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Sudanese President cements power in cabinet reshuffle

Mahir Abu Goukh
Sudan’s government reshuffle and revamp of the ruling party earlier this month consolidated the president’s influence, signalling a major political shift.
31.12.2013  |  Khartoum
udanese President Omar al-Bashir.
udanese President Omar al-Bashir.

The government reshuffle in early December has ousted politicians close to the centres of power: Sudan’s two vice presidents were ousted from their influential positions as deputies to Omar al-Bashir in the NCP.

Meanwhile, the merging of the ruling institutions, the NCP and the Islamic Movement (IM) will reinforce President Omar al-Bashir’s influence, analysts said.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced in the first week of December 2013 a governmental reshuffle and changes in the ruling NCP, the biggest political rejig since he took power in June 1989.

Previous changes amounted to cabinet reshuffles, whereas the December announcement involved the sudden exit of the two vice presidents.

Under these changes, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha was dismissed as Vice President and replaced by the Presidency Minister Bakri Hasan Saleh.

The former Federal Minister Hasbo Mohamed Abdurrahman replaced the former Vice President Hajj Adam Youssef in the presidency institution.

Ibrahim Ghandour was appointed as Vice President replacing Nafea Ali Nafea and the former replaced the latter as deputy for the NCP’s Chairman.

Among the prominent people dismissed during the reshuffle was Minister of Oil Awad Jazz, mastermind of the coup that brought al-Bashir to power in June 1989. He has been moved from one ministry to the other since 1991 until he was finally laid off.

The Minister of Irrigation and Dams Osama Abdullah and the Minister of Mining Kamal Abdullatif were also ousted.

Observers remarked that these changes extended to the upper echelons of power. As vice presidents, Taha and Nafea yielded much influence, including appointing the executive, legislative and partisan leaders on the federal and state level. That meant they shaped the government and its policies.

The leaders who lost their governmental and partisan positions also lost their places in the IM, an organisation which includes all those affiliated with the NCP’s Islamic Front that planned the coup which brought al-Bashir to power.

By combining the NCP and the IM, al-Bashir’s influence is boosted, giving direct control of official and partisan apparatuses. In effect, he has now got rid of all his possible rivals.

A key outstanding issue according to observers is the continued influence of Islamists within the ruling party. They retain control within the state and party.

The group of sacked politicians represent the strongest wing among the Islamists in the institutions of the government and the ruling party. These modifications came along with the exclusion of another group of Islamists from the ruling party, namely the representatives of the reformist stream headed by Ghazi Saladin, which will make the Islamists’ status and future