February 27, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – A leading figure from Sudan’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was forced to cut short his speech at an event after being repeatedly disrupted by protestors angry at his role in the government.
- Sudan’s commerce minister Osman Omer al-Sherif (Sudan TV Footage)
Osman Omer al-Sherif, who is also the country’s commerce minister, was attending the ’Diamond Jubilee of the Graduate Conference’, which comprised the first active political movement in Sudan seeking autonomy which at the time was under Anglo-Egyptian rule.
Al-Sherif was interrupted in his remarks by a group of protestors belonging to a dissident DUP faction who chanted slogans alluding to his alliance with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and calling for him to get off the podium.
"No alliance with hypocrites"; "We don’t want religion traders"; "Down, down we can’t hear you"; and "the people want to bring down the regime" were some of the slogans shouted at the DUP figure.
After initially seeking to absorb the outburst by reacting calmly, Al-Sherif raised his voice calling the protestors ill-mannered and recounted his struggle against the regime during the early years of the 1989 coup that brought president Omer Hassan al-Bashir to power.
The visibly shaken DUP figure asked the protestors what they were doing when he was serving time in prison for opposing the Bashir regime. He said that those chanting against him were only able to show courage at events like this.
After the situation turned chaotic Mr. Al-Sherif left the event along with Ahmed Sa’ad Omer from the DUP, who is also the minister in charge of cabinet affairs of the federal government.
Al-Sharif al-Hamdabi, a figure in a dissident faction of the DUP, defended the reaction by protestors saying that Al-Sherif and Omer should have realised that they will not be accepted in the event after "immersing themselves in the luxury and corruption of power".
He stressed that expelling the pair was the least they could do as redemption for the dignity of the poor destitute and a form of solidarity with the detainees and their families.
Al-Hamdabi went on to say that the two belong in the presidential palace and not here.
The DUP led by Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani left opposition ranks and joined the “broad-based” NCP led government in December 2011, citing the “need to save the country”.
It is widely believed that Al-Sherif and Omer were the strongest proponents of DUP joining the government.
Al-Mirghani’s move has stunned his base and many of his own aides pushing several figures to either quit or distance themselves from the party.
Despite what many observers see as the small role the DUP play in decision making, Al-Mirghani has ruled out withdrawing from the government.