Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir is moving into a new palace – built with Chinese support – as inflation causes the price of basic goods like food and fuel to soar.
The old palace will be used as a national museum about the ancient and contemporary political history of Sudan.
Sudan’s government has not made public the exact cost of the construction of the new palace, only saying that it is a gift from the Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Positioned next to the old palace by the Blue Nile River, the new palace has the capacity to accommodate visiting heads of state, host large international summits and press conferences.
It covers a total area of about 18,600 square metres with a 15,000 square metre garden.
Many of Khartoum’s residents are unhappy that so much has been spent on a building that they will see no benefit from.
Mohammed Salih, a resident from across the Blue Nile in Khartoum Bahri told Waging Peace that this was just another example of the elite making their lives more comfortable while ignoring the needs of the people.
“Food prices are going up. Getting work is harder as transport is more expensive”, he said.
“I can’t believe that the Chinese thought this was best way to improve their relations with the Sudanese people. They have only done this to further their interest in exploiting our resources.”
President Omar Al-Bashir came to power in a military coup in June 1989, orchestrated by the National Islamic Front.
During 25 years of Islamist rule, the Sudanese people have witnessed numerous civil wars and the breakaway of the South to form a new country.
The government has consistently prioritised spending on the security services and military rather than public services, like water, health care and education.
Sudan is one of the most corrupt economies in the world and has one of the most restricted media and press in the world according to international campaigning groups.
China has invested heavily in Sudan’s oil industry since Western oil companies were forced to leave after sanctions were imposed during the North-South civil war.
China is Sudan’s biggest trade partner, importing oil and exporting cheap goods as well as selling military equipment.
by Elsir Tagelsir
China teaches about the killing of the British General Charles Gordon by Sudanese forces in 1895 in its curriculum because he was infamous for his use of brutal tactics putting down the Taiping rebellion against the Qing dynasty during the second opium war during the 1850-60s.