October 6, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) leading figure Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani, who signed a memo last week calling for the cancellation of recent cuts in subsidies and an end to the bloody crackdown on protesters, refused to appear before a commission of inquiry, describing the decision to form the commission as “unfortunate”.
- Former adviser to Bashir and ex-head of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) parliamentary bloc Ghazi Salah al-Deen Al-Attabani
The economic measures triggered some of the worst protests Sudan has seen in years, with the death toll surpassing 200 according to Amnesty International.
The memo, which was sent to president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir and initially signed by 31 NCP members, criticized the government’s decision to remove subsidies on fuel and other basic commodities, saying it “harshly” impacted on Sudanese citizens.
Bashir, who is also the NCP chairman, formed a committee headed by national assembly speaker Ibrahim Al-Tahir to query those whose names appeared in the petition that was circulated publicly.
Al-Attabani said in a written letter to the commission that accountability should have taken place twenty years, pointing that the memo addressed the president because of the need for his immediate action to avert the turmoil which threatened to tear the social fabric.
The former presidential adviser added that it has become impossible to reach the president through the NCP channels due to an organizational crisis in the party.
Al-Attabani further pointed that the way the commission was established sends negative signals regarding freedoms within the NCP and raises questions about the willingness of the party leaders to accept new ideas and initiatives form the ordinary citizens and other political forces.
He regretted that the decision to form the commission linked the memo to the opposition’s plans to topple the regime and an alleged compromise to Sudan’s unity and security, noting that the decision implicitly threatens to apply security measures to settle the dispute.
The ex-head of the NCP parliamentary caucus emphasized that the memo did not seek to create a split in the party, saying this may occur only as a result of refusal to listen to advice and preventing dialogue as well as targeting and throwing accusations at those who hold different views.
He said that the memo was widely accepted by the Sudanese people, pointing that it should have been used as a platform to emerge from the current political crisis.
Al-Attabani further urged his party leaders not to focus on side battles and direct their efforts towards resolving the country’s major problems.
In the same context, Col. Mohamed Ibrahim, who is better known as Wad Ibrahim, appeared before the commission of inquiry and acknowledged that he signed the memo and sticks to its demands.
Wad Ibrahim did not appear concerned that the commission might dismiss him from the NCP and pointed that their reform efforts will not stop, but cautioned that it is too early to talk about forming a new party.
The former military officer told reporters that he told the commission that they addressed the president in their capacity as ordinary citizens not as NCP members, denying that they bypassed the party’s institutions.
He predicted that the memo would be widely accepted within the NCP, saying that large number of NCP members agreed to its content but made a reservation on the way it was presented.
The NCP media secretary, Yasser Youssef, announced that the commission would submit its recommendations to the leadership by the end of this week in preparation for a final decision.