

The government had no other option but to impose a total lockdown, according to Tawor.

“This measure is taken as one of our solid responsibility toward the safety of our citizens, to protect them from the carelessness of opportunists, who are trying to gain and benefit despite the ongoing pandemic,” Tawor told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.

Last week, the government banned all travel from Khartoum to other parts of the country and vice versa, but drivers continue to smuggle people from Khartoum to other states, according to Health Minister Akram Ali Altom.

Tawor said such behavior has contributed to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases.

“The majority of infection cases came through smuggling of individuals through some neighboring countries, those who travel from Khartoum to other states. Some got it through social transmissions, which are a clear violation of the health directives,” Tawor told VOA.

From now on, Tawor said people who violate the travel ban could be sent to jail.

“Punishments under the health emergency act include imprisonment, quarantine, fine, and confiscation of assets, such as cars which are used to smuggle travelers between states,” Tawor told VOA.

Osman Hadadi, a resident of Khartoum’s east Sahafa neighborhood, supports the lockdown. He thinks the government should go a step further by punishing people who violate restrictions on social gatherings.

“Our traditions in Sudan have contributed a lot to the spread of the virus. The social life of our people is so much connected and there are some practices that they need to drop. Otherwise, this virus will kill a lot of our citizens,” Hadadi told South Sudan in Focus.

Luka Lawrence Ndenge, a South Sudanese who resides in Khartoum’s Eastern Nile district, also supports the nationwide lockdown but says it could hurt certain groups of people.

“It’s a wise decision but it has an impact on the nation itself especially on those who depend on daily work to run their lives. It will be difficult for them to run their lives because they depend on daily income,” Ndenge said.

Minister Ali Altom said Wednesday Sudan would run out of medical supplies within a few weeks to fight the pandemic unless it received more supplies from international aid agencies.

Sudan outlaws female circumcision

File: Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

KHARTOUM – Sudan’s government has criminalized female genital mutilation (FGM), a government spokesperson said on Friday, clamping down on a practice that most of the country’s women and girls have endured, the CNN reports.

An amendment of the country’s criminal code was passed outlawing FGM, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that the action fell under the government’s commitment to international human rights agreements.

According to United Nations data around 88% of the female population in Sudan have suffered FGM, making it one of the world’s most-affected nations.

“No doubt this article will contribute in addressing one of the most dangerous social practices, which constitutes a clear violation against women and a crime against women’s rights,” the Sudanese Foreign Ministry statement says.

The ministry called the move “an advanced step in order to terminate this predominant socially-rooted trend.” It added that it “trusts the competence of the designated Sudanese authorities and their capacity and professionalism protecting and respecting women and enhancing their rights at a general level and particularly their health and social rights.”

The Foreign Ministry highlighted that for this law to be successfully enforced, there needs to be a community effort and coordination between “all parties” in raising awareness of the issue through community outreach.

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry “indicates that the amendment of this law is a positive mark in creating a society where women enjoy all their rights including exercising their rights and duties,” the statement adds.

The news was welcomed by UNICEF, which cautioned in a statement that midwives, health service providers, fathers, mothers, and young people need to be informed about the new legislation.

“This practice is not only a violation of the rights of every child, it is a harmful practice and has serious consequences for the physical and mental health of the girl,” Abdullah Fadel,” a UNICEF representative in Sudan, said in a statement. “Therefore, governments and societies alike should take immediate action to end this.”

 

Sudan, South Sudan to send militias to Libya to rescue General Khalifa Haftar

File: Members of Mathiang Anyor militia group

JUBA/KHARTOUM – The United Arab Emirates has requested the commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of Sudan, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, and South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, to send military reinforcement to Libya to back warlord Khalifa Haftar’s offensive on Tripoli.

According to a well-informed source, Dagalo, aka Hemetti, agreed to send two armed factions to the north African country, within the efforts of the United Arab Emirates to save its hand in Libya, Khalifa Haftar. For his part, the source said, Kiir asked for one week to decide on the issue.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the United Arab Emirates promised to send financial and military support to Hemetti in return for dispatching his forces to Libya.

Thousands of Sudanese mercenaries are currently fighting in several fronts in Libya with many have been killed. The mercenaries are sharing their photos and videos on Facebook from Sirte and southern Tripoli fronts claiming “We are here to free Libya from terrorism.”

Sudan has denied the participation of any Sudanese forces in the ongoing fighting in Libya.

Sudan’s Radio Dabanga reported in July 2019 that Hemetti had sent around 4,000 RSF troops to Libya to protect oil installations in the oil crescent region in order to allow forces loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar to concentrate all their power on the Tripoli attack.

Also in the same month, Aljazeera disclosed documents that prove Sudan had used its airspace to transport hundreds of mercenaries recruited by Hemetti to Libya.

The United Nations Panel of Experts on Sudan reported early this year that Darfur fighters are fighting for Khalifa Haftar’s forces in Libya as mercenaries as they aim to strengthen their military might by earning money and weapons through Libya.

The involvement of the United Arab Emirates in Libya and Sudan’s affairs has deepened with the recruitment of Sudanese nationals as mercenaries fighting in Libya and Yemen.

An Emirati firm called Black Shield has entrapped hundreds of Sudanese nationals by offering jobs in the UAE as security guards for hospitals and malls, but finally they ended up fighting in Libya.

As fighting continues in southern Tripoli, warlord Khalifa Haftar has suffered great losses, especially after the loss of seven coastal cities in around seven hours.

The UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord is now mobilizing forces to attack the last two strongholds of Haftar in western Libya, Tarhuna city and Watiya airbase. With the collapse of these two strategic locations, the fighting would move to Sirte and Jufra airbase in central Libya.

Sudan’s Hamdok reviews reforms of military companies

File: Sudanese PM and IGAD chairman Abdallah Hamdok

KHARTOUM –  In a meeting held on Wednesday, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok was briefed about the progress made in reviewing the status of industrial and commercial companies of the Sudanese army.

The meeting further agreed on the need to expedite its transfer to commercial companies under the civil and commercial laws.

According to the official news agency SUNA, besides Hamdok, the meeting included Mohamed Hamdan Daglo ’’Hemetti”, and Lt Gen Ibrahim Jaber a member of the Sovereign Council and Lt Gen Mirghani Idris the Director-General of Sudan’s Military Industry Corporation (MIC).

The meeting reviewed the work model of the defence industries system, as well as the mechanisms of joint governance between the Corporation and the government.

Sudan Tribune learned that the meeting also discussed the what has been done to convert the army’s companies operating in non-military fields into public joint-stock companies under the civil code and observing the rules of transparency and oversight.

A source close to the meeting said that these companies will continue to belong to the army and that there was no talk about transferring their ownership to the Ministry of Finance.

He pointed out that the meeting stressed the continuation of the institutions affiliated to the MIC and take advantage of its technical and professional capabilities to solving the economic crisis the country is experiencing.

On April 5, the government’s spokesperson, Faisal Mohamed Saleh, said that the cabinet had heard a report from the joint committee between the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the MIC on the military companies and proposals to transfer some companies to the Ministry of Finance and converts others to public joint-stock companies.

Saleh added that the Council of Ministers called for a time limit for the work of the joint committee.

Besides ammunition and weapons firms, the army owns many commercial and industrial companies that invest in various areas, including meat and bread flour, and electrical and electronic devices.

After the removal of the al-Bashir regime, it was agreed to open the MIC to democratic oversight by the parliament and civilian organizations.

The Corporation expanded its activities during the year of the oil boom between 2000 and 2011.

Committee to review MIC companies

On Thursday, the head of the Sovereign Council Abdel Fatah al-Burhan ordered to form a committee to review and reform the status of MIC companies.

The decision was announced by the head of the Empowerment Removal Committee, Lt Gen Yasir Atta during a weekly press conference about the dismantling of the former regime held on Thursday.

Atta further said the army decided to donate to the finance ministry the Friendship Palace Hotel in Hilla Hamad area in Khartoum North.

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