The government of Sudan has decided to seize the assets of the formerly ruling National Congress Party of toppled President Omar al-Bashir. The assets to be confiscated will include the headquarters of Bashir’s party in all Sudanese states, as well as the media institutions of the party also everywhere in Sudan. The media institutions contain several newspapers; TV channels; radio stations, and media companies. The decision to confiscate the assets of Bashir’s party dates back to December of last year when the new government of Sudan approved a law for the dissolution of the National Congress Party and the seizure of its assets.
Disbanding the National Congress Party and the confiscation of its assets turns a new leaf in Sudan’s political life and gives this poor African nation a new political beginning, one free from the shadow of the man who ruled Sudan with iron and fire for decades in the past.
Bashir, who was overthrown by the military in April last year after months of mass protests, ruled Sudan for 30 years. He mounted the country’s saddle after a military coup that brought the Islamists, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, to power. During these 30 years, the mismanagement, corruption, and religious extremism of Bashir’s regime turned Sudan into a fearful country where poverty was common and freedom was rare.
The disappearance of Bashir’s party from Sudan’s political stage will open the door for eradicating the covert networks of power, operating within the Sudanese state, ones that continue to be controlled by Bashir’s backers.
The Sudanese government has formed a special panel to survey and then disband or confiscate all the institutions affiliated to Bashir’s party, including the media arms of the party.
The panel contains members of the Sovereign Council, which was formed in August last year to oversee the work of the government and chart a new political future for Sudan, and the Forces of Freedom and Change, the main opposition coalition in Sudan during the months of protests against Bashir’s rule.
Panel member Taha Osman revealed that the controversial Ashorooq TV was among the media outlets suspended and confiscated for having links with Bashir’s regime and party. The panel also seized a media company called al-Andalus, which owned several TV channels that were also linked to Bashir, including Tiba or Thebes Channel. The confiscated assets also included companies that issued newspapers, such as the daily al-Rai al-A’am or Public Opinion newspaper.
The confiscation of the assets of the National Congress Party came as party members make efforts to return to the Sudanese political scene. A leaked audio purportedly of a leading member of the party revealed attempts for the party’s return to politics.
Mahdi Ibrahim, also a leading member of Sudan’s Muslim Brotherhood, says in the audio that the National Congress Party was blamed for all of Sudan’s problems. “I think we need to go back,” Ibrahim purportedly says in the audio which was aired by the Saudi news channel al-Arabiya on January 6. He suggests giving the National Congress Party a new name so that it can be more acceptable to the Sudanese public.
He even expresses confidence that the new party will be able to function as a magnet for Sudanese citizens.
“We were able to attract citizens to us at every stage and I think general conditions in Sudan now make this very possible,” Mahdi said.
Mahdi notes that the current political parties in Sudan are incapable of leading the African country while it struggles economically and politically in a region full of challenges and conflicts.