August 15, 2012 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Vice-President Al-Haj Adam Youssef strongly condemned Mariam Al-Mahdi a leading member of the opposition Uma National Party for meeting rebel groups in Uganda and asked her party to take a clear position against this initiative.
- Mariam Al-Mahdi (L) signs a political understanding with the rebel SLM in Kampala on 5 August 2012 (photo SLM-MM)
Mariam was in Kampala from 27 July to 6 August to promote the idea of a national conference for peace and democracy in Sudan its party intends to hold with the participation of rebel groups, ruling party and other political forces.
In Kampala, Mariam signed an agreement with the Sudan Liberation Movement – Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) over the principles to be includes in the future constitution and issues related to Darfur. Nevertheless the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) distanced itself from this deal saying they did not even held a meeting with her.
Vice President Al-Haj who is also the head of the political sector at the National Congress Party (NCP) denounced on Wednesday the visit and also a political deal signed with Minnawi’s group and called for Mariam to be charged with espionage or for conspiracy with rebels.
He further described her as "rebel," saying she participated in a ceremony organised by the SLM-MM and attended by the SRF leaders like Malik Agar, Abdel Aziz Helu and Abu Al-Gassim Imam. "We cannot say they are rebels, and Mariam is not," he added.
Last December the security authorities arrested Ibrahim Al-Sanousi, deputy secretary general of the opposition Popular Congress Party of Hassan Al-Turabi immediately after his arrival to Khartoum airport after a visit to Juba and Kampala where he met with rebel groups. He was released six month later in June 2012.
The Uma party is opposed to military action against the government saying it would lead to civil war and dismemberment of the country. It return, the largest opposition party proposes to hold a national conference gathering all the political parties including the NCP, the rebel groups to discuss a peaceful solution of the current crises in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan and to set out a new constitution.
The vice-president who is from Darfur region said he would mobilise the NCP supporters in western Sudan against the political agreement she signed with Minnawi group if the opposition Uma Party did not distance itself from it.
He blamed Mariam for not visiting what he called the civilians affected by attacks that SLM-MM rebels carried out against civilians in different areas in Darfur.
Al-Haj further claimed that Mariam, in her speech during the celebration of the 11th anniversary of SLM-MM establishment, agreed with the rebels to hold arms to bring down the regime
The vice president, citing Alsi Mahmoud Hassanein and Al-Tomm Hajo, said that the Democratic Unionist Party sacked the two leading members who under the cover the party went to work with the SRF rebels.
"How does the Uma Party, which is saturated with the spirit of patriotism and jihad, allow for such people to desecrate the party by sitting with the rebel movements who loot the rights of citizens in Darfur?"
In a news briefing she held after its return from Kampala, the opposition woman said the NCP rejected the idea of the conference but added that contacts are going on with the rebels to prepare for this national meeting.
Mariam said the government does not see a need for such a conference but it reiterated its offer to hold a dialogue with the Uma party.
Since the independence of South Sudan the government seeks to convince the Uma party to join a coalition government it formed with the DUP before to agree on a Islamic constitution with them.