September 24, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani abruptly left for London on Tuesday amid conflicting reports about the position of his party on the political partnership with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
- Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani (file photo)
Al-Mirghani’s travel comes as protests flared in several Sudanese cities against the government’s decision to lift fuel subsidies.
The DUP, which sealed a political partnership with the NCP in December 2011 and was granted several posts in the cabinet, announced its support to the economic measures aiming to bridge a budget gap.
Mirghani Mussad, a DUP leading member, told the semi-official Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website that his leader headed to London for medical examinations. He further reiterated his party commitment to the partnership agreement with the NCP.
But another member of the DUP leadership council, Bukhari al-Jaali stated that al-Mirghani did not inform any person of the reason of his sudden departure. He dismissed speculations about the DUP’s intention to end the participation in the NCP dominated government.
Sudan Tribune has learnt from reliable sources that al-Mirghani is currently at odds with the NCP and ordered his ministers in the cabinet to tender their resignations.
The DUP official who asked to remain anonymous because he is not authorized to speak to the press pointed out that relations between the two parties have deteriorated as a result of the party’s rejection to the removal of subsidies.
He further said that the government asked the DUP not to disclose its opposition to the austerity measures and to maintain its presence in the national government but that al-Mirghani refused this request and decided to leave the country. He also demanded that his ministers quit the government, he source said.
According to the source, Al-Mirghani who is also the leader of the Sufi order of Al-Khatmiyya, decided to move to London after a decision by the security services banning the organization of an annual religious gathering “Hawliyya” to commemorate its founder Sayyid Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani Al-Khatim.
"I cannot stay in Khartoum without organizing the Hawliyya" he quoted al-Mirghani as saying.
Al-Mirghani is expected to issue a statement about the circumstances surrounding his departure and the DUP future in the government.
On the other hand DUP spokesperson Ibrahim Mirghani released a statement on Monday denying the statement by his colleague in support of the recent economic measures adding that they handed a written position to the finance minister in this regard.
A political analyst speaking to Sudan Tribune however, said he believes that Al-Mirghani’s anger was a result of what he sees as rapprochement between the NCP and the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) led by Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi.
The NUP has historically been the DUP foe long before Sudan’s independence.
According to the analyst, Al-Mirghani who asked the NCP for more posts in the upcoming government formation, fears that his request will be moved to the backburner if NUP joins the cabinet.
The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir disclosed on Sunday that they have reached an agreement with the NUP that will soon be signed.
But Mariam Al-Mahdi, a leading NUP figure, sent a broadcast text message to journalists denying any such accord.