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Sudan’s 1st VP Taha confirms resignation to allow for “change”

December 5, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese First Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha on Thursday confirmed for the first time reports that emerged this week which claimed that he resigned and vacated his office at the presidency ahead of the cabinet reshuffle.

Sudan’s Vice President Ali Osman Taha (Reuters)

Taha however, denied making this move over disagreements with others in the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) or the government.

The VP who made statements to a select members of the media, said that the changes were in line with the NCP’s decision to implement a sweeping overhaul that included everyone.

He called on the media to work for the cohesion of the internal front and not to allow inciters to take advantage of the situation.

Taha also promised to make more a comprehensive remarks following the announcement of the new government formation.

He did not say whether he will be reappointed in the upcoming shakeup or whether he will be transferred to another position.

The NCP leadership council postponed its meeting originally scheduled for Wednesday which was expected to endorse the new cabinet formation until Saturday.

There were conflicting explanations given for the rescheduling with some sources saying it was necessitated by the preoccupation of president Omer Hassan al-Bashir with the ongoing visit of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

But other sources spoke of strong disagreements that emerged broke out between NCP leaders on the upcoming government reshuffle.

Over the last few years there has been growing discontent within the party’s base over the lack of turnover at the leadership level in the government. NCP officials have repeatedly pledged to promote younger faces to assume senior posts in the government and the party.

The reshuffle has been anticipated since earlier this year amidst deep divisions within the ruling party in the wake of a coup attempt staged last year by NCP supporters and Islamists in the military that involved the ex-spy chief Salah Gosh who also briefly served as Bashir’s adviser for security affairs .

Another crisis shook the NCP when more than 30 of its top members including the party’s ex-head of its parliamentary caucus Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani presented a memo to president Bashir in September criticising the government’s decision to remove subsidies on fuel and other basic commodities, saying it "harshly" impacted Sudanese citizens.

They chided the government for the excessive violence used against protestors who took the streets against the subsidies cut and called for deep political and economic reforms.

They also urged Bashir to form a mechanism for national reconciliation comprised of various political forces and assign the economic dossier to a professional national economic team.

"The legitimacy of your rule has never been at stake like it is today" they said in their letter to Bashir which was seen as a direct challenge to the president who is now the country’s longest serving leader.

Bashir formed a committee headed by national assembly speaker Ibrahim Al-Tahir to query those whose names appeared in the petition that was circulated publicly.

The commission of inquiry recommended dismissing three members including al-Attabani and temporarily suspending nine others. The decision was endorsed by the NCP leadership council.

Al-Attabani and others later declared his intention to leave the party and form a new one that would "bring new hope to Sudan". This week they officially applied for permission to establish it.

(ST)