Sudan President Turns to Facebook to Fight Opposition

In savvy strategy, government co-opts social media.

Posted: 02/10/2011 11:27 AM EST
Filed Under Africa Political

Omer Hassan Al-Hashir

Well, this is different. Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Hashir has asked his supporters to use Facebook to help fight his political opposition.

As the Sudan Tribune reports: “Sudan official news agency (SUNA) cited Bashir as instructing authorities to pay more attention towards extending electricity to the countryside so that the younger citizens can use computers and Internet to combat opposition through social networking sites such as Facebook.”

It’s a shrewd approach, I suppose. He is embracing the power of social networking sites in the wake of anti-government uprisings that used the power of Facebook and Twitter against sitting regimes. Just last month, a group of young Sudanese used Facebook and Twitter to organize demonstrations against Al-Hashir. Those efforts were quickly shut down by police, who took dozens of people to jail.

There is troubling news out of the recently separated South Sudan, too, where the minister of cooperatives and rural development, Jimmy Lemi Milla, was shot and killed by his personal driver this morning. The assassination took place 200 meters from the office of South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit. Kiir is concurrently vice president of greater Sudan, a position he will hold until South Sudan’s recent vote for independence becomes official.

These are tumultuous, fast-moving times in Northern Africa. 




Image: Reuters