Search

 

Cablegate: Opposition Leaders in Northern State Discuss New Governor,

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #0086/01 0220930
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 220930Z JAN 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9748

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000086

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, AF/SE WILLIAMSON
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR, AND ALSO PASS USAID

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EFIN ECON EAID SU
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION LEADERS IN NORTHERN STATE DISCUSS NEW GOVERNOR,
DAMS, AND ELECTIONS

1. (U) SUMMARY: In separate meetings with econoff on January 17
and 21, leaders of the Kush Movement for Democracy and the Dal Dams
Committee criticized Northern State's newly appointed governor.
Contacts complained that the new governor is an outsider unfamiliar
with northern issues, that he was appointed for his experience in
security and intelligence, and that his first actions (dismissing
state officials and focusing on security in the north) do not
instill confidence. These northern opposition leaders also
discussed the status of dam construction in Kajbar, Dal, and Meroe,
and preparations for 2009 mid-term elections in Northern State. END
SUMMARY.

NEW GOVERNOR FOR NORTHERN STATE
-------------------------------
2. (SBU) On January 21, 2008 the pro-government Arabic daily "Akhir
Lahza" reported that Adil Al-Awat Salman replaced Mirghani Salih as
governor of Northern State. Abdullah Hotalib Edriss, leader of the
Dal Dam Committee and Deputy Secretary of the Kush Movement for
Democracy, verified this in a January 21 meeting with EconOff.
Edriss stated that Salman is a former National Islamic Front
hardliner, connected to the security apparatus, and, as an outsider
to Northern State, is ignorant of northern history, politics, and
culture. Edriss stated that the new governor replaces Salih, a
native Nubian. According to Edriss, Salih had a clash with the head
of the Dams Administration, Osama Abdullah, and was subsequently
fired. (Note: The Dams Administration is widely recognized as a
powerful bureau reporting directly to the Presidency. It has its
own security force and manages many of the largest and most
expensive infrastructure projects in Sudan. Its leader, Osama
Abdullah, is married to the sister of President Bashir's wife and is
reputed to be close to Bashir. End Note.) Edriss speculated that,
"Osama can do whatever he likes and he was probably behind this
decision."

3. (SBU) According to Edriss, upon entering his new position,
Salman stated that his top priority is to bring security to Northern
State. Commenting on these inaugural remarks, Edriss stated "The
north is one of the few areas in Sudan that is stable and secure, so
what does he mean by this?" Edriss and pro-government media also
reported that, in his first action as Governor, Salman dismissed
most of the Northern State's ministers and the governor's staff.
According to the pro-government newspaper "Akhir Lahza," Salih made
this decision without consulting NCP leaders, and, after making the
announcement, abruptly traveled to Khartoum with Dams Administration
leader Osama Abdalla.

DAM CONSTRUCTION
----------------
4. (SBU) In a January 17 meeting with econoff, Abdullah Abuzaid,
the head of Security for the Kush Movement for Democracy, reported
that construction on the Kajbar dam has temporarily stopped. (Note:
In June 2007, Sudanese security fired on protestors demonstrating
against the construction of a dam that, when completed, will flood
hundreds of villages and displace thousands of people near Kajbar.
The security forces killed four people and detained journalists
covering the event for approximately one week. End Note.) Edriss
confirmed that construction has been suspended, and credited the
protests, their media coverage, and his group's use of the internet
(especially its posting of video footage of the protests) for the
delay. Edriss stated that the surveying and planning equipment at
the Kajbar dam site has been moved to the northern dam in Dal. He
said that sources in the Dams administration told him that "the
internet really made leaders in the Dams administration afraid.
This is the first time that we have seen something like this from
Sudan on the internet and we have to be very careful."

5. (SBU) Edriss stated that although construction has not
progressed on the Kajbar and Dal dams, their future development
negatively impacts the region's economy. He stated that businessmen
are not willing to invest in a region that may soon be entirely
flooded. He said that the Dal Dams Committee and the Kajbar
Committee are starting to work together to push their activism
forward. Edriss also labeled President Omar Al-Bashir's January 17
inauguration of an international airport, a highway, and a bridge in
Meroe as "just a media event" and stated that "the 172 kilometers of
roads that they built are unnecessary roads that will not be used."


2009 MID-TERM ELECTIONS
-----------------------
6. (SBU) Edriss stated that the Kush Movement for Democracy is
attempting to unify northern politicl arties and build alliances
with national opposition parties such as the Umma party and the
Democratic Unionist party. He stated that "We must all be against
the NCP. We want to remove this party and will form alliances with
anyone who is against the NCP." Edriss said that the Kush Movement
for Democracy will look to the leadership of the Umma party of Sadiq
Al-Mahdi, the Democratic Unionist Party, and possibly the SPLM. He
also stated that there are many northern groups (such as the Nubian

conference, the Nubian Collection Communist Party, the Nubian
resistance movement, and the Karios Nubian party) that need to
unite. According to Edriss, the Karios Nubian party of Muhammad
Jalaal has been receptive to this initial push for unity by the Kush
Movement for Democracy. Edriss expressed hope that the Karios party
will soon unite into a single party with the 40,000 members of the
Kush Movement for Democracy.

7. (SBU) Edriss noted that he supports the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement "even though it is an agreement between the SPLM and the
NCP," because "it presents the opportunity for Sudan to become a
liberal and democratic state." Abdullah Abuzaid was less
enthusiastic about the CPA, saying "We in the north are the only
people that have not received a peace agreement and the rewards of a
wealth sharing agreement."

8. (SBU) COMMENT: Northern opposition movements such as the Kush
Movement for Democracy appear disorganized and undeveloped compared
to national opposition parties. Moreover, given that President
Bashir is from Shendi in Nile River State in the North, and has
actively promoted development projects in the North, it is difficult
for northern opposition parties to gain support. Nonetheless, some
northern opposition leaders such as Edriss appear to be politically
savvy, and their use of the internet as a tool for activism has been
effective in bringing their cause, and the brutality of the Sudanese
security apparatus, to international attention. As the 2009
elections approach, we expect national opposition parties to
intensify their courtship of these small, yet important northern
opposition parties.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC