Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Ethiopia Opens Up Banking Sector to its Diaspora
Wednesday, July 31, 2019 7:44 a.m. CDT

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia's parliament passed a bill on Wednesday to open up the country's financial sector to an estimated five million of its citizens who have taken other nationalities, including allowing them to buy shares in local banks and start lending businesses.

The changes are part of a raft of economic reforms initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed when he came to power last year, partly aimed at boosting the country's foreign exchange reserves, which had dropped precariously low.

"The law will enable the Ethiopian born diaspora to take part in the economic growth of the country," said Lemlem Hadgo, chair of the Revenues, Budget and Finance Committee of parliament.

"It will also address the grievances raised over the issue."

Ethiopia's banking sector, which is closed to foreign investment and is still one of the most tightly state-controlled in Africa, is dominated by the two oldest and most profitable institutions, Awash Bank and Dashen.

Ethiopians who had emigrated abroad but returned to live in the capital Addis Ababa welcomed the reforms.

"We can finally invest in the financial sector," said Addis Alemayehou, a businessman who returned to Addis years ago but has been restricted in the sectors where he can invest.

"The financial sector is one of the most lucrative and well managed, it's a safe investment outside real estate."

He left Ethiopia in 1980 when he was eight and returned in 2001 holding Canadian citizenship.

Abiy's government is also opening up other key sectors of the economy to foreign investment. It plans to offer two telecoms licences to foreign firms, which have been jostling to start operating in one of the world's last major closed telecom markets.

Ethiopia's population is young and growing rapidly, and the economy has been expanding at a near double-digit annual rate for more than a decade.

However, Abiy's reformist drive has been threatened by long-simmering ethnic rivalries that have burst into the open in recent weeks, through sporadic acts of violence.

(This story corrects throughout to show Ethiopia does not allow dual-nationality)

(Additional reporting by Maggie Fick; Writing by Duncan Miriri and Mark Potter)
The ‘Bantustanization’ of Ethiopia and Its Looming Dangers 
July 31, 2019
By Dawit W Giorgis

The term Balkanization has frequently been used in reference to Ethiopia’s ethnic federalism, which has been codified in the country’s dysfunctional constitution that curiously defines politics, citizenship, rights and privileges on ethnic grounds.  However, the use of the term Balkanization in reference to the current situation in Ethiopia is inaccurate, since it does not fully capture the toxic agenda of the architects of the country’s constitution or the misguided policies of the current government.

Strictly speaking, there are no political or administrative terms in history that can fully and adequately explain the bizarre experiment that we see unraveling in Ethiopia. Nonetheless, a term, which comes close to describing the policies of the current government and the unfolding ethnic violence and repression, is ‘bantustanization,’ which has its origin in apartheid South Africa.

“The 1959 Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act relabeled the reserves as “homelands,” or Bantustans, in which only specific ethnic groups were to have residence rights. Later, the Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act of 1970 defined blacks living throughout South Africa as legal citizens of the homelands designated for their particular ethnic groups—thereby stripping them of their South African citizenship and their few remaining civil and political rights. Between the 1960s and 1980s, the white-dominated South African government continuously removed black people still living in “white areas”—even those settled on property that had been in their families for generations—and forcibly relocated them relocated them to the Bantustans.”

Bantustanization dehumanizes a population and makes one race superior to others. It confines people to homelands with restricted access to other parts of the country, as was the case in apartheid South Africa. The Bantustans were administrative regions designed to exclude blacks from the South African political system, which was dominated by the white minority under the policy of apartheid — an institutionalized form of segregation and racism.

The idea behind the apartheid ideology was to allow the whites to own the larger proportion of the country with enormous natural resources and to establish  small and weak enclaves, separated and dependent on the racist government. The ultimate objective was to convert these Bantustans into independent satellite states, with full recognition by the international community. However, the apartheid ideology was completely rejected by the international community and the apartheid regime and its cruel policy eventually collapsed. Bantustans were subsequently incorporated with South Africa.

Bantustanization in Ethiopia

As the Ethiopian leaders responsible for the chaos in the country very well know, it is virtually impossible to carve out any part or region of the country and create a viable state.  Ethiopian ethnic groups can only exist within a united Ethiopia, and the existence of Ethiopia is sine qua non to the survival of all. The history, the geography, the demographic distribution and the shared culture and heritage of the people are so intertwined, they do not allow for either ‘bantustanization’ or complete secession. Despite this fact, the ruling regime seems to be determined to create Bantustans under the subjugation of the dominant and ruling ethnic group.

Tragically, the US did not take firm actions on apartheid or the policy of Bantustans in racist South Africa at the time. Instead, it stood by the segregationist nation, and even allied with it in declaring a costly war on the legitimate government of Angola and in delaying the independence of Namibia. President Reagan, who served as US President from 1981 to 1989, used the phrase “constructive engagement” as a euphemism for dialogue with South Africa:

“His rhetoric of constructive engagement was a cover for doing nothing, actually doing more than doing nothing, really providing American support for a retrograde regime” (1). Reagan staunchly opposed economic sanctions around 1985, while stating publicly that he condemned the inequity in South Africa, revealing “the historical US tendency to rhetorically denounce South Africa’s racial policies while simultaneously doing little to change the established status quo”

It was the civil rights movement that eventually forced the administration to take a stand against apartheid.  The anti apartheid movement:  “culminated in congressional passage of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid of 1986, which mandated a variety of sanctions designed to force the dismantling of apartheid” (IBID) overriding President Reagan’s veto.

“When Nelson Mandela was freed from jail in 1988, Republicans tried to sweep their support for his erstwhile jailers under the rug. President George H.W. Bush hosted Mandela at the White House and praised him as  “a man who embodies the hopes of millions.” Mandela gave a speech to Congress at which the assembled legislators, including many who had once voted against economic sanctions, interrupted him with three standing ovations and 12 rounds of applause. Today, leaders of both parties have once again cheered for Mandela. What he really could have used was their help when he was imprisoned on Robben Island, trying to end apartheid.”

However the liberation movement, the African National Congress (ANC), and its leader, Nelson Mandela, remained to be listed as terrorists until 2008.

Herman Cohen’s Sinister Ploy

Ironically, certain individuals in the US appear to be inclined to repeat the sad history of apartheid now in Ethiopia. A case in point is the recent diatribe by Mr. Herman Cohen, former Assistant Secretary of Sate in the US department of state, ambassador, senior diplomat and author, in which he insinuated the idea of taking Ethiopia back to those shameful years of apartheid and ‘bantustanization’ in South Africa.  Mr. Herman Cohen was an active member of the administration when the US refused to take a firm action on apartheid and ‘bantustanization.’

He tweeted on June 24:

“Failed coup in #Ethiopia’s state was an attempt by ethnic nationalists to restore Amhara hegemony over all of Ethiopia that existed for several centuries prior to 1991. That dream is now permanently dead.”

And on July 19:

“Violence in #Ethiopia‘s Sidama, after similar events in Oromia, Amhara and Somali states, tells us the Ethiopian people will never again allow return to all-powerful authoritarian central govts as under the Emperors, the Derg and the EPRDF/TPLF. The future is true federalism.”

Ethiopians to date do not know what really happened in Bahr Dar, the day of the so-called coup, which is by the way a misnomer. I am curious to know how Mr. Cohen came to know that the killings in Bahr Dar were: “an attempt by ethnic nationalist to restore Amhara hegemony over all of Ethiopia”? Mr. Cohen further asserts: “ that dream is now permanently dead”. Even those very close to power do not yet know what really happened in Bahr Dar. It leads one to assume that Mr. Cohen has exclusive access to the Prime Minister who is the only one that has the complete information regarding this ‘coup’ and the killings of so many people including top officials, information which the PM has yet to share with the Ethiopian People.

Mr. Herman Cohen is once again on the wrong side of history.  His assertion of Amhara’s hegemony in Ethiopia for centuries, which he took out from the propaganda leaflets of the TPLF, has shocked many. He exposed his utter ignorance. The responses to his twit have adequately addressed this.  It is however troubling to realize that it was this man with such ignorance of Ethiopian history, who   decided on the fate of Ethiopia in 1991, at the London conference, which he convened and chaired.  It was supposed to be a negotiation with the interested parties including the Ethiopian government. The Ethiopian government walked out because Mr. Cohen had already decided on the take over of Ethiopia by TPLF.  As a result of this ill-fated decision Ethiopians suffered for 28 years and the country is now near collapse.

The people of Ethiopia forgave Herman Cohen, but never forgot his crimes, when he eventually acknowledged his blunders and regretted his decision, after hundreds of thousands had perished, millions were subjected to Zenawi’s atrocious rule and the country was brought to the brink of disintegration.

Now Mr. Cohen reappears and once again meddles in the affairs of Ethiopia by advocating the break up of Ethiopia.  He suggests that “true federalism” is having   more ‘killils’  (ethnic homelands).  Ethiopia has 90 nationalities and establishing homelands for all is the ultimate definition of democracy for Mr. Cohen.  How does ‘bantustanization’ prevent “ the return to all-powerful authoritarian central governments as under the Emperors, the Derg and the EPRDF/TPLF.”?

The policy that he is irresponsibly propagating is one that would potentially lead to civil war and genocide within Ethiopia, cause considerably devastating instability in neighboring countries, and trigger proxy wars. In the scenario he is promoting, there is a high probability that the Horn of Africa would literally be on fire in the truest sense, with the Arab World and the US scrambling to secure their interests in the Red Sea and in the region. If a civil war starts in Ethiopia the world would also have to brace itself for an unprecedented flow of refugees in all directions, with most destined to Europe across the Sahara. North African coasts would be inundated with Ethiopian and other refugees from the affected neighboring countries in numbers that would pale the recent migrations from that part of Africa in comparison.

Regrettably, it is such senseless arguments as put forth by Mr. Cohen, with a narrow and myopic agenda, that have often put the US on the wrong side of history, as evidenced by recent events in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Egypt and Libya. The failure of the US to respond in the face of the unfolding genocide in Rwanda should have been a bitter lesson. President Clinton and the late United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, despite their belated apologies and acceptances of a degree of responsibility, failed humanity by not responding to the clear early warnings. As a consequence, a million people were massacred and 800,000 people fled the country. The tragedy did not need to happen, but it did; and the US and the international community today live with the indelible scar of guilt and infamy.

Looming Dangers

People have been warning the international community for the last decade about the build up in Ethiopia. We now see genocide unfolding in the country and the silence of the US and the international community is stunning.  It seems as if no lessons have been taken away from Rwanda’s experience. People can only hope that there are seasoned people within the State Department who can understand and mitigate the implications of the irresponsible statements and proposals of discredited individuals like Mr. Herman Cohen.

Those who know Ethiopia do understand that the country cannot break up and an attempt to do so will only introduce an endless civil war, with implications that go far beyond the region. To create a Bantustan, one only needs to apply brute force and military power; however, to dream of ruling over a nation of Bantustans and living in peace is an impossible proposition.

Sadly, the Ethiopian government is giving the finishing touch for the creation of a Bantu-style administrative structure with extremists monopolizing political and economic power. The process of ‘bantustanization’, which  is underway

will ensure that all the other ethnic regions (Kilils or Bantustans) become weak and incapable to challenge the dominant group at the helm of power. The Ethiopian constitution allows the ethnic-based regions (Bantustans) to secede if they wish to. The attempt by some Ethiopian ethnic groups to exercise their rights to secede will not be successful but will lead to conflicts. Like the Bantustans of South Arica they will not be able to get any recognition.

Since each ethnic group does not have a clearly defined boundary accepted by all parties, it will also be one more reason for conflict, as is evident now throughout the country. Unlike the Bantustans, the demography does not allow one region of Ethiopia to be exclusively of one ethnic group, since millions of people of different ethnic backgrounds live scattered in many parts of the country. Like the Bantustans they cannot be viable independent states.

The policy of this government is primitive and those elites who are behind these polices should be tried for crimes against humanity and for deliberately and intentionally creating the conditions for civil war and possible genocide. Bantustanzation is inhumane and should be recognized as a crime under international law.

The regime in Ethiopia is accelerating the fragmentation of Ethiopia into several more weak ‘killis’ to ensure that the regime would be unchallenged. There is even an attempt to further fragment some of the major ethnic groups, as is the case with the Amahras, which seem to pose the greatest challenge to the hegemony of one ethnic group. The shortsighted strategy of this regime is to divide the Amharas along regional lines. This exercise has been launched in subtle ways and there are signs of some cracks in the Amhara community. Currently there are nine ‘killis’; but with the recent movement in the south to create more ‘killils’, the door seems to be open now for more than 80 to claim their own ‘killis.’

Seriously concerned that it might be a prelude to genocide and civil war, the people of Ethiopia are resisting the government’s dangerous policy of ‘batustanization’. It also behooves the international community to condemn the unsound policy, as it did condemn decades ago the establishment  of the Bantustans in South Africa as an integral component of its apartheid policy. In particular, the people of Ethiopia once again call upon the international community to put pressure on the government so that the worst scenario can be prevented.

Statement like that of Mr. Cohen only enflame the already tense and charged political atmosphere. Responsible and eminent people should do everything possible to use their influence to deescalate the tense situation, advise and support the government to establish a national conference of genuinely elected representatives of the people to have an open  dialogue  amongst themselves and design a road map for the country.  Let such an internationally sponsored conference of the people determine the fate of this country, not a handful of extremists.

Dawit W Giorgis

Visiting Scholar, Boston University

African Studies Center
Should the Secession Demand of Ethiopia’s Sidama People be Negotiated ?
July 31, 2019
CNBC Africa

Young men in the traditional attire of southern Ethiopia’s Sidama people.

By Yonatan Fessha, University of the Western Cape

Mounting tensions in southern Ethiopia are creating high levels of nervousness in the country. At the centre of the conflict is the clamour for internal secession by the Sidama, the country’s fifth largest ethic group. Most recently, the federal government declared that it, rather than the local authorities, was now in charge of maintaining peace and security. This followed violence which had led to deaths and injuries.

Ethiopia has 80 ethnic groups. More than two decades ago, the country adopted a constitution that uses ethnicity as a basis to organise the federation. But only five of the nine states are home to a dominant ethnic community. The remaining four states are markedly multi-ethnic.

Here the complications set in. While some numerically stronger ethnic communities have been denied the status of a state, some smaller ones have a state to call their own. For example, the State of Harari is home to the eponymous community of fewer than 200 000 people.

On the other hand there are ethnic groups, like the Sidama – with more than three million people – that don’t have a state of their own.

It has not always been like this. The Sidama have a history of distinct administrative existence dating back to imperial days. More recently, the ethnically defined State of Sidama, in which the Sidama were the majority, was established in 1991.

But this was abolished when Ethiopia adopted a new Constitution in 1995 and the Southern Nations and Nationalities and People’s Regional State (the Southern State) was established where the Sidama became just one of the 56 or so ethnic groups that inhabit the state.

Since then, members of the Sidama community have been demanding their own state, pointing to states like Harari.

The matter came to a head on July 18 when members of the Sidama community tried to carry out their threat of unilaterally declaring the creation of a separate state. This followed months of agitation.

What Ethiopia now faces is a hugely complex legal and political issue. The clauses in the Constitution dealing with secession are open to wide interpretation, as has been made clear by recent comments by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

On the other hand, it’s important that all parties concerned work their way towards a negotiated settlement particularly given the fragile state the country’s in.

Constitutional amendment

The good thing for the Sidama and others is that the Constitution has kept the door of statehood ajar for ethnic groups wanting to establish a state of their own. Article 47(2) provides ethnic groups the right to establish a state of their own.

All a community needs to do is to show that it has support for its demand. A simple majority vote of the community is enough – or so it would seem. In reality, the process is proving to be much more complicated.

In his recent address to law makers Abiy alluded to the complexity of the problem when he pointed out that a majority vote in favour of statehood might not be sufficient because the constitution only lists nine states that constitute the federation. Getting the prospective state of Sidama onto that list would require a constitutional amendment.

Many, including myself, were quick to dismiss this as an act of legal gymnastics by a Prime Minister who has found himself between a rock and hard place. The Constitution, after all, states that a new state directly becomes a member of the federation without any need for application to join it.

But the prime minister is also correct that the constitutional clause listing the states must be amended if the Sidama’s quest for statehood is to be completed. And this is an amendment that requires the support of the two houses of the federal parliament and the legislative assemblies of at least two-thirds of the states.

One may argue that a suitable referendum result should place an obligation on the member states and the federal government to effect the necessary constitutional amendment. To borrow the famous lines of the Supreme Court of Canada, ‘a clear expression of a will by a clear majority’ of the population of the Sidama to secede from the Southern State should create an obligation on the rest of the country to do what is constitutionally necessary.

But this also poses a potential stumbling block: is it possible to coerce a state from which a territory is seceding – in this case the Southern State – to vote for a constitutional amendment that effectively presents a threat to its territorial integrity? After all, there is no language of obligation in Article 47. In as much as it gives ethnic communities the right to demand internal secession, it does not impose a corresponding duty on the others to accept it.

Even if an obligation exists, I would argue that it is an obligation to negotiate. This means that the concerned parties, including the federal government, the government of the Southern State and the Sidama local governments, must come to the table to negotiate the possibilities and ramifications of a new Sidama state.

That is why, in my view, it was also unconstitutional for members of the Sidama community to unilaterally declare the formation of a new state. Ethiopia’s Constitution is silent on what should be done in the event a state or federal government refusing to entertain a request to secede. But it does subject internal secession to a procedure. This suggests that it does not allow for a unilateral declaration of succession. Further, a federal law requires appeals to be directed to the House of Federation, the body tasked to deal with constitutional disputes.

Negotiating table

All roads, it seems, lead the parties to a negotiating table. It must be admitted that the Sidama’s struggle to have their own state is at a point of no return. The state and federal authorities have now agreed to hold a referendum within the next five months.

Perhaps in the meantime they can engage in a negotiation and deal with many of the questions that remain unanswered. This includes who should be allowed to vote in the referendum, the division of assets and the concerns of individuals that do not belong to the Sidama ethnic group.

Ethiopia is in an extremely fragile political state. It can’t afford the instability and chaos that might follow from the disorderly partitioning of an existing state and a similar push by others. Both state and non-state actors must work towards a cooperative internal secession.

A longer version of this article was first published on the IACL-IADC Blog under the title “Internal secession and Federalism in Ethiopia”.The Conversation
Yonatan Fessha, Marie-Curie Fellow, EURAC Research and Associate Professor, Public Law and Jurisprudence, University of the Western Cape

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Ethiopia Plants 350m Trees in a Day to Help Tackle Climate Crisis
National ‘green legacy’ initiative aims to reduce environmental degradation

Anna Ploszajski
Tue 30 Jul 2019 15.57 BST

 The prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, plants a tree in Addis Ababa. Photograph: Aron Simeneh
About 350m trees have been planted in a single day in Ethiopia, according to a government minister.

The planting is part of a national “green legacy” initiative to grow 4bn trees in the country this summer by encouraging every citizen to plant at least 40 seedlings. Public offices have reportedly been shut down in order for civil servants to take part.

The project aims to tackle the effects of deforestation and climate change in the drought-prone country. According to the UN, Ethiopia’s forest coverage was just 4% in the 2000s, down from 35% a century earlier.

Ethiopia’s minister of innovation and technology, Dr Getahun Mekuria, tweeted estimates of the number of trees planted throughout the day. By early evening on Monday, he put the number at 353m.

The previous world record for the most trees planted in one day stood at 50m, held by India since 2016.

Dr Dan Ridley-Ellis, the head of the centre for wood science and technology at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “Trees not only help mitigate climate change by absorbing the carbon dioxide in the air, but they also have huge benefits in combating desertification and land degradation, particularly in arid countries. They also provide food, shelter, fuel, fodder, medicine, materials and protection of the water supply.

“This truly impressive feat is not just the simple planting of trees, but part of a huge and complicated challenge to take account of the short- and long-term needs of both the trees and the people. The forester’s mantra ‘the right tree in the right place’ increasingly needs to consider the effects of climate change, as well as the ecological, social, cultural and economic dimension.”
Togo Nationals Storm Lagos to Protest Against Gnassigbe’s Government
July 25, 2019
Samson Folarin
Nigerian Punch

Thousands of Togolese are presently protesting at Onikan, Lagos.

The men and women, many of whom came from Togo for the protest, said they wanted an end to the government of Faure Gnassigbe, who is seeking a fourth term in government.

They said they had been ruled by the Gnassigbe family for over 59 years.

They are seeking help from the Economic Community of West African States in Lagos, Nigeria.

Cameroon's Many Fault Lines
It is not just the Anglophone conflict that is threatening the stability of the Cameroonian state.

by Yuhniwo Ngenge
Al Jazeera

Cameroon's main opposition leader Maurice Kamto, who is widely believed to have won the 2018 presidential polls, was arrested in February and remains imprisoned [File: Reuters]

Over the past two years, the crisis in Cameroon's Anglophone regions has worsened dramatically, resulting in an increasing number of atrocities committed against civilians which have claimed the lives of close to 2,000 people. In recent months, the international community has finally taken some initial steps to address the situation.

In late June, reports emerged of Switzerland launching an initiative to mediate between the regime and Anglophone separatists in Geneva. This came on the heels of a US-sponsored informal United Nations Security Council meeting, the first of its kind focused on the crisis, where council members again pressed for unconditional dialogue between the two sides.

While these first steps are indeed welcome, it would take a lot more than informal meetings and calls for dialogue to ensure peace and stability return to Cameroon. This is not only because the current political leadership has been particularly intransigent about decentralisation and giving autonomy to the Anglophone community, but also because the Anglophone crisis has deep colonial roots and is intertwined with other ethnic and religious fault lines in Cameroonian society which are also raising internal tensions.

The escalating Anglophone conflict

Like many other conflicts across Africa, the one in Cameroon has deep roots in the colonial history of the country. Up until the 19th century, its territory was divided between various local kingdoms and fiefdoms. In the 1880s, the Germans launched a campaign of colonisation of the area and established Cameroon as their colony in 1884.

After World War I, the League of Nations handed control over the territory to Britain and France which divided it and established separate administrative systems. As anti-colonial sentiments swept through Africa following World War II, the French and British Cameroons separately sought their independence.

However, the British convinced the UN that Anglophone Cameroon was not economically viable and could only survive by uniting with Francophone Cameroon or Nigeria. While the northern part of Anglophone Cameroon voted to join Nigeria, neither option was as popular in the southern part which, in the absence of a much preferred option for separate statehood, ultimately joined with French Cameroon.

When the two territories reunited in 1961, a new constitution was drafted to define the new union as a federal entity in which the autonomy of the English-speaking minority would be protected. However, in 1972, a controversial referendum transformed the federation into a unitary state, effectively ending the autonomy of the Anglophone regions.

The fact that the will of the Anglophone population was overruled in 1961 and the subsequent systemic discrimination and marginalisation they suffered under successive governments dominated by Francophones planted the seeds of the current separatist conflict.

Under the present constitution, Cameroon is a decentralised unitary state. In reality, however, it is one of the most hyper-centralised states in Francophone Africa. For example, while all councils in the country are supposed to be governed by locally elected mayors and councillors, the executive often appoints "super mayors" who answer directly to the president, causing resentment and friction between the elected officials who represent the people and the unelected ones who represent the central government.

Calls to address the separatist conflict through broad-based reforms, including reinstatement of the federal system - which Fancophones, unlike before, are beginning to subscribe to - have been met with repression. The government has made it clear that the unitary character of the state is non-negotiable.

This, in turn, has fed separatist sentiments among the Anglophone population and resulted in the present conflict, which is threatening the territorial integrity of the country.

Ethno-regional fault lines

Though overshadowed by the separatist conflict, tensions rooted in ethnicity and religion also pose a significant threat to the state.

Ethnicity, in particular, has recently re-emerged, in the wake of the 2018 presidential election, as another deepening fault line. The ethnic tensions in Cameroon revolve around two groups that both have competing claims to power - the Bamilekes and the Bulu-Betis.

The first group occupies the western grasslands of Cameroon, and has strong cultural ties to one of the Anglophone regions, despite their Francophone colonial heritage. They control the economy, and most of the country's manufacturing sector. This economic clout has increased their appetite for political power.

The second group, the Bulu-Betis, occupies the central and the southern regions where President Paul Biya hails from. They have dominated political power since 1981 when Cameroon's first president, Amadou Ahidjo, handpicked Biya as his successor. Bulus and Betis see themselves as the natural rulers of Cameroon.

In the run-up to the 2018 election, both groups engaged in inflammatory rhetoric, with the most virulent and xenophobic attacks coming from journalists working for the Bulu-owned and dominated Vision4 Television.

In the wake of the disputed elections, this ethnic tension escalated into violent attacks by anti-government protesters of Cameroonian origin on Cameroonian embassies in Berlin, Paris and other Western capitals earlier this year. Eventually, Cameroon's main opposition leader Maurice Kamto - a Bamileke - who is widely believed to have won the polls, was arrested and charged with sedition, insurrection and inciting violence. He remains imprisoned to this day amid escalating tensions.

Historically, Anglophones, not the Bamilekes, have been the targets of such intimidation and bigotry in Cameroon. For example, in 1992, when John Fru Ndi, an Anglophone, beat Biya in the presidential election, he was cheated out of his victory just like Kamto and placed under house arrest for three months. Biya then imposed a state of emergency on the English-speaking northwest region, increasing the resentment of Anglophone Cameroonians and solidifying the foundations of the ongoing separatist conflict.

In 2017, journalists from Vision4 Television, who lead the racist attacks on Bamilekes throughout the election season, also targeted Anglophones, openly calling for their elimination.

One might imagine these shared experiences of the two groups at the hands of the Bulu-Betis, and their cultural similarities would provide the impetus for an Anglo-Bamileke alliance as a powerful political force that could upend the status quo. However, four decades of British and French rule over the respective groups had left its mark. The mindset and political philosophies of each group developed along fundamentally different trajectories. These differences overshadow any other commonalities they may have that could allow such strategic and political cooperation between the two groups.

Religious divisions

Another claim to political power comes from the north, the region Cameroon's former President Amadou Ahidjo hailed from. Even though they are not vocal about it, northerners, who are predominantly Muslim (and also Francophone) widely believe that political power in Cameroon should alternate between the Christian south (Anglophones included) and the Muslim north, also known as the Septentrion.

About a decade ago, Amadou Ali, a Muslim northerner and justice and vice prime minister at that time, revealed as much. A 2009 US embassy cable leaked in 2011 quotes him as saying that while the north would support Biya for as long as he wants to be in power, they would not accept another southerner - much less another Beti-Bulu - to succeed him. According to the cable, Ali also said that even if the Beti-Bulus were to try to assert themselves in a post-Biya scenario, they would be too few to take on the northerners. In his view, the foundation of Cameroon’s stability rests on the detente between the north - which is culturally distinct from the rest of the country - and the predominantly Christian south.

In this context, it is important to recall, that Cameroon's first-ever coup d'etat launched on April 6, 1984, was largely an initiative of elite soldiers from the Muslim north who were unable to come to terms with the transfer of power to a southern Christian two years earlier. After almost four decades of Christian dominance, they naturally feel the political succession question, whenever it is finally addressed, must be resolved in their favour.

Anglophones made similar claims in the past - that decades of uninterrupted Francophone majority rule (including the tenure of Muslim-Francophone Ahidjo) should logically be followed by a representative of the Anglophone minority taking over the presidency and setting up a mechanism to alternate power between the two groups in the future.

Indeed, Cameroon's fault lines are complex and have deep roots in the country's colonial past, but they are not impossible to overcome. Biya's 37-year rule and his increasing authoritarianism have exacerbated all these crises. If he does not reconsider and start an open dialogue with all aggrieved groups, he risks dragging the whole country into a deadly civil conflict.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial stance.


Yuhniwo Ngenge is a democracy, governance and human rights expert focusing on sub-Saharan Africa.
Drug Industry Lashes Trump for Canada Importation Plan
07/31/2019 02:17 PM EDT

The Trump administration jumped into a fight with drugmakers Wednesday by promising to allow importation of cheaper drugs from Canada and other countries, advancing an idea the pharmaceutical industry and many members of the president’s party have long opposed.

Trump’s health department Wednesday said it would open up two pathways to let states and companies test drug importing programs in the coming months, promising that modern drug distribution supply chains would allow federal drug regulators to guarantee the products’ safety.

It wasn't clear how widely — or quickly — importation would occur under the plan, but the administration is eager to tout the idea as part of President Donald Trump’s efforts to fight drug prices after recent setbacks to his agenda. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive who until recently opposed importation, said the new plan could allow Americans to access safe and cheaper drugs in some cases.

But the pharmaceutical industry swiftly attacked the plan, citing Azar’s own words from just last year, when he called drug importation a “gimmick.”

"Rather than surrender the safety of Americans by importing failed polices from single-payer countries, we should work on solutions here at home that would lower patient out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter," said Stephen Ubl, CEO of Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, in a statement.

By signing up you agree to receive email newsletters or alerts from POLITICO. You can unsubscribe at any time.

"There is simply no way to adopt an importation scheme that doesn't jeopardize the health and well-being of America's patients," added Jim Greenwood, president of the biotech-heavy organization BIO. "This is a misguided attempt to keep an ill-informed campaign promise."

The idea of drug importations has been brought up repeatedly since Congress imposed the current strict import limits in 1987. Any loosening of the rules was always stymied by safety concerns and industry opposition. A high-level 2004 report — co-authored by Azar, then HHS' senior lawyer — argued against the idea.

The announcement came a day after a Democratic presidential debate in which Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a champion of drug importing, cited the high cost of insulin as a prime example of profiteering in the health care industry. House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), whom Trump has demonized in recent days, has led congressional investigations into the soaring price of insulin, a nearly century-old treatment.

However, the administration’s plan likely would not immediately allow for insulin imports. The first regulatory pathway HHS laid out is limited to certain drugs from Canada, said acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless. It would exclude controlled substances, IV drugs and biologics such as insulin and the popular anti-rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira.

In addition, FDA will provide manufacturers the opportunity to offer a lower price for imported versions of drugs they sell overseas. This might include medications like insulin for diabetes and drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disorders and cancer, HHS said. This second pathway, which will require FDA to write new guidance "in the coming months," would potentially be open to all products and countries, Sharpless said.

"FDA is laying out a framework, for the first time in its history, for drug imports that will save money," Azar said on a call with reporters. "We all know how unfair it is that other countries are paying lower prices for the same drugs, and we're taking action."

Republican health leaders in Congress offered measured support for the administration's plan. Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the upper chamber's health committee, welcomed it but said FDA must maintain its "gold standard for safety and effectiveness." Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, praised Trump's engagement on drug prices and said he "looked forward to continuing our work with HHS and FDA as we explore these paths to lower drug prices."

Some Senate Democrats pointed out that the administration has refused to support direct government negotiations with drugmakers — a top priority for them — while now advancing a plan to import medicines from a country that does.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said it would be a better idea to “give the federal government the same rights the Canadian government and the British and other governments have, which is to negotiate for drug prices.”

Azar opened up to the idea of importation after Trump pushed him to work with Florida officials on it earlier this year. Four states have passed legislation to import drugs in recent years, but states must receive HHS approval before the programs can move forward.

"What we’re saying today is, ‘We’re open, there is a pathway,'" Azar said, as long as importers can convince FDA they can protect safety and lower prices.

The Trump administration this month faced a couple of high-profile defeats in its push to lower drug costs. A federal judge threw out a rule that would have required drugmakers to disclose list prices in TV ads. Days later, the administration withdrew a rule that would have required insurers and companies managing drug benefits to provide any discounts directly to patients in most government health plans.

The White House, meanwhile, has been working with the Senate on a drug pricing package that would cap Medicare drug costs, but that’s been met with resistance from some Republican lawmakers and drugmakers.

The importation plan outlined Wednesday could face opposition from Canadian officials, who have warned the Trump administration they will oppose any U.S. plans to buy prescription drugs that could cause shortages or raise drug prices in Canada. Pharmacists there are already complaining about growing shortages.

Azar said he would leave the Canadian objection issue to drug importers to address. “It would be premature to speculate on the specific impact of these pathways on any country," an HHS spokesperson added.

Asked why a drug company would want to lower a price on a drug it can charge more for in the United States, Azar said "perverse incentives” such as rebates to prescription benefit managers had driven up list prices. Under the proposal, the drugs could be imported in a way that would give savings directly to consumers. The details, he added, “would be for [manufacturers] to figure out.”
Sudan’s Parties to Resume Talks on Constitutional Declaration
FFC delegates at the meeting with the TMC on the political and constitutional documents on 16 July 2019 (AFP Photo)

July 30, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Talks on the constitutional declaration for the transitional period are expected to resume on Thursday after the return of the negotiating delegation of the Forces for Freedom and Change from El-Obeid where five protesters were killed by the security forces.

The discussions had to resume on Tuesday but the killing of protesters forced the opposition coalition to halt the political process to mark its condemnation for the excessive use of force and called to hold the perpetrators accountable.

However, Sudan Tribune learnt that the technical teams continued their works on the sticking points on Tuesday and finalizing the final draft of the declaration ahead of the resumption negotiations on Thursday according to several sources as few said they can join the negotiating table even on Wednesday evening.

For its part, the joint mediation did not issue any statement to clarify the situation following the recent developments.

However, opposition sources denied rumours about the suspension of the negotiations because of the events of El Obeid, confirming reports that the National Consensus Forces made that proposal, but it was rejected by the other FFC components.

"The majority agreed on the need to accelerate the completion of negotiations and the formation of the government to fill gaps that open the door to the situation of military expansion and chaos," according to a leading opposition member who declined to be identified.

The opposition groups seem more inclined to believe that elements from the former regime in the army and the Rapid Support Forces are behind the attacks on protesters to hinder the political process and create chaos in the country.

However, they criticize the ruling military council for its intertie and call to purge the army and other security services from the military institutions.

Further, the junta until now did not ban the political activities of al-Bashir’s National Congress Party which even released a statement on Tuesday accusing the military council responsible for this long constitutional vacuum in the country and the security chaos.

In a related development, a delegation from the Transitional Military Council headed by the Vice-Chairman of the Political Committee, Lt-Gen Jamal Omer, travelled to El-Obeid to assess the situation there after the brutal repression of protesters and to studies the measures taken by the North Kordofan state military governor.

Al-Burhan Condemns Killing of Sudanese Schoolchildren
Sudanese soldiers from the Rapid Support Forces stand on their vehicle during a military-backed rally, in Mayo district, south of Khartoum,on June 29, 2019 (AP Photo)

July 30, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The head of the Transitional Military Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, regretted the killing of schoolchildren during a protest in El-Obeid on Monday, saying it was a punishable crime.

"What happened in El-Obeid of North Kordofan is unfortunate and sad. The killing of peaceful citizens is unacceptable, a crime that requires immediate and deterrent accountability," Burhan said according to the official news agency SUNA.

In separate statements broadcast by the satellite channel "Al-Hadath", al-Burhan added that the killing of civilians must accelerate the ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over the formation of a transitional authority.

"Delaying the transition will lead to more losses and economic deterioration," he said.

"We have directed the negotiating delegation to overcome minor issues and reach a comprehensive agreement for the transition," he added.

He pointed out that spending a long time in the discussion of minor issues hampered the agreement, stressing that "our participation in government is a partnership, not a powersharing."

Further, he commented on the sticking point of political immunity of the members of Sovereign Council which will include some military saying it was not an issue of concern for them.

"We did not demand immunity and we do not want it, and it was a proposal by a joint technical committee," he said.

Also, he pointed to the need to achieve peace during the transitional period saying that "peace is one of the main tasks that must be implemented during the transitional period."

U.S. Considered Sanctions on Sudan’s Military Before to Put it On Pause: Report
RSF leader and TMC deputy head Mohamed Hamdan Daglo Hemetti surrounded by his fighters in Khartoum on 18 May 2019 (RSF photo)

July 26, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The United States put aside plans to impose sanctions on the ruling Transitional Military Council in Sudan after fears that it would disturb the fragile ongoing discussions on power transfer to a civilian rule.

According to the Foreign Policy, the sanctions were debated during a series of meetings held in mid-June after a bloody raid on the main pro-democracy sit-in Khartoum that resulted in the killing of over a hundred protesters by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on 3 June.

"But those plans were tabled, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations, so as not to upset the fragile peace talks between civilian leaders and figures in Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC)," said the magazine in an article published on Friday.

The article further said that Donald Booth, U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan was one of those who called to reconsider sanctions’ imposition and to stop the process for fear that they would derail the talks on power handover between the TMC and the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC).

On the other hand, the State Department spokesperson dismissed that Washington had mulled sanctions against the TMC and particularly, the RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (Hemetti) who is also the deputy chairman of the ruling junta in Sudan.

Hemetti denied ordering the brutal attack on the protesters and insinuated that Islamists officers in the army who integrated the RSF were behind the raid.

Also, the TMC formed an investigation committee but its findings were not published as the junta recently agreed to form an independent body to probe the attack.

The Foreign Policy pointed out that lawmakers and activists called for sanctions imposition on the junta.

Joshua White, the director of policy and analysis at The Sentry, an investigative team of the advocacy group Enough Project said that sanctions combined with diplomacy "probably the best chance the Sudanese people have" to bring the military council to hand over power to civilians.

Also, Cameron Hudson, a former U.S. diplomat and National Security Council staffer who worked on Sudan issues called to show clear support for Sudanese opposition FFC during the ongoing negotiations with the military junta.

"The fact of the matter is, one side is a brutal military ruling junta that has shown every willingness to put down peaceful protests with force, and the other side is a democratic uprising of civilians who want freedom after 30 years of dictatorship," he said, before to conclude "It feels like a no-brainer what side we should be on."

Last May, the United States initiated a group of Sudan Friends that includes Egypt, Ethiopia, European Union, France, Germany, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, United Nations, and the United States, in addition to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

The international forum is aimed at supporting the democratic transition in Sudan and preventing a Libya-styled civil war. Also, they plan to provide financial support to the east African country.

Sudanese Generals Are No Stranger to Coup d’états and Attempts
By Mahmoud A. Suleiman

A Coup d’état or a Putsch is defined as the one who takes part in a putsch and secretly plot and suddenly execute attempt to overthrow a government. However, when we delve into linguistics and their historic origins that relate to the native Swiss German, putsch originally meant "knock" or "thrust," but these days both German and English speakers use it to refer to the kind of government overthrow also known as a coup d’état.

As the delving into linguistics is necessitated by the phenomenon of the no ending series military Coup d’états which plagued the post-independence from the former Anglo-Egyptian Condominium on the dawn of Sunday the First January 1956, I find myself is obliged to be more pedantic into this linguistic digression, pardon me, my dear readers.

As of July 27th 2019, the Sudanese December 19th 2018 Revolution has become as old as 220 Days, 7.233 Months, during which the plethora of neverending negotiations between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Forces of Declaration of Freedom and Change (FDFC) continued unabated due to and as a result of evasion and intransigence by the military junta, which is inseparable part of the ruling regime of the repugnant National Congress Party (NCP) led by deposed dictator Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir and his entourage in the International Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM) Khartoum branch ! During the period of seven and a half months since the outbreak of the December Revolution, there have been a series of attempts at military coups, allegedly Seven, to bring back the arbitrary regime of the ousted former (NCP) and its deposed ruler to life for the vicious circle of empowerment and crimes to continue at the expense of the disenfranchised Sudanese citizens. That ongoing plot can be easily understood if one knew firsthand that all the Military Junta in the Transitional Military Council (TMC) with the exception of General Mohammed Hamdan Dogolo – aka Hamedti- are members of the former National Congress Party (NCP).

According to news media reports, especially the authentic Sudan tribune cyber journal, the issue of July 25, 2019, indicated that Sudan continues to arrest military officers and former officials after the failed coup.

Historically, Sudan witnessed a plethora of military coups and coup attempts amounted since the dawn of Sunday the First of January 1956. The Sudanese army has not fought any war to protect the borders of the land of Sudan from the incursion of foreign armies and evidence that the State of Egypt has occupied the two regions of Sudan which are Halayeb and Shalatin, while Ethiopia occupies the area of Fashaga. Thus, the biggest evidence is that SAF forces have become domesticated and castrated; pardon me for the use of those two words. It is evident that the duty to defend the rights of the homeland by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) has gone with the Dictatorship priorities.

History of Military coups in Sudan indicates that the east African country, unfortunately, witnessed and suffered not less than, to exaggerate, fifteen between a successful military coup and a failed attempt. As of 8 June 2019, the Transitional Military Council (TMC) is the current military junta governing Sudan. It was established on 11 April 2019 after the 2019 Sudanese coup d’état and is formally headed by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Inspector of the Armed Forces, after Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf resigned as leader one day following the coup. Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo ("Hemeti") is formally the deputy leader but seen as the de facto real leader.

Dagalo, formally the deputy leader of the Council, is the commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) as holding more real power in the Council than al-Burhan. The (RSF) is the immediate successor organisation to the former Janjaweed militia, after being cloned. According to news media outlets Some of the Council’s other known members include were General Jalaladdin AL sheikh, a former deputy director of security, Lieutenant-General Al-Tayeb Babikir Ali Fidail, who led the public order police (POP/PDF), and Lieutenant General Omer Zain al-Abidin served as the leader of the junta’s political committee. All three tendered their resignations on 24 April 2019. General Gamal Omer of the TMC commented publicly on the 30 June 2019 mass de ministrations, attributing the responsibility for ten deaths to the protest organisers.

It is noteworthy that the Transitional Military Council (TMC) claimed several times during 2019 that a coup d’état attempt had been foiled and that those responsible had been arrested.

As of Thursday 25 July 2019, the TMC had not named the alleged coup plotters of the first four coup attempts. As of 25 July 2019, the TMC had not named the alleged coup plotters of the first four coup attempts. On 12 July 2019, Gamal Omer Ibrahim of the TMC reported the fourth coup attempt, stating that twelve army and National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) officers had attempted a coup d’état against the TMC without naming the alleged conspirators. Furthermore, on 25 July, the TMC stated that a combined military-Islamist coup attempt had occurred. The TMC stated that it had arrested the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lieutenant-General Hashim Abdel Muttalab Ahmed; Major-General Nasr al-Din Abdel Fattah; former Foreign Minister, Ali Ahmed Karti; the commander of the Central District, Major-General Bahar Ahmed; former Minister of Minerals, Kamal Abdel Latif; and Secretary-General of the Islamic Movement, Zubair Ahmed al-Hassan.

According to the BBC News that a spokesman insisted the army did not seek power and Sudan’s future would be decided by the protesters - but said the army would maintain public order. Nevertheless, Protesters are still out in Khartoum, fearing the coup leaders are too close to ousted ruler Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir.

The rhetoric of the military junta (TMC) goes on when Lt-Gen Omar Zain al-Abidin, who heads the military council’s political committee, said on Friday "The solutions will be devised by those in protest; “you, the people, will provide the solutions for all economic and political issues. We have come with no ideology; we have come here to maintain order and security to provide the opportunity for the people of Sudan to achieve the change they aspire to.

History of military coups in Sudan begins from Abboud’s coup of November 17th 1958 to Nimeiri’s 25th May 1969, Al-Bashir’s 30 June 1989, the series that does not break and two popular revolutions in 21st October 1964 and in April 1985 and Followed by a third revolution on December 19, 2018.

Ghassan Charbel, Editor in Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper says: if Libya lost four decades under Colonel Moammar Kaddafi, Sudan lost three decades under Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir. It is no exaggeration to say that Sudan, since its independence in 1956, spent a lost age among the generals and uprisings until it became exhausted by the current change. The succession of revolutions and coups drained the resources and stability of the country, rupturing its unity and dwarfing its map. The prowess of the Sudanese parties to dispel the democratic sweeps is not matched by the military’s ability to seize any chance of regaining control and seals.

The youth of Sudan after independence has been lost between the hammer of blatant foreign intervention and the ensuing episodes of military Coup d’états.

In the wake of the observation and follow-up of the origins of the successful military coups and failed coup attempts one discovers that the origin of most of the military coups that succeeded and ruled were supported by political elements with ideologies from the far right in the case of the coup of General Ibrahim Abboud, who was supported by Mr Abdullah Khalil who was belonging to the Umma Party and the religious Ansar sect. Whereas Jaafer al-Nimeri was supported by the leftmost components formed of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), in addition to the Arab nationalists and the Nasserites. The coup led by Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir was supported and planned by the National Islamic Front (NIF), which is a branch of the International Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM) the Khartoum branch. On the other hand, one finds that other attempted military coups rarely had prominent ideological support.

Now let us review the History of Military Coups in Sudan Source of which being the Middle East Newspaper is as follows:

From Abboud 1958 to Nimeiri, Al-Bashir A series that does not break and two popular revolutions Followed by a third revolution on December 19, 2018.

Sudan’s modern history has been plagued with military coups. Since the independence of Sudan in 1956 and today, 63 years later, there have been more than 11 coups along with an unlimited number of coup attempts, and two popular revolutions have overthrown two powerful military regimes. Since independence, the military has ruled for 45 years, extending over three convulsions, as opposed to 11 years for democratic civilian governments for three periods as well. Other coups occurred during periods of military rule and civilians. The coup d’états of Ibrahim Aboud in 1958 (6 years), Jaafar Nimeiri 1969 (16 years), and Omar al-Bashir in 1989 (continuing for 30 years) are the most prominent in Sudan.

* The coup of Ibrahim Abboud 1958 - 1964:
It was the first coup d’état in Sudan against the civil government headed by Abdullah Khalil (from the Umma Party), which took power from the British colonizer. It was led by General Ibrahim Abboud on 17 February 1958 and was known for the coup of General Aboud.

* The coup of Major General Abdel Wahab 1960 (not successful):
During the reign of General Abboud, there were several coups, most notably the coup of Major General Ahmed Abdel Wahab, Mohieddin Ahmed Abdallah and Abdel Rahim Shannan. It was in 1960, two years after Abboud’s coup. Instead of imprisoning or executing them, as usual in military governments, the coupists were absorbed into the government.

* Al-Rashid Al-Taher coup:
In 1963, al-Rashid al-Tahir Bakr, the first secretary-general of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ali Hamid and Kubaida, was assassinated. Five officers were executed and others were imprisoned, including the mastermind of the coup d’état al-Rashid al-Tahir, the former justice minister.
The coup of the junior officers, the group of free officers, including Lt. Col. Jaafar Nimeiri (who later succeeded in the success of his coup in 1969) and a number of students of the military college and the failure of the coup and the officers were removed to locations far from Khartoum, where the coups are carried out.

October 21, 1964:
The first popular revolution took place in the Arab and African world, where it was launched from the University of Khartoum, and the streets of the capital were subdued against Abboud’s regime, forcing the leaders of the Sudanese Armed Forces to take the lead in the popular uprising that overthrew Sudan’s first military coup and ruled the country for six years. The second civil government began to rule the country until May 1969.

* Nimeiri coup May 1969:
On May 25, 1969, Colonel Jaafar Mohammed Nimeiri led a coup with the participation of the Sudanese Communist Party and the Arab nationalists. Al Nimeiri continued to rule for 16 years and his rule was changed by a coup d’état.

* Hashim al-Atta coup 1971:
He was led by Major Hashem al-Atta on 19 July 1971 with a group of officers belonging to the Sudanese Communist Party. He seized power for three days but Nimeiri regained power with Libyan support from Muammar Gaddafi and a popular movement at home. The officers who participated in the coup were executed by Hashim al-Atta, Babiker al-Nur, Sawar al-Zahab, Farouk Othman Hamdallah and others, and a number of the leadership of the Sudanese Communist Party, most notably his secretary-general Abdul Khaliq Mahjoub, the union leader Ahmed al-Sheikh and southern leader Joseph Garang, and hundreds of communist cadres.

* Hassan Hussein’s coup (not successful):
Signed on 5 August 1975 and led by Lieutenant Hassan Hussein and his group, belonging to the Islamic trend. He was sentenced to death by firing squad after being arrested during shooting and was injured by his wounds during his arrest.

* Coup Mohamed Nour Saad (did not work):
Signed on July 2, 1977 under the leadership of Brigadier General Mohamed Nour Saad, known in Sudan as "the invasion of mercenaries" where the National Front for the Opposition abroad tried to unite the Umma Party led by Sadiq al-Mahdi, the Democratic Union led by the late Sharif Hussein Hindi, And with the help of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The coup was carried out by moving from the Libyan border along with the movement of their internal groups of students and soldiers in the army. The coup failed, coup leaders were executed by firing squad and the streets of Khartoum saw battles in which hundreds, mostly Darfuris, were killed.

* The April uprising and the rule of Marshall Suwar Al-Dahab 1985:
Is the second popular revolution taking place in Sudan, the Arab world and Africa after the revolution of October 1964, overthrew military rule. The people went out in all corners of the capital and the region, demanding the end of the rule of Nimeiri, on 27 March until 6 April 1985. Nimeiri had left for the United States for treatment. The army was led by the Chief of Staff at the time, Marshal Hassan Abdul Rahman, From April 1985, then minister of defense Nimeiri, and sentenced for a year in the transitional period and handed over power voluntarily after free elections came to the government of Sadiq al-Mahdi elected in 1986.

* The coup d’état of President Omar al-Bashir took place on 30 June 1989 under the leadership of Brigadier General Omar Hassan al-Bashir and with the participation of the National Islamic Front led by Hassan al-Turabi, and there were several coup attempts during which the most famous:
The coup d’état of Ramadan 1990 was (not successful) took place in April 1990, one year after the coup d’état of Bashir and his Islamic group. This attempt was known as the coup d’état of Ramadan. The attempt was carried out during that holy month. The coup was led by Abdelgader Al-Kadarow and Khalid Al-Zain and others. All 28 officers were from brigade to lieutenant and others.

March 2004 coup (not successful) is an attempted coup in March 2004 accused of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) led by Hassan al-Turabi, and arrested a number of party leaders and some officers, and accused Dr. Hajj Adam Yusuf, the current Sudanese vice president, Fled to the Eritrean capital Asmara and returned after two years reconciled with the regime and appointed a deputy to Bashir.

May 2008 under the leadership of its late leader Dr. Khalil Ibrahim - was a bold attempt, as these forces entered from the borders of Darfur to the Sudanese capital to overthrow the regime. The two countries, Chad and Libya, have been accused of being behind the attempt. A number of participants have been arrested and sentenced to death but have not yet been executed. They are in the famous Kobar Prison, including Abdel Aziz Nour-Usher, half-brother of Dr. Khalil Ibrahim.

Stewart Stafford who was born in New York City to Irish parents and whose family moved back to Ireland when he was three years old and has lived there ever since has been quoted as saying: “A traitor only becomes one if their plot is discovered. The imposition of guilt means nothing to those who feign loyalty. More skilled conspirators wield treason as a clinical tool of regime change and political expediency. They then, with their own hand writing history, such traitors may wear the clothes of patriots.”

Eduardo Hughes Galeano the Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist considered, among other things, "global soccer’s pre-eminent man of letters" and "a literary giant of the Latin American left", has been quoted as said: “Most of wars or military coups or invasions are done in the name of democracy against democracy”.

Dr Mahmoud A. Suleiman is an author, columnist and a blogger. His blog is

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Sudan’s Military Reforms Security Services
Abu Bakr Mustafa (aka Demblab) GIS General Director. (ST photo)

July 29, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The ruling military junta decided to reform the National Intelligence Security Services (NISS) and to change its name to the General Intelligence Service (GIS).

Recently, several members of the ruling military council repeated they would reform the infamous NISS and limit its activities to the intelligence and counterintelligence activities only.

In a short statement released by the official news agency, SUNA, the Transitional Military Council announced that its chairman Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, issued the constitutional decree No. (33) to change the NISS name to GIS and amended several articles of the National National Security Act of 2010.

The move comes as there are calls by some opposition forces to disband the whole NISS and to create a new agency. But the TMC and several opposition groups rejected this proposition.

GIS Director-General Lt-Gen Abu Bakr Demblab said that the reform comes in the context of the restructuring the agency and to keep up with the regime change in the country.

The agency has become more professional and participates in the protection of the country and the maintenance of national security under complex threats surrounding the region and the region.

In accordance with the new reform, the GIS reportedly will no longer be authorized to arrest people or carry out search operations.

Sudan’s Opposition Dispatches Delegation to Assess Crackdown on Protesters
Youth in Omdurman protest to condemn the killing of 5 students in El-Obeid on 29 July 2019 (ST photo)

July 29, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) Monday said that its negotiating delegation with the military council travelled the capital of Noth Kordofan to inspect the situation on the ground after the killing of five people there.

The sudden trip takes place after the brutal crackdown on a student protest in El-Obeid that resulted in the death of five people including four students.

Also, it aimed to show the opposition’s solidarity with the victims amid calls within the coalition to suspend the negotiations sine die et to resume nationwide protests to oust the military council.

The delegation is composed of Omer al-Digair, Ali al-Rayah Sanhouri, Madani Abbas and Ibrahim al-Amin.

It is not clear if the talks on the constitutional declaration between the military council and the opposition will resume Tuesday as scheduled by the technical committees continued their meetings on Monday evening.

Mohamed Dia al-Din, an FFC leading member told Sudan Tribune that the negotiating team will assess the situation in El-Obeid after the bloody crackdown on the youth protesters.

He further said the negotiations with the Transitional Military Council on the constitutional declaration can be postponed indefinitely.

However, Sudan Tribune learnt that the FFC groups rejected a proposal by the National Consensus Forces, a block of left groups.

The killing of five protesters in El-Obeid created a rift within the opposition groups as the Sudanese Communist Party called to suspend the negotiations and escalate popular pressure on the TMC while others like the National Umma Party pointed an accusing finger to the partisans of the former regime.

The NUP in its statement said that the military junta bears full responsibility for the successive crimes committed from 11 April until today and blamed it for delaying the arrest of the perpetrators and their trial.

The statement further called to expedite the completion of negotiations on the transfer of power, without delay, and to hand it over to a civilian government that can put an end to such crimes.

The ruling military council did not issue a statement on the use of excessive force against the peaceful protesters, but it used to deny ordering such attacks and point to infiltrators or unidentified elements.

Observers blamed the ruling junta for not taking needed measures to prevent the Islamist elements that integrated the RSF militias from using these forces to attack the protesters.

Youth in Khartoum state and other regions took to the street to condemn the continued killing of peaceful protesters by the security forces.

The attack was condemned by all the opposition groups including the Sudan Liberation Movement - Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) which is not part of the opposition FFC.

The crimes committed by the Council put those who "recognized the ruling junta and accepted its legitimacy in an "embarrassing moral position as they watch powerlessly the blood baths against the defenceless people".

The group which refused to negotiate with the central government called to continue the resistance until the overthrow of "al-Bashir’s generals and their accomplices."

Sudanese Opposition Rejects Attorney General’s Report on 3 June Massacre
A protester flashes the victory sign in front of burning tires and debris on road 60, near Khartoum's army headquarters, in Khartoum, Sudan, Monday, June 3, 2019 (AP photo)

July 27, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese opposition Forces for Freedom Change (FFC) rejected the findings of an investigation commission into the brutal attack on the pro-democracy sit-in saying it did not identify those responsible for the raid and did not disclose the true number of victims.

On Saturday, the head of the investigation committee of the Attorney General, Fatteh Al-Rahman Saeed told a news conference that 87 people were killed, and 168 were wounded during an attack carried out by the security forces to disperse a sit-in outside the army headquarters in Khartoum on 3 June.

Saeed, also, denied claims of sexual assaults and rape, burning of bodies during the attack, adding that the cadavers found on the River Nile had no relation to the attack on the sit-in. He added they ordered to open criminal proceedings against seven military officers including a major-general.

In a press conference held after the announcement of the findings, FFC spokesman Ismail Altaj recalled that the Attorney General was consulted by the military council before the attack saying "The Attorney General’s Office is suspected of participating in the June 3 massacre".

The report "is undoubtedly a shock to the Sudanese street, the regional and international community," he added pointing that nearly 130 civilians were killing according to the pro-democracy medical group Central Committee for Sudan Doctors.

Regarding the security forces’ responsibility for the human casualties, Altaj who is a former judge stressed on the need to determine all those involved in the operation saying that such a "massacre requires preparations and plans" and cannot be limited to seven people.

The TMC officials repeatedly denied their involvement in the attack but admitted they discussed and ordered to remove roadblocks and barricades from an area not far from the sit-in area. This area called Colombia was allegedly was used for drug dealing.

"This report confirms the dire need to reform the justice institutions in Sudan, including the Office of the Attorney General", said the FFC spokesman before to conclude that. "The judicial organs are still under the control of the National Congress Party" of ousted President Omer al-Bashir.


Sudanese took to the streets of the capital in several neighbourhoods to express their rejection of the report about the attack.

The police used tear gas to disperse protesters who rebuilt the barricades in the streets as they used to do during the months of the uprising.

The opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) rejected the findings of the inquiry and insisted on the need for an independent investigation.

"As expected, the commission of investigation (...) released a report that was drafted with the sole objective of hiding the facts and burying them in the rubble," the SCoP said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

The FFC and the TMC agreed to form an independent investigation committee to probe the attack on main protest site but also on the other killings committed after the 11 April 2019.

The military council formed a military committee but it did not release the conclusions of its report.

Aborted Coup Was Natural Result of Failure to Dismantle Pillars of Sudan’s Former Regime: Opposition
Lt Gen Hashim Abdel Muttalab Ahmed, SAF Joint Chiefs of Staff

July 25, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Yasir Arman, deputy SPLM-North leader and leading members of the Forces for Freedom and Change said the failed coup was a natural result of the failure of the military council to dismantle military and security pillars of the ousted regime.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) said on Wednesday that it had thwarted a coup attempt and arrested a number of senior military officers and dignitaries of the former regime in connection with the coup.

In comments about the failed coup, Arman blamed the ruling TMC for keeping intact all the components of the former regime despite the repeated calls to clean the state institutions from the partisans of the former Islamist regime.

"The pillars of the former regime that dominate the security sector and penetrate all its components, control the economic sector and the other vital organs of the state will not stop attempts to return to power and to restore the ousted regime," he said in statements to Sudan Tribune.

"The repetition of coup attempts is due to the indulgence of the military council with the putschists and its failure to dismantle the pillars of empowerment of the ousted regime which are the material basis of the coups," he further said.

After the power takeover on 11 April by the former security committee of the former regime following months of nationwide protests, the transitional military council refused to purge the army, vital security and economic institutions from the elements of the regime.

The arrested military commanders like chief of staff Lt General, Hashim Abdel Muttalib Ahmed and Commander of the Khartoum Central Military District Major General Bahr Ahmed Bahr both have made public statements on 31 May denouncing the pro-democracy sit-in and called for its removal.

Arman asserted that the forces of the former regime surrounded the military council and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and sought to drive a wedge between them and the forces of the revolution. He further said that the slow transition to civilian rule and the achievement of comprehensive peace was in the interests of the forces of the former regime.

Accordingly, he advised the TMC to try the military responsible for the aborted coup and to speed up the power transfer process to a civilian administration.

"Political stability and democracy require the restructuring of the Sudanese army, eliminating the influence of the forces of the former regime in the security sector and outside it. In addition, there is a need to find new security arrangements to include the forces of the armed groups, the RSF and the old army in one professional Sudanese army that reflects the composition and diversity of Sudan and protects the citizen and democracy," he emphasized.

The opposition FFC and the TMC will resume talks on the constitutional declaration on Saturday amid hopes that the failed coup will help to restore confidence between the two parties and accelerate the formation of a civilian-led government.

Sudan Talks Cancelled After Shooting of Child Protesters in School Uniforms
Rapid Support Forces opened fire on peaceful protest against shortages in El-Obaid

Jason Burke and Zeinab Mohammed Salih in Khartoum
Tue 30 Jul 2019 12.35 BST

Sudanese protest leaders have cancelled planned talks with the country’s ruling generals as they visited a town where at least five school children were shot dead on Monday.

The head of Sudan’s ruling military council had earlier said there must be immediate accountability over the shooting, state news agency SUNA reported, and the United Nations has called for an investigation into what protesters said was a “massacre.

The children died when security forces opened fire on a protest in El-Obeid in central Sudan. The oldest was 16, the youngest 14, locals said.

“There will be no negotiations today as we are still in El-Obeid,” Taha Osman, a negotiator from the protest movement told Agence France-Presse by telephone from the town.

Witnesses described how militia from the feared Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fired on teenagers, many of whom were wearing school uniforms and carrying school bags, as they marched peacefully in protest at shortages of water, electricity and public transport in El-Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan state. There were also reports of at least one adult casualty.

Rashid Mustafa, a relative of Abdulwahab Abdo, a 17-year-old who was shot dead, told the Guardian that the student sustained wounds to the stomach and kidneys.

“His younger brother chanted on a video that went viral on social media saying that, blood for blood, we won’t accept compensation,” Mustafa said.

The shooting was one of the bloodiest incidents in Sudan since the RSF killed more than 120 people at a protest site in Khartoum, the capital, last month. The government claims far fewer died in that attack.

The RSF are commanded by Mohammed Dagalo, known as Hemedti, who is seen as the most powerful of the military rulers in charge of Sudan since the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir in April.

The deaths on Monday prompted further protests in El-Obeid, where markets were shut, schools suspended and a curfew was imposed. Authorities announced a state of emergency in the state and shut down internet access. The army was deployed in the city.

There were also demonstrations in Khartoum, Omdurman and Port Sudan as news of the shooting spread.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, one of a group of unions and professional bodies that helped lead months of protests against Bashir, said many people were injured in the incident in El-Obeid.

There was no immediate statement from the state security services or from Sudan’s military leaders.

Opposition activists have kept up their demonstrations since April, pressing for the military to speed up the move to civilian rule and calling for justice for the people killed last month in Khartoum.

The shootings have been condemned by the United Nations and some international powers.

Abdullah Fadil, a Unicef representative in Sudan, said: “No child should be buried in their school uniform. The children, aged between 15 and 17 years old, were protesting the commencement of the school year amid the political uncertainty in Sudan …. Unicef calls on the government to investigate and hold all perpetrators of violence against children accountable.”

The main opposition Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition is negotiating with the ruling military council to finalise an agreement for a three-year transition to elections.

The two sides signed a deal on 17 July setting out the transition’s institutions. But talks have been repeatedly delayed since then owing to disagreement over the wording of a constitutional declaration to determine the role of a ruling council to govern Sudan.

A new round of talks is due to start on Tuesday. It will cover issues including the powers of the joint civilian-military governing body, the deployment of security forces and immunity for generals over protest-related violence.

The power-sharing deal already agreed provides for the establishment of a governing body of six civilians and five generals. It will oversee the formation of a transitional civilian government and parliament to rule for 39 months, after which elections will be held.

Siddiq Youssef, a senior leader of the Sudanese communist party, called for the FFC to halt negotiations until human rights violations by the military rulers had stopped.

The British embassy called for an independent investigation into Monday’s shooting. “Those responsible must be held to account,” it said.