Protests erupted in eastern Sudan’s Kassala on Saturday against the decision of Governor Saleh Ammar to replace three directors of state ministries. The governor calls for dialogue.
Sudanese Police Chief Ezzeldin El Sheikh, who is currently visiting Kassala at the request of the federal government, reported that he was able to persuade the protestors to postpone their protest march on Sunday for a period of 48 hours. In the meantime he would discuss the decision to replace the three directors with the state government.
The protestors are angry because the directors who were replaced belong to the Halenga tribe. They consider their dismissal as a direct attack on the tribe.
The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) in Kassala also denounced the governor’s decisions to replace the managers without consulting them. They feel that the FFC has the right to participate in decision making about nominations.
Governor Ammar defended his decision to replace the three managers on his Facebook page. He stated that these changes “should have been made on the first day of the victory of the glorious December revolution”.
He referred to the daily complaints of the people in Kassala demanding a comprehensive change in the government, because of “the terrible deterioration of all services in the state”.
Ammar stated any proposed solution will be taken seriously, provided it will be put forward in an atmosphere of dialogue and respect for all political and social communities, and not in “the current despicable racist speech by some Beja leaders about the Beni Amer and Habab clans”.
He pointed out that the political crisis in Kassala state is closely related to the crisis in Red Sea state. “Any solution to the problems in Kassala must come within the framework of jointly addressing the problems of eastern Sudan.”
“We are waiting for the prime minister to initiate a comprehensive dialogue between the various components of the East,” the Kassala governor stated. “This initiative must take place under the auspices of the Sovereign Council and with the active participation of the Forces for Freedom and Change coalition and the Resistance Committees. Such a dialogue is long overdue.”