By Justin Ambago Ramba, MD
June 20, 2010 (SSNA) — The much-awaited Sudan’s central government cabinet formation has at last come out of President Omer al Bashir’s drawer. As he (al Bashir) promised earlier to have an inclusive cabinet, I think that he has for the first time lived up to his words as his latest cabinet contains all, the good, the bad and the ugly. However what such a cabinet is bent to achieve is obviously not anything near the area of unity, thus technically it should be called the Central Government, and not a government of national unity (GoNU) as we are falsely made to assume.
According to local NIF observers’ analysis on the London based Arabic daily, Al Sharq Al Awsat (18/06/2010), this new cabinet which is made of 77 ministers, is in fact controlled by 10 people who are either military men or security agents or both, in conformity with how the country was since the eve of the 30 June 1989 coup. The first three are of course Omer Bashir himself, Lt. Gen. Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein (Minister of Defence), and Lt. Gen. Bakry Hassan Saleh (Minister for Presidential Affairs). All three are intimate friends and they remain very close to each other since 1989. The militant government militia chief and new Foreign Minister, Ali Karti belongs to the above group considering his role in the ‘Holy War,’ against the South. This is the man who commanded the jihadist military force a.k.a the Popular Defence Forces.
While the rest of the group are all linked to the security and intelligence since NIF/NCP’s organisational structure operates through a great deal of over-lap between party work, spying and national security intelligence network, as represented by Dr. Awad Ahmed Abu Jaz, who have occupied several ministerial posts, and is now the new minister for Industry. (Former minister for presidential Affairs, then the ministry of Energy which witnessed the beginning of Sudan’s Oil boom during his office term, and the last minister of finance).
This second group as well includes the Minister for Human Resources Development, Kamal Abdel Latif (formerly the state minister at the Council of Ministers), the minister for Dams and Electricity, Osama Abdalla, the minister of Youth and Sports Haj Majid Sowar (a leading cadre in the Mujahidin Youth Organisation), as well as being very close to the inner circles to the many secret organisational offices and finally the state minister in the ministry of foreign affairs, Kamal Hassan Ali (formerly the led man in NCP Office in Egypt).
The composition of this new cabinet basically underscores the sensitivity of the period ahead, as the Sudan will face one of its most difficult hurdles and that is the Self Determination Referendum in the South, the Darfur Crisis, and how the country relates to the international community/ICC arrest warrants, and the mounting internal pressure for democratic transformation.