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Resistance Committees: ‘El Burhan speech a threat to Sudanese revolution’

August 26 - 2020 KHARTOUM / OMDURMAN
Cartoon by Omar Dafallah for Radio Dabanga
Cartoon by Omar Dafallah for Radio Dabanga

The Resistance Committees Coordination in Khartoum has described the statements of Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Chairman of the Sovereign Council, earlier this week as “a serious and direct threat to the revolution”.

In recent protest marches in the country, the protestors accused the new rulers in the country of procrastinating the implementation of the three demands of the revolution, freedom, peace, and justice. They also demanded acceleration of the removal of officials and companies affiliated with the regime of President Al Bashir, ousted in April last year.

In a speech at the Army Command in Khartoum on Sunday, El Burhan denied rumours that attribute the economic crisis to SAF companies and investments and “their manipulation of the economy”.

He further stated that his troops will stand firmly against anyone who intends to steal “the glorious December revolution”.

On Monday, in his address to army troops at the Wadi Sayedna military area in Omdurman, El Burhan accused certain parties of attempting “to kidnap the revolution and its youth”.

“These losers want to hold the military responsible for their failures,” he said. “There are well-organised campaigns seeking to dismantle the army and its economic companies in order to break up the country.”

He pointed to poor planning and management as the causes of the current economic crisis.

El Burhan stated in his speech that in recent investigations, the army counted 450 so-called “government companies” not linked with SAF. More than 220 companies are operating outside the financial system.

“They do not pay taxes or customs, and the records and scope of their work are unknown,” the military leader said.

He further accused the current government of not cooperating with the army. “We offered the government all assistance concerning these companies, but it did not act.”

More than 200 companies are affiliated with the SAF, which is composed of the army and the Rapid Support Forces militia*. These companies operate in vital fields, without contributing to the public treasury. The government of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok demands the proceeds transferred to the Ministry of Finance, while the army maintains the ownership.

El Burhan concluded by saying that the army will always defend the Sudanese territory, and stands behind the choices of the people.

Resistance Committees Coordination

The Resistance Committees Coordination in Khartoum however described El Burhan’s statements as “suspicious”. In a press statement on Tuesday, they called on the Sudanese for more vigilance, caution and organisation, and announced that they will continue their “peaceful public pressure until the course of the revolution has been corrected”.

The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) in the country must accelerate the convening of an “all-inclusive Conference of the Forces of the Revolution” in order to restructure the FFC coalition of activists, political parties, and civil society organisations, and “broaden the base of participation”.

The Council of Ministers should “immediate halt the current economic policies of the government and adopt alternative policies favourable to the crushed majority of the Sudanese people”, and expedite the convening of the planned All-inclusive Economic Conference.

The Cabinet should further “immediately initiate practical steps for the Ministry of Finance's jurisdiction over companies belonging to SAF”, and decide on “the direct receipt of funds, assets and investments recovered by the Empowerment Elimination, Anti-Corruption, and Funds Recovery Committee**.

SPA

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the driving force behind the December revolution, reacted yesterday to El Burhan’s statements.  

According to the SPA, “El Burhan’s insistence on keeping this parallel economy outside the control of the state is hindering the road to the transformation of Sudan to a civilian-governed democratic Sudan, and has a clear intention to reverse the path of the revolution”.

“The continuation of the quasi-monopolistic activity of these companies deprives the public treasury of huge revenues that should be spent on the people. It is a means to weaken the civilian government and push it to the brink of collapse,” the SPA said in its statement.

“The obstinacy of the SAF concerning the companies’ file means that the Sudanese people will resort again to their proven methods of resistance.”

The SPA further called on the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance to request disclosure of the details of the military companies file and to report the facts to the public.

El Gedaref

In eastern Sudan, El Gedaref Salvation Initiative announced the launch of a demonstration on Thursday demanding the confiscation of companies belonging to military leaders.

The Initiative called on “the Resistance Committees, civil society organisations, revolutionary forces and all honourable people in El Gedaref” to participate in the protest march.


* The RSF, formed by the ousted Al Bashir regime in 2013, was integrated into SAF in August last year. At the same time however, the militia stays a force unto itself, commanded by ‘Hemeti’, who also is Deputy President of Sudan's Sovereign Council. The militia has reportedly built up a vast business empire that captures not only a large part of the country’s gold industry, but has huge interests in many sectors of the Sudanese economy as well.

** The Empowerment Elimination, Anti-Corruption, and Funds Recovery Committee was formed in November 2019 after the transitional government approved a law to dismantle the institutions set-up by the ousted regime of Omar Al Bashir and his National Congress Party (NCP). Since then, the committee has been instrumental in breaking the party’s grip on the political scene and state resources. Empowerment (tamkin) is the term with which the government of Al Bashir supported its affiliates in state affairs by granting them far-going privileges, including government functions and the setting-up of various companies.


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