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Obituary: Ahmed Ibrahim Dreij – Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan
صحيفة سودان تربيون اخبار السودان / سبتمبر 28, 2020

Ahmed Ibrahim Dreij is an Open History Book for Readers, Whether He Was Alive or Deceased in the Grace of God

by Mahmoud A. Suleiman

Dear noble reader, this article comes out of the habit, against the backdrop of the saddening news of passing away and paying prayer to the spirit of the late Mr Ahmed Ibrahim Dreij, who answered the call of his Lord Allah, may God Almighty accept his spirit in the gardens of eternity in the Paradise with the prophets, the martyrs and the righteous. Mr Ahmed Ibrahim Dreij has died in the country of Botswana, Southern Africa, departing this mortal world, leaving behind a rich political and societal history about the rule in Sudan in general and the Darfur region in particular. The talk about Ahmed Ibrahim Dreij is considered an open book to read on the most important stations in the political and social history of Sudan. This is because Dreij is considered a witness to the most important political era issues in the history of the Post-independence of Sudan from the Anglo-EgyptianColonialism -aka – Condominium on Sunday, January the First 1956.

The honourable reader is requested to note that my article this time, not, as usual, includes quotes from mourning letters from those who knew the late Dreij and his contemporaries who wrote about him and about his merits as a distinguished politician and statesman. Furthermore, it is more or less in a form of a compilation of articles and condolences written about the statesman Ustaz AHMED IBRAHIM DIRAIG, May Allah have mercy on him and May God bless him and offer a condolence to his family and bless his offsprings. This article, as I said earlier, comes in a sad atmosphere, following the transfer of the late Diraig, Ahmed Ibrahim Dreij to the hereafter with his predecessors from the righteous, martyrs and prophets; thus one has enabled himself to collect quotes from the condolences written by individuals and groups that previously worked with the late Dreij in Various sites during his life of political and social events in the Darfur region and throughout Sudan and in the countries of the world around us and I have compiled those documents and made them as part and parcel of the article.

As for my personal acquaintance with the late Ustaz Ahmed Ibrahim Dreij, the conversation will be prolonged, and the volume of the article will not accommodate that. I am satisfied that I have known him since I was a student at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Khartoum in the 1960s. Furthermore, I have met with him at several occasions related to the Sudanese politics in general and the Darfur region in particular. I met him last time about 6 years ago, that is before he left his London home to Botswana, the country in Southern Africa. At this juncture, one says: “Verily we belong to Allah, and truly to Him shall we return”.

The name Ahmed Ibrahim Dreij/Diraig remained linked to the politicians ’disagreements with former President Jaafar Nimeiri, and his relationship with the Republican Palace since his assumption of the position of Governor of the Darfur region in 1982 CE has been marked by the constant tension that culminated in the confiscation of his property by the May regime and his final exodus from Sudan to his self-imposed exile in London.. We are trying to shed light on his political life and the path of his successes and failures on the path of politics.

Ibrahim Ahmed Ibrahim did not know that the name of the English inspector “Dreij” in the Garsila region, which he admired so much as a nickname for his son “Ahmed” for his light colour compared to his peers, that this would obliterate his father’s name. It also did not know that Ahmed, who was born in the village of Kargula, in the countryside of Zalingei District i.e. the state of West Darfur in 1935 AD, he will have an effective political role in Darfur, and his personality is known worldwide, as well as being associated with Germany.

Ahmed Ibrahim Dreij received his first/primary/elementary education in the Zalingei District in the Central district of the then Darfur Province in the countryside. He then moved to the city of Kuwait in the White Nile State, because there was no middle/ intermediate schools at that time in the Province of Darfur. His professional speciality is in Statistics. Before joining the University of Khartoum, he worked as a teacher for a short period at El Fasher National School.

During his studies at the university, he practised his activities as an independent and did not have a clear political activity at the university, but he was gifted with jogging and high jumping that he has practised so far.

It was not long before him as an independent member until he announced his joining the Umma Party, the wing of the Sadiq al-Mahdi, and he was appointed as a central minister to work in the 1967 government, then he became the leader of the opposition in the Second Constituent Assembly (1968). Observers say that his accession and his tenure buried the Darfur Renaissance Front alive and it is a child similar, which led to The people of Darfur, especially the intellectuals who supported him and appointed him president of the front at the university, are accused of aborting the first collective action of the people of Darfur, where Ali Hassan Taj al-Din joined the Umma Party and Ali al-Hajj remained in the Islamic movement and Muhammad Abdel Manan belonged to the Islamic Charter Front. Diraig was accused of giving up his responsibilities after Nimeiri’s coup and fled the country to preoccupy himself with his private work, even though he is a public figure whose historical responsibilities prevent him from leaving the country, especially since May was besieging the supporters and in front of them on the Gezira Aba, in the White Nile District.

He is a member of the Umma Party and the leader of the opposition, which made the supporters and people of Darfur feel bitter from this behaviour, which many described as irresponsible.

After the national reconciliation in 1977 AD between Al-Nimeiri and Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, a political breakthrough occurred, and Al-Nimeiri issued decisions to appoint governors, among them was the Brigadier General “retired” Al-Tayeb Al-Mardi. The decision to appoint him sparked an uprising in Darfur, considering that he was from outside of the Darfur region, given the fact that all the other regions in Sudan enjoyed appointment of Governors from their own sons and during the Darfurian uprising “seven” sons of Darfur were killed during the riots, the fact which prompted Nimeiri to acquiesce. Dreij was appointed as the Governor of Darfur as the first of the sons of Darfur, and Dreij found a rally around him from the people of the region and supported him unanimously, and this was evident in the great and massive reception he received at El Fasher airport. However, accusations were levelled against Dreij that he did not exploit this consensus and influence in uniting the people of Darfur. On the contrary, during his tenure in office, he caused many tribal problems due to his misjudgment of things and his irresponsible statements against some tribes.

Dreij is considered one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Daoud Bolad movement, who defected from the rescue and led a rebellion in the early nineties in Darfur. It is said that Bolad consulted Dreij and found support and support for the idea from its early stages until it reached advanced stages.

In 1995, Dreij travelled to Asmara to join the ranks of the National Democratic Gathering opposed to the Islamist/ Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Salvation Front Government and participated in the gathering conference in the name of the Federal Alliance, the party that was abroad with a number of opponents (Muhammad Ibrahim Khalil, Sherif Abdullah Harir and others. ”

Dreij participated in armed action against Islamic Salvation Front regime from Eritrean lands, and upon the outbreak of armed action in the west of the country, Dreij refused to integrate his forces and unify leadership and said that he “does not want to conclude his political life with military action.”

Dreij’s opponents say that his influence at the time was running out, evidenced by the fact that most of his bases and supporters have preferred to join the two rebel movements in Darfur,

Karzai, Darfur

Dreij’s opponents, especially in the two Darfur rebel movements, called him “Karzai Darfur” and expressed their surprise at his sudden appearance and his meeting with the First Vice President of the Republic, Mr Ali Osman Muhammad Taha in Naivasha at the beginning of this year .. They denounced his statements in support of a peaceful solution to the Darfur problem and see that there is a contradiction with what was. It is practised from military action against the government in the east of the country. They also accuse him of receiving American and German support for installing “Karzai over Darfur.” The rebels in Darfur consider that Dreij’s political role has ended, the time has passed, and that the way of thinking in Darfur has become ahead of the old arguments which he himself adopted.

Shartay and Statistics

Professor Abd al-Rahman Bishara Dosa, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Ahfad, a former Minister of Agriculture in the Dreij government, says that Dreij entered political life out of his interest in social reforms in Sudanese society and this helped his association with the civil administration, especially that he belonged to a family of civil administration, and the mother of Shartay died when he was in High school, so he was chosen to be a buyer for his region, but he apologized under the pretext of continuing his studies and relinquished the position to his uncle.

Professor Dosa describes Dreij as a social activist and has developed his interest in the problems of his community from a social activist to a political one.

Adam Al-Zein, Director of the Federal Governance Studies Center of the University of Khartoum, added that Dreij benefited from his previous work in the Department of Statistics in using statistics to clarify what the relative backwardness of the Darfur region means in comparison to other regions when he was addressing the people of Darfur in the University of Khartoum Union House, which was crowded with the people of Darfur with their various tribes. He was dealing with the figures, the percentages due to Darfur in the fields of health, education and infrastructure services.

UstazAbdullah Adam Khater, a well-known journalist and writer, adds: Dreij is among the new leaders who emerged after the October Revolution 1964 with theses such as William Deng, who focused on the constitutional aspect that calls for federalism, while Philip Abbas Gabboosh called for the cultural specificity of the Nuba Mountains. The regions and their economic development, which invited him to adopt the idea of the Sudanese Democratic Alliance, and Ustaz Khater considers this a success for Dreij as a political intellectual.

Political Feuds

Professor Dosa believes that Dreij is distinguished by a commitment to honourable political ethics and does not like “political fawas” and considers him chaste in hand, in addition to his wise leadership as the leader of the opposition in Parliament, in addition to his struggle to save Darfur from famine in 1983 AD by confronting the Nimeiri government with facts while it tried to cover Situations there.

Engineer Abdullah Masar, Wali of the Nile River, considers Dreij as one of the people who had positions in the Sudanese political movement in addition to being a convinced man and polite in the conversation, and he continues Masar to say that Dreij was very popular in Darfur and entered politics without a family background, as he is a normal citizen.

Dr Al-Zeinsays Dreij suffered from two main problems, namely the emergence of ethno-ethnic politics in the region and what is known as the current of the Arab group and the Zaghawa group and the Islamic movement group led by Ali Hajj Muhammad and the conflict intensified in 1982 AD between these groups in the elections for the position of governor and the Zaghawa group gathered behind its candidate Mahmoud Bashir Jamaa and the Arab group aligned Behind its candidate, the late Ibrahim Omar, and another Arab group stood behind Youssef Suleiman Takana and Dr. Abdul Hamid Al-Tijani is independent and is considered Dr Al-Zein said his troubles increased after his victory.

And Dr.Al-Zein said that among the flaws of Dreij is that he lacks the ability to win the cooperation of the educated elite despite his strong personal connections with them outside of work. Al-Zein said that the man suffers from a problem in dealing with the elite who excels him in education, and this is evidenced by the candidacy of most of his government members in the 1982 elections against him.

Professor Dosa says that the disadvantages of Dreij are that he does not like to read reports and cannot stand sitting in long meetings and does not take notes during them, which makes him vulnerable to forgetting some of the decisions that need follow-up and believes that his failure to return to Sudan is a disgrace.

In addition to being non-violent, it tends to seek solutions through democracy.

Ustaz Khater believes in Direj that he is a friendly, fatherly man who loves the citizen and the simple life and believes that his genius is manifested when he reaches the simplest human being the most complex economic theories and has the ability to promote his ideas through public relations theories.

Dr Al-Zein said that Dreij has unique intelligence and what distinguishes him most is his sympathy with the simple affectionately, in addition to his ability to expressiveness with simple words that everyone understands, especially the uneducated, and believes that he is interesting to talk and can easily attract others.

His downsides

Engineer Masar believes that one of the man’s disadvantages is the regional current’s predominance over him and his entry into conflicts with Nimeiri and the members of the Socialist Union. He believes that his greatest flaws that affected his weight and his relationship with the people is the installation of Furchildren in most of his government during his tenure as governor in Darfur, which made the sons of some tribes work against him. This was shown in the elections for the governor which most of his cabinet ministers fought against, though Draig won after fierce competition with everyone.

Ustaz Khater believes that his immediate decision to leave Sudan and exile himself to Britain to engage in private business was unsuccessful.

His future

The engineer Masar excludes for a man to have any political role in the coming years. He believes that his age is close to seventy years, in addition to his long absence from the country, in addition to the changes that have occurred that do not work in his favour, and he expects him to play the role of “mentor”. Massar believes that Dreij is not in control of his party now, yet he confirms that he is still popular among the Fur and is considered a main political leader for them. He says that Darfur should be respectful to Dreijbecause he is the first to feel the problems of Darfur.

Ustaz Khater says that Draig lived with the mentality of Shartay and kept seeing himself as the first and always willing to pay the cost of leadership. Institutional, however, he reiterated that the name Draig will remain controversial and will be a subject of interest in matters of national construction.

Dr Al-Zein says that he has a role he wants to play in the future of Sudanese politics, as he wants according to Dr Al-Zein is to contribute to solving the problem of Sudan and has proposals that he believes are a process to solve the problem of pastoralists and farmers, which has erupted in the form of war recently in Darfur.

His wealth

The man left Sudan in 1969 after the coup of Nimeiri, who was deposited for a short period of time and contracted to work as an economic advisor in the Emirate of Umm al-Qaiwain in the United Arab Emirates, which enabled him to accumulate an estimated wealth and returned to Sudan to invest it, but after his disagreement with Nimeiri, most of his properties were confiscated.

Some reports indicate that Mr Dreij has many funds and huge investments in various parts of the African continent, with the exception of Sudan. In a company, they founded in Botswana.

Craig D. Lounsbrough the US-born and whose background includes over twenty-nine years’ experience as a counsellor in a variety of treatment settings that include psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics facilities has been quoted as saying: “Our prayers are something akin to delivering a list, verses surrendering a life. The former will always leave me creating the next list, while the latter will leave me creating a new life.”

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