September 17, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese Islamic and National Forces Alliance (INFA) has announced its categorical rejection of lifting fuel subsidies and described the anticipated move as “catastrophic”, calling upon the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to hand power over to them.
- Al-Tayeb Mustafa, chief of the Just Peace Forum (JPF) party (REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
The new alliance, which is comprised of 20 parties including the Just Peace Forum (JPF), Justice Party (JP), the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the United Sudan Forces (USF) declared that it represents the appropriate replacement for the NCP regime.
The coalition which was announced on Tuesday threatened to resist the new economic measures through popular, political, and legal means and called on the Sudanese people to reject the upcoming economic measures.
According to a statement read by its chairman Amin Banani, the new measures represent a clear violation of the people’s rights and a national catastrophe, describing it as a continuation of the NCP’s failed policies.
It further added that the NCP’s economic policies do not reflect any of the existing economic systems in the world being Islamic or not, pointing to the government’s "submission" to the conditions of the international monetary institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB).
The JPF, which is the most prominent party in the new alliance, is a radically Islamist and increasingly autonomous splinter party of the ruling NCP. It appeared on the political stage as a vociferous critic of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) soon after its signing by the NCP and the South Sudan’s SPLM in 2005.
It is headed by Al Tayeb Mustafa, a veteran NCP figure and president Bashir’s maternal uncle. Its main forum is the best-selling daily paper Intibaha, which is notorious for its aggressive rhetoric.
The JPF advocated for the partition of Sudan on the grounds that north and south constitute irreconcilable poles – racially, religiously, culturally and politically – and voiced the fear that the SPLM might eventually dominate the country.
The Sudanese government postponed the removal of subsides on several basic commodities as the NCP said its lift should come into force after concluding consultations with the political forces and civil society groups.
The sudden delay follows rumors about sharp divergences within the government ranks about these unpopular decisions which are seen as necessary by the finance minister but disastrous by other members who fear that it will push people to take the street against the regime.
The Sudanese government cancelled an extraordinary cabinet meeting scheduled to be held last Sunday to endorse the increase of prices of basic commodities including fuel, without further explanations.
Different sources in Khartoum say the government delayed the implementation of the decision following recommendations from the security apparatus which reported a situation of public discontent against the government.
The Sudanese opposition umbrella organisation known as the National Consensus Forces (NCF) announced that it is planning to organise public sit-ins to resist the government’s anticipated decision.
Also the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), an alliance of rebel groups issued a statement calling on their supporters inside the country to protest against the economic reforms.
However the finance minister Ali Mahmoud denied on Sunday that the cancellation is related to fears of demonstrations to protest such measures. The Sudanese people showed patience and accepted decision bigger and tougher than the removal of subsides, he said.
The NCP’s media secretary Yasser Youssef told reporters following a meeting of the political sector of the ruling party on Sunday that the announcement of these economic reforms depends on the completion of consultations with the political forces.