Sudan News & Views (No.3)

Sudan News & Views (No.3)

                        S U D A N : N E W S &  V I E W S  
        Issue No 3                                      29 May 1994             
+ Sudan: News & Views is a fortnightly Electronic Newsletter.          +
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+ number +44-81-905 0057.                                              +
In this issue:
    The Transitional National Assembly (TNA) has 302 members, all of 
whom are appointed by the President and most of them are either members 
or sympathizers of the National Islamic Front (NIF), the main force 
behind the regime. The TNA was created in February 1992, as a show of 
democracy and liberal policy. 

  Recently an additional 54 members were appointed to the Assembly  by 
Lt. Gen. Omer El-Bashir.They include well-known names of the National 
Islamic Front (e.g. El-Tayeb El-Nus, Sayed El-Husayni and Yaseen Omer 

  Although the TNA has no legislative or any other powers,it has 
recently been noted that, some members of the Assembly are beginning to 
voice criticism and objections to government policy, especially its 
management of the economy and its foreign policy. Some members were 
furious of the government's complete disregard  for the Assembly's 
decisions. In April 1994, the TNA objected and refused to approve huge 
increases in electricity tariffs. Regardless, the government went ahead 
with the implementation  of the increases.
  The following are examples of the recent debates that took place  in 
the TNA:
- Compulsory money transfer for Sudanese working abroad: An amount of 
$300 for labourers up to $6,000 for businessmen, is to be transferred 
annually through the official channels. This step was taken because the 
annual transfer of Sudanese working abroad has dropped from $450m to 
just $15m. Failure to comply with these new regulations would result in 
heavy fines. One member in the TNA said that the rate of exchange of 215 
Sudanese Pound (SP) to the dollar is plain cheating and is against 
Islamic Shari'a laws.
- Although it was passed by a majority vote, many members objected to 
certain articles in the new 'Passport, Travel and Nationality' bill. 
These article included the requirement of the President's approval for 
issuing new passports. There was also a heated debate on whether 
adoption is Islamic and whether to issue Sudanese nationality to those 
whose fathers are unknown.
- The Economic Committee of the TNA had presented a report assessing   
economic performance. The report vigorously criticized the government's 
handling of the economy and described the economic situation as a 
complete mess. The report pointed out that the government's wrong 
policies has led to the activation of the black market, especially in 
foreign currency, and the reluctance of Sudanese working abroad to 
transfer their earnings through the official channels and to the sharp 
drop in exports. The chairman of the meeting has to close the discussion 
because of the heated debate that followed the presentation of the 
report. One member said that "this report is a bankruptcy certificate 
and if we do not trust the people in this committee, we would demand the 
withdrawal of the report. This report has shattered all our hopes of 
economic recovery, even in the long run". 
- The government's foreign policy was also hotly debated. Many members 
attacked the inflexibility of the foreign policy which resulted in 
difficult living conditions for most of the population. One member said 
that "the ordinary citizen should not be obliged to foot the bill of the 
wrong policies of the government, because now he has to live with higher 
inflation and higher cost of living".
- The TNA debated whether to accept a loan of $10m from Pakistan, 
because it involves an interest of 7.5% (riba, which is not acceptable 
under Islamic Shari'a laws). Dr. Isam El-Bashir said "There is a great 
fault in the government's economic, foreign and information policies. 
Large amounts of money are lavishly spent in conferences and fancy cars. 
The government should start by rectifying these faults instead of 
blaming the international community or crying over the 'civilized 
project'. For those who demand that the people be patient and bear the 
hunger and suffering as with our Muslim ancestors during the khilafa of 
Omer Ibn El-Khatab, I say to them that the model that Ibn El-Khatab 
portrayed as a leader, can not be compared to our political leaders of 
     Dr. El-Tigani Abdel Gadir, a university lecturer, added that "The  
current economic disaster is the main threat to the Salvation 
Revolution. The approval of this loan is essential to save the regime 
from collapse". Dr. Awad El-Jazz, Minister for Presidential Affairs 
asked the Assembly to approve the loan since the government has already 
signed the contract despite the knowledge that it contains payment of 
riba (interest). He said that necessity allows dealing in riba.   George 
Lamor, from Southern Sudan, called upon those who are objecting to the 
loan on religious grounds to leave aside idealism and be realistic. He 
said "the beggar cannot force his conditions upon the donors. We should 
realize that we  represent the bottom in International economics.' 
Hassan El-Beeli, chairman of the Assembly's Legal Committee, said that 
there is a fatwa (religious decree) in 1973 which allows dealing in riba 
when necessary. He called for approval of the loan on the basis of this 
fatwa.  Suliman Taha said that the government should not accept any loan 
with interest and should wait for God's mercy. The matter has been 
referred to specialized committees for further study.

    Considering the above cases, the question now is to what extent 
would the government tolerate such harsh criticism which might lead to 
dissent?. The answer depends on whether this exercise would be viewed as 
a harmless venting of the discontent and frustrations felt by the 
majority of the population or to be seen as a real threat to the 
stability of the regime.

  The government's lack of tolerance was clearly illustrated by  its 
harsh reaction to the independent and sympathetic newspaper  'Al-Sudani 
Al-Dawliyya' and its publisher, Mahgoub Erwa, who is a leading NIF 
member and also member of the Transitional National  Assembly. The paper 
was closed down and all its editorial staff, including Erwa, were 
imprisoned for publishing an article accusing leading members of the 
government and the NIF, including Turabi's son, Isam, with corruption 
and illegal dealings. What lies ahead for those outspoken members of the 
TNA  remains to be seen.
  A court in Khartoum has, in 1 May 1994, passed sentences on those 
accused of plotting against the government and of planning  a series of 
bombings and explosions in the capital. The trial  has been going for 
several months following the arrest, on April 1993, of several people 
accused of planning a bombing  campaign in Khartoum. Several members of 
the 'Legitimate Command' and the Opposition, now living in exile in 
Egypt, were also implicated and were added to the list. Judge El-Zubair 
Mohamed Khalil admitted in his summons that some of the accused had been 
subjected to torture and ill-treatment. He said that they have the right 
to sue those who tortured them.
The sentences passed are as follows:
() Ten years imprisonment against ten of the accused. They have 
   been convicted (in absentia since they all live in exile) of 
   waging war against the state and of conspiracy:
   1-  General (ret.) Fathi Ahmed Ali
   2-  General (ret.) Abdel Rahman Sa'eed
   3-  Brigadier El-Hadi Bushra
   4-  Brigadier Abdel Aziz Khalid
   5-  El-Sadig Ma'anni
   6-  Nagheeb El-Khair
   7-  Mohamed El-Fatih
   8-  Abdel Azim Sarour
   9-  Mohamed Osman El-Zubair
  10-  Abdel Rahman Khogali
  The judge explained that the reason for not giving them the death 
sentence is the failure of the prosecution to give the exact date of 
birth of the accused, since the death sentence would not be passed for 
those over seventy years of age.
() The prison sentences on those who appeared before the court were
   as follows:
   1-  Mubarak Jadain              7 years
   2-  Ga'afer Yaseen              5 years
   3-  Isam Mohamed                5 years
   4-  El-Traifi El-Tahir          5 years
   5-  El-Hassan Ahmed Salih       2 years
() The following were acquitted for lack of evidence:
   1-  El-Tayeb Nur El-dayem
   2-  Yassir Abu Zaid
   3-  Imad Mohamed Ahmed Abu Talib
   4-  Omer Mohamed Ahmed Abu Talib
   5-  Hayder Abu Alama
   6-  Taj El-Sir Al-Atta
   7-  Abu Bakr Kimair
   8-  Mohamed El-Hassan Haddab
   9-  Ibrahim Haddab
  10-  Ahmed Abdel Ra'ouf Karam Alla
  11-  Mustafa Al-Tay
  12-  Kamal Omer Ahmed
  According to informed sources in the 'Civil Defence Authority' in 
Khartoum, there were 30 major fires in the Sudanese Capital  in just two 
weeks in April 1994. These included two factories in Khartoum North 
Industrial Area, two banks, an electric  sub-station and many in 
residential areas.
  The fires were attributed to carelessness and neglect of proper safety 
precautions and also to the lack of adequate fire fighting equipment.
  On the other hand, a committee, with members from the security forces, 
the police and the Civil Defence, has started  investigating the major 
fire that engulfed the Bank of Sudan  on 29 April 94. Reliable sources 
reported that the committee has  ruled out electric fault as the cause 
and that the act was  perpetrated. The fire has completely burnt out 
important documents including documents related to investigations in  
the commercial banking system. Also burnt is the Bank's computer,  the 
legal department, the accounts department, internal auditing  and the 
financing department.
    The National Electricity Corporation has implemented price  
increases from the beginning of March 1994, despite the TNA's decision 
to freeze the new electricity tariff till a more reasonable and 
affordable tariff is drawn up.
  Domestic use has been increased by 94%, commercial use by 182%  and 
industrial use by 233%. An ordinary household would now pay a monthly 
electricity bill of more than 6,000 SP.
  It is worth mentioning that this is the seventh increase in the last 
five years. The total percent increase since Jan. 1990 is 7436%.  
  Sudan Railways has decided further job cuts. 1,500 workers will be 
laid off during the month of June 1994. This will bring the  total of 
those dismissed in the last two years to 15,500 or 51%  of the total 
work force of Sudan Railways.  
  The Sudanese government has called upon all Sudanese Doctors working 
abroad to return and were promised to be treated as foreign experts.
  On the other hand, The Sudanese Medical Council had decided to abolish 
'Hippocratic Oath' which all doctors are sworn in before they are 
allowed to practice medicine. The oath will be replaced by a new one 
said to be compatible with Islamic Shari'a.
  A senior South Yemeni official has, on 11 May 1994, reiterated  their 
claim that Sudanese and Iraqi soldiers are involved in the civil war 
between North and South Yemen. He said, in an interview  to the MBC TV 
in London, that Sudan allows North Yemen to use its military airports to 
attack South Yemen. Radio Eden has also repeated the same allegations, 
while Eden television interviewed  a Sudanese Prisoner of War who 
admitted working for the Sudanese Security forces. He also claimed that 
Dr. Hassan El-Turabi, the leader of the National Islamic Front, has 
visited Sana'a secretly many times before the start of the fighting.
  It is also reported that more than 75,000 Sudanese working in  Yemen 
are now being evacuated by sea. Some had already fled the country to 
  It has been reported that the British tycoon, Tiny Roland, acting on a 
request by the Sudanese government, has started a series of contacts and 
negotiations with the American administration and  with some members of 
the US Congress to try and bridge the gap  between the US and the Sudan. 
Although it has been arranged for Dr. Ali El-Haj to come to the States 
in the first week of May to meet with officials in the Clinton 
administration and with some Congressmen, the visit was suddenly called 
off. It has been assumed that some groups within the administration were 
not happy with this arrangement and had applied pressure to cancel the 
[] In the last four months, the total income from exports is only $45m.
[] The results of a survey, conducted by the 'Industrial General  
Administration' in the national capital, has shown a marked 
deterioration in industrial output in the Province. The survey showed 
that more than 70% of factories are now completely shut down while the 
rest are operating at less than 20% of their capacity. The reasons are 
lack of raw materials, fuel shortages and high taxation.
[] A recent study by the government's 'Central Statistics Department' 
has revealed that 85% of the population are now living below the poverty 
- The administration of the Gezira University in Wad Medani has ordered 
the dismissal of another ten students in addition to the 29 students 
dismissed last month for their alleged participation in demonstrations.
- Despite the failure of agricultural production this year and the many 
warnings from the UN agencies of a looming famine, it has been 
officially reported that 21,000 tons of dhura has been exported by Sudan 
during the period December 1993 to April 1994.
- The total number of clerical and professional employees dismissed from 
their jobs in the last five years is 31,543, according to the 'Pensions 
Department'. The breakdown of this figure, which does not include 
labourers (both skilled and non-skilled), is as follows:  
                1989    3,415
                1990    4,238
                1991    4,591
                1992    7,706
                1993   11,593
- Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action on behalf of three 
prisoners of conscience: Mahjoub Sherif (poet), Salah al-A'alim (trade 
unionist) and Bushra Abdel-Karim (lawyer) who  were reportedly arrested 
in Khartoum on or around 11 May 1994. It is not known why they have been 
detained or where they are being held.  
    *   'Sudan News & Views' is an independent (non-partisan,       *
    *    non-governmental) electronic publication based in London   *
    *    working to advocate peace, human rights and humanitarian   *
    *    aid for the Sudan.                                         *

Date: Sat, 2 Jul 94 14:30:29 BST
From: Yasin Miheisi <>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: SNV-3

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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