|Doesn't this picture make you want to punch something?|
I wrote this post a few days ago and now I can’t find it, and that annoys me. Anyway, I was driving to a meeting in the ministry the other day and my boss didn’t have a car so I gave him a ride. This is the same guy whom I went to Port Sudan with and who told me that story about the state ministers who didn’t want to go to court over a breach in the constitution (e7na 7alab wala 3arab?). Anyway, we discussed several work-related matters, then it came into my head to ask him about a rumour I had heard of Albashir running for presidency again next year, after announcing that he was stepping down. My boss was surprised, and said he hadn’t heard of such a thing. Which pretty much meant that it wasn’t true, because if it was, he would’ve known about it before 99% of the government. So I asked him, do you think he should? Which of course made him immediately ask me what I thought. As usual, when talking politics (which I admit I know nothing about), I tried to sound cautiously intelligent, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t. I said I don’t think he should run again, but also that I don’t think the problem is just about him, it’s about the whole party. So even if he leaves someone else from the same gang will just carry on this legacy of destruction that’s been in place for the past 24 years. What he said in reply was mix of agreement with my opinion, the admission that it is not who leads the government but how it is led, that a large part of the problem is with the Sudanese culture (akhoy wu akhok wu kolana 7abayib), and other things. He thinks Albashir should run for presidency again. The choice of the next leader would depend on whether they augment the positive beliefs of the party or the negative, and Albashir is a good choice because, first of all, he’s nice. People like him. He’s approachable, feels strongly about community issues, and is more or less down to earth. Not like other candidates such as Ali Osman and Nafi3, whom aren’t that liked even within the party, let alone the country. Just imagine: Nafi3 for president! Bari ya yumma. I’m not saying I agree with the guy, I’m just saying what he said. Second, he’s all up for ‘positive change’, and genuinely wants reform. I don’t know what logic backs up this particular claim, because you can’t want reform for a mess that you created and continue to create. That just doesn’t make sense. But anyway, that’s what language the president is speaking. I carefully reminded my boss of this fact, and that people generally don’t trust the president or the party anymore, because all we’ve seen from them is dishonesty and greed. Like what? Well, like the financial corruption that is so blatant and in-your-face, it’s disgusting. All the money that pours into the system every single day, without a penny of public services seen anywhere. He reluctantly agreed that yes, financial corruption is a problem. So what is your president doing about it (other than being an actual part of it)? Well, he did call for that investigative committee to look into it. I almost laughed at that. Investigative committee indeed. And what has this committee found and done so far? Well, not very much, for the ‘confusing’ reason that those hindering its progress are members of the party themselves. There was a great big fuss over its formation in the first place because so many people didn’t want anyone investigating anything. Which obviously meant that either they are all corrupt or indirectly benefit from this corruption. This is something that we as your garden variety citizens take as a fact, but it’s quite strange to hear it being said out loud from a party member.
Not a minute too late, Ghazi Salahaddin woke up from his own 24 year long coma and wrote an article giving advice about how to choose the next president. This guy was a big shot in the party for just about forever but recently fell out with his friends and was unceremoniously expelled from the various important posts that he held, including heading parliament; the act of which helped wake him up and compelled him to urge the people to take the mission of choosing their next president seriously. He talks about the importance of this role and how new blood is needed, but also how the president has a chance to win the people back over by heading a serious reform of the system before it’s too late, and ends his article with a rather affectionate reference to the current president. I don’t think he’s over him, really.
Anyway. The discussion (with my boss) was interesting, but it didn’t give me anything new, except for one curious fact. He asked me if I was interesting in politics, and I said yes, everyone is. Everyone? Well, yeah, cuz in Sudan even if you’re not it’s still in your face and there’s no way out of it. So like, there are lots of young people who are interested? I can honestly never tell how it is with my boss, because he looks so benign and harmless and old, but you can never tell what’s going on behind those glasses, and if he really is as innocent as he acts. I tell him that yes, a lot of young Sudanese men and women follow our political situation closely, and that they are not at all satisfied with the government or with Albashir.
This confused me, because it’s no secret that many people hate the government. That was the whole point behind the revolts and the numerous coup attempts and why people aren’t very nice in the newspapers. But apparently, this was news. The general impression I got was that these people genuinely think that they’re doing good things and that people like them. Every time I see/hear this I remember that yes, that’s probably right on that planet they live on. And who would blame them anyway? They practically own 80% of the country, and the remaining 20% wants to stay in their good books because they do them favours. Also, have you ever seen a demonstration supporting the government? No wonder they think they’re so popular.
The fact is that, Albashir is leaving sooner or later, and by the look of things it’s probably sooner. Even if he doesn’t step down, he’ll probably die, because no one lives forever. Either ways, he’s leaving, and the seat is up for grabs. I can tell you right now who’ll be running for presidency next April: the same people that have been running for the past 30 years, who are also dangerously near their graves (wala3mar biyad Allah), and whom if they have any sense in those grey heads of theirs, will have at least tutored a younger version of themselves to represent them if they win. I seriously don’t know if it’s better that the NCP pack up and leave anymore, but I can tell you that they’re not going anywhere anyway. Every day in this country shows me that there is not an inch left they haven’t gotten hold of. If they do actually leave, the place will literally collapse, simply because there will be no one left. I’m not saying they should stay, I’m just saying that uprooting them is a very, VERY difficult thing to do.
And yet, there is hope, it seems.
Also, read Osman's excellent post!
Also, read Osman's excellent post!