Opposition party rings alarm bells about famine threat in Sudan

Sudan Tribune

December 6, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – A senior Sudanese opposition party is warning about impending famine in vast areas of the country, urging for immediate action to contain the situation.

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National Umma Party ’NUP)’s General-Secretary Sara Nugd Allah speaks in a press conference held in Khartoum on Sunday December 2015 (ST)

The National Umma Party (NUP) of former Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi said Sunday its warning was based on a report of what it called “a committee of experts’’ that toured agricultural production areas .

NUP Deputy Chairman Fadllalah Burma Nasir reviewed the report before a press conference . He said the committee , after tours of all agricultural production zones in the North, East, Centre and West of the country, has concluded that ‘’ the situation needs immediate action .’’

He said the committee, which was made up of NUP experts, had noticed ‘’ a big scarcity of food stuffs , a matter that obliges the government to officially declare its need for international intervention and call for help.’’

For her part , the Party’s General-Secretary Sara Nugd Allah has read out the committee’s report that said ‘’ the economic crisis, the dire living conditions , the signs of famine under which the country is living is but a natural outcome of the selfish and erroneous policies pursued by the ruling National Congress Party.’’

“The Government policy of consolidating its power , its reliance on the proceeds of gold and oil , its negligence of the real production sectors(agriculture and industry), favouritism in the government machine , usurpation of public money and lack of accountability had led to the declining production and the rise of poverty and unemployment ,’’ Ms. Nugdallah has read out from the report.

The report said lack of planning has led to the mismanagement of oil revenues which were squandered on needless buildings, the federal rule whose budget was inflated by 181.25 percent , spending on political activity and security and the military that together consume 70 percent of the government resources , in addition to festering corruption.
“ Those erroneous policies had squandered the oil proceeds that totaled 80 billion US Dollars , a matter that led to the deterioration of production infrastructures , the decline in agricultural and industrial output and the widening poverty that has now reached 80% ,’’ said the report.

“In addition, those policies had led to the drop in the value of the national currency(the pound) that now sells at 11 pounds per one US Dollar and raised the external debt to 47 billion US Dollars and the internal debt to 140 billion pounds,’’ it said.

“All these conditions had turned the life of Sudanese into an unbearable hell and caused them to flee the country to the four corners of the globe or , else, move to the Khartoum State , a matter that changed the demography of the State that is now encircled with belts of displaced and poor citizens , thus posing a threat to the Capital City’s security and social peace,’’ according to the report.

The report has described the government measures to counter this situation as ‘’ very limited and do not address the root causes of the crisis.’’

“ One of those government measures is to sell the project for national dialogue to the international community in exchange for lifting the sanctions and debt cancelation,’’ said the report.

“Another measure is to shuttle between regional alliances to obtain funds for redressing the big deficit in the trade balance ,’’ it added.

In a statement read out to the press , the NUP has described the ongoing national dialogue as ‘’ sterile and unfeasible , because it just brings together the supporters of the ruling party and does not allow for other voices.’’

It said the way out of this crisis rests with a political solution that starts with the acceptance of the African Security and Peace Resolution Number 539 that calls for a peaceful solution in Sudan. It also rests with a serious response for convening the preparatory meeting in Addis Ababa to convince the armed movements about the need for dialogue , build confidence and create favourable climate for serious dialogue inside Sudan.

For her part NUP Deputy Chairperson Mariam al-Sadik al-Mahdi has announced that the preparatory meeting which was supposed to convene on December 7 in Addis Ababa , was postponed for more consideration and was not cancelled altogether.
She said her party was on very good terms with all the opposition forces operating inside Sudan.

She said a new opposition alliance was now in the making and will soon be declared. She said the alliance will include her party and other political forces she did not name.
Mariam said her party was engaging the national forces alliance and other political forces in talks aimed at paving the way for holding a conference to unify the ideas of all the opposition forces ‘’ in a bid to create real change.’’

She said the recent differences among the members of the national consensus forces ‘’ was a positive sign and can be overcome.’

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