March 16, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese religious Sufi group of Qadiriya-Arakia, headed by Sheikh Abdalla Azraq Taybba, distanced itself from a memorandum of understanding signed in its name with the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) this week.
- Followers of the Sufi order of Samania visit the tomb of Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Tayeb after Friday prayers near the River Nile at Sheikh Bakri village, 135kms north of Khartoum, 16 March 16 2012 (REUTERS/Stringer)
The group said in a written statement on Saturday that it did not authorise Hamad El-Nayil Yousif El-Samani to sign the memorandum on its behalf, accusing him of belonging to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), noting that he ran in the past for election before withdrawing in favour of the NCP candidate.
The statement stressed that the group has nothing to do with the memorandum, saying that its head had previously launched an initiative called the “National Project for Trust Building and Consolidation of Peace, Democracy, and National Unity” targeting all parties to the conflict, including the government, the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), and the leaders of the various Sudanese political parties.
The memorandum, which was signed on Thursday, provided for the need to build a democratic state which respects pluralism and diversity and is governed by justice, equality and freedom.
The NCP says the memo, which underscores the need to adopt armed struggle as well as the peaceful means to overthrow the regime and build a democratic Sudan and establish a federal system of governance in which people are the only source of power with rights and duties defined based on citizenship, represents a serious threat to the unity and cohesion of the Sudanese people.
The two signatories agreed on passing a constitution which recognises the separation of religious institutions from state institutions in order to prevent the exploitation of religion in politics, stating that the “tolerant Sufi approach and the New Sudan project can provide the right answers to governance and reform of public life in Sudan”.
The memorandum, which was signed by SPLM-N representative Yasser Ja’afar Sanhuri and the Qadiriya-Arakia group’s representative provided for the need to hold accountable the perpetrators and violators of international humanitarian law and human rights convention, as well as restructuring of the army, police and security apparatus to establish principles of nationalism, professionalism and impartiality, along with independence of the judiciary, civil service, media and higher education.
The document is similar to the “New Dawn” charter signed by Sudanese opposition parties and armed rebel groups in Uganda last January which came under fire from the NCP which accused its signatories of seeking to change Sudan’s Arab-Islamic identity.