ATEM GAI DE DUT- As the world watched, Sudanese protesters climbed polls, risking their lives to take pictures on their smartphones and showed the world the morbid brutality of the Rapid Support Forces. Nothing could have prepared a keen observer for what was to become the greatest lie in Sudan’s modern history. While legitimate fears for the future gripped the nation, the Presidential Palace was agonizing over something entirely different: Hundreds of bottles of high-end bourbon whiskey. To many in the president’s inner circle, it was a crisis much more dangerous than the outcome of the riots. It mattered a lot more than the ouster of a sitting president. But how did such expensive bottles found their way into the Palace, home to president Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir?
The alcohol scandal was unfathomable because Al-Bashir himself enforced the Liquor Prohibition Bill that his predecessors Swar Al-Dahab and Hamed al-Mirghani were not able to adequately implement. When he took over, he added specific articles with Islamic connotations to it. He enforced the resulting law with sheer savagery. But that stills begs the question. In the Palace, the bottles stuck out so loud a passer-by would have mistaken the presidential residence for a bottle disposal depot. But it was not a disposal depot, and the police officers who discovered those bottles were not passers-by but the enforcers of the law the president had so blatantly broken.