Sudan\'s former information minister Abdullah Ali Massar
The Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir issued a decree late on Monday accepting the resignation of information minister Abdullah Ali Massar nearly week after the official proposed to quit. Massar got into
a dispute with the presidency over his decision to suspend the director of Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA) Awad Jadain while he undergoes investigation for alleged financial and administrative irregularities.
On Friday, Bashir reversed Massar’s orders regarding Jadain and halted the work of an investigation committee into SUNA formed by the outgoing minister.
The council of ministers secretariat issued a statement today stressing that Massar had no legal authority over SUNA’s director as the latter is appointed by the presidency. Therefore only the president could take any action regarding Jadain.
Sana Hamad, state information minister, sided with Jadain and put a freeze on Massar’s decision while he was travelling abroad. This prompted Massar to cut short his trip and strip Hamad from her role as supervisor over SUNA.
Many in the street saw Jadain’s return as a victory to Hamad with many suggesting that she is a likely candidate to take over from him after deciding to quit his post.
But Bashir took a surprise move on Tuesday and sacked Hamad without giving her a new role despite her wide popularity among citizens for her appearances on TV as representative of government positions on several key issues.
The resigned minister earlier commented on president Bashir\'s decision saying: \"Keeping Jadain in his position is a violation of my rights as a minister, especially as this decree was issued before finishing investigations.\"
Sudanese media were divided over how to view Bashir\'s decision. The Akher Lahza newspaper said that the president\'s decision affirmed some people\'s beliefs about the existence of influential figures belonging to the ruling party inside governmental institutions. The editor of the al-Tayar newspaper Othman Mergheni said Massar should have known long before that he was not seen by the ruling party as a \"real minister\", as he joined the government in a deal which was \"intended to make portray a false sense of balance in the coalition government\". Massar represents the al-Ummah Party in Sudan\'s coalition government.
Hamad said earlier that Massar\'s accusations against Jadain were not serious enough to be investigated.
Similar incidents have taken place within other Sudanese ministries, most recently the tension between the minister of endowments Azhari Tijani and the director of the general board of pilgrims Ahmed Abdallah, who were both sacked by Bashir six months ago.
Massar had vowed to hold mass reforms in Sudanese media since he took his position, but his relations with Hamad were tense due to disagreements between them.
The decree did not appoint a new minister nor did it say who would be in charge in the interim.