Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 29 December 2003

High-Jacking Popular Movement: A New Episode in the NIF Drama

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By Mahgoub El-Tigani, Sudan Tribune

Dec 29, 2003 — In the midst of escalated hostilities between DarFur warring parties and government troops, a semi-final episode of the NIF dramatic rule exhibits desperate planning on another period of governance, still antagonizing democracy and peace by renewed emergency law under tight State Security Managers’ political control, at a time the Sudanese liberal society develops a strong public will to exercise free political activity that the regime’s only ruling and opposition factions thus far enjoy. Further accusations by the security authorities against Eritrea and the SPLM alleged support of the DarFur warring opposition reveal the NIF deep governance crisis rather than military external threats.

The latest government release accusing the Turabi-led Moutamar Sha’bi Party (the NIF opposition faction) and the SPLM, as well as the State of Eritrea, of supporting the DarFur warring groups (December 29, 2003) is apparently indicative of the authority’s fear of the closing episode of despotic rule. Equally important, the government hostility reflects the country’s political dilemma: whereas internationally collaborating Brotherhood groups pretend to act as two antagonizing factions in Sudan, the Sudanese democratic opposition struggles to act as one unified alliance.

The Umma party almost stays in a middle line between opposition stands and the governing regime under ambiguous terms of the Djibouti Declaration 2000, which did not clearly specify any governance share of the Umma with the ruling regime. Equally, the DUP leader’s Jeddah Agreement (on behalf of the NDA) with the Sudan Government did not pass through opposition lines without serious dispute from other NDA partners. Both agreements did not go without bitter criticisms by NDA partners.

A founder member of the NDA Council, the communist party issued a public statement (December 19, 2003) supporting the positive aspects of the Jeddah Agreement that called for equal citizenship, public freedoms, independent judiciary and rule of the law, and periodical rotation of political power by democratic means, and asked the NDA to establish a standing committee with the government along with the government/SPLM negotiations of peace.

Calling for implementation of the NDA/Umma Party Wathiqat al-Ijma’ al-Wattani [National Consensus], however, the statement dealt a strong critique to the Jeddah Agreement, wondering: "why didn’t the NDA Chairperson consider [criticisms of the Agreement’s] negativities, as earlier criticized by him when the NDA evaluated the Machekos Protocol, that all opposition forces agreed on removing for the Protocol to be supported by all?" The critique called for equal participation of all NDA partners in the ongoing peace talks to insure the unity of Sudan with civil constitutionality, instead of adopting the installation of two states on the basis of South secular state-North clergy rule by the Machekos Protocol.

The critique asked for complete adherence to the NDA claims to establish a Council of Head of State in place of the presidency experience that has consistently concluded in non-democratic practice, followed by inevitable dictatorial rule. The critique rejected the Jeddah Agreement’s reluctance not to liquidate the government-controlled security bodies, enforce accountability of State crimes, and revise the military arrangement between SPLM and the government to insure NDA concerns for the army and the other disciplinary-personnel that had been purged by the NIF coup in thousands.

Strongly critical of the Jeddah Agreement’s approval of the ongoing liquidation of State enterprises, which mainly benefited the NIF ruling party at expense of people, the critique asked for the rewording of many phrases of the agreement that ascertained only NIF economic and financial interests more than the national concerns, in addition to the need to adopt clear rules concerning the election committee and other essential agenda. Meanwhile, civil society groups, most regional minorities, and the non-governmental press suffer the wrath of the suppressive authority of the NIF regime, as it intensified military Action in DarFur and security operations in Khartoum to repress opposition activities.

Apart from the NDA partner’s disagreement on the Jeddah Ittifaq Ittari [Consensual Framework], the NIF National Congress factions are held nationally accountable for a long list of egregious crimes under the Omer al-Bashir, Hassan al-Turabi, and ’Ali ’Uthman chairmanship. Many Sudanese asked: "when was it true that a dictatorial partner changes over night to a democratic party?" The hostile exchange between the two NIF factions is most likely part of the authority’s political down play of the NDA/Umma democratic opposition.

Those politicians who expressed their pleasure for the Turabi’s release from house detention "should be reminded that release from political jail is not guaranteed legal immunity to save politicians from lawful accountability that might take them to jail," ascertained opposition lawyers of the Bar Association to this author. Still, "the government-controlled media coverage is a masquerade of the political unity of the two factions," asserted the interviewees.

The threatening warning of the State Security to the Turabi-led faction not to "stop engaging their party in the DarFur armed conflict," however, hardly legitimizes the total up-side-down in relatively short period of time of the opposition NIF faction from a fundamentalist terrorist Brotherhood to a so-called democratic group in "sharp" opposition to the NIF 14-years’ solely ruling group.

All in all, the new civil war of DarFur is strongly rejected by the Sudanese democratic forces that have been diligently working to bring peace to the North-South conflict. Whether the NIF opposing faction is party or not with the DarFur warring groups, the fact remains that both NIF factions are internationally obligated to the Brotherhood International Movement.

"The most recent decision by the Arab Lawyers Union (ALU) to admit the rigged Bar representatives in the Union gained much support from the Brotherhood-controlled delegates of many Arab States that closely coordinated their efforts not to renew an office term for Farouq Abu Eissa, the former ALU Secretary-General who successfully blocked the NIF Bar delegates from replacing the democratically elected Sudan Bar delegates since 1989 up to the denial of his candidacy weeks ago," explained the interviewed lawyers.

Those of the Sudanese folk who had no doubt, whatever, about the oneness of the two NIF factions, the Turabi "opponents" and the Taha/Bashir "ruling" group, have recently obtained more evidence that the two factions had already done their best - so far with strong media activity in and outside the country - to promote public support for the imaginary split of their Brotherhood rule. Reported evidence included a large conference organized by the Sudan Government Strategic Studies Center. The strategic conference was largely attended by leaders of the Brotherhood International Movement accompanied by many delegate members of the Islamic Conference (Khartoum: December 11-13, 2003).

The regime’s Strategic Studies (an "Islamized" remnant of the Sudanese Socialist Union’s demagogic bodies of the defunct Nimeiri presidential dictatorship), however, was not able to curb the Brotherhood dissatisfaction with the U.S. legislation that most recently placed conditional terms upon Syria to put a final end to the warring activities of the Islamic Jihad and Hamas in order to support peace in the Middle East. Nor was the Sudanese Brotherhood strategist able to keep up some "neutral" distance from the country’s sensitive involvement in the US-oriented peace process, which created increasing progress towards a final peace agreement with the largely non-Muslim citizens of the South.

Irrespective of the Sudan’s national interests, the Brotherhood internationalists hurried to Khartoum to pledge continuity of holy Jihad with the close attendance and apparent blessing of the NIF leaders Omer al-Bashir, Salah Ibrahim (Secretary General of the ruling party), and the other NIF top officials and demagogues, especially members of ’Ulama al-Sudan who earlier issued a decree blaspheming democratic activities in student elections and asking for "rewarded assassination" of opponent scholars. The Strategic Studies Conference also witnessed a strong presence of both NIF factions with the Brotherhood International groups.

Close follow-up of the strategic Studies commentaries indicates that, beyond any reasonable doubt, the International Brotherhood Movement is well ahead, planning for alternatives to the 14 years’ sweeping failure of the False Caliphate Mashru Hadari (the ’civilization project,’ that pledged to transform Sudan to a Brotherhood Sultanate by State violence, only to make of the Brothers "fat cats" at expense of the pauperized Sudanese). This time, however, the group’s planning might well articulate in the Brotherhood intention to replace the painful failures of the False Caliphate of Sudan with an instant success of a False Democracy:

"The Brotherhood has done it all together, undermining democratic institutions in and outside the country, especially with the Turabi’s Popular Congress. To surmount the escalated hostility of people, they have to act as two faces of the same coin while they actively work as one party," reiterated the interviewed lawyers. "They always wanted to maintain power structures, whether in government or at some distance around the opposition." "They will never deceive the Sudanese conscious people: they are two faces of the same coin, as Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim recently wrote," stressed an interviewed woman activist.

The Brotherhood’s ambivalent strategy is properly criticized by many critics, including the NDA opponents who affirmatively described the new NIF offensive as necessary party adjustment to "changing national and international variables." The apparent hostility between the two NIF factions might grow up, nonetheless, with real power struggles between the two "former" partners, Turabi and his "renegade" disciples ’Ali Uthman and Omer al-Bashir, as the peace process comes to end, or via the security media images that portrayed Eritrea as "a hostile neighbor, supporting opposition activity, and providing DarFur with logistical aid against the government."

In light of the political dilemma of Sudan, the new triple alliance of Yemen, Ethiopia, and Sudan against terrorism in the region should first start with full eradication of State violence and terrorism by all ruling groups in each country. In Sudan, the unabated State violence by the NIF ruling regime and security apparatus against the innocent citizens of DarFur, as well as the democratic opposition of the country, should be stopped with full realization of human rights and public freedoms, instead of the renewed civil war and emergency law, in order to process the next democratic transition of the country that alone would practically insure the necessary political stability to eradicate terrorism.

*Member of Sudanese Writers’ Union (in exile) and the president of Sudan Human Rights Organization Cairo-Branch



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