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Sudan’s Islamist Movement comes under fire over proximity to government

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November 3, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The former ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) prominent reformist figure Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani, has directed unprecedented criticism to the Islamic Movement (IM) which is considered the ideological arm of the NCP saying that it has turned into a governmental tool for punishing dissident voices.

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Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani (Reuters)

On Saturday, the IM Shura (Consultative) Council concluded two-day meetings that were devoted for discussions on the recent rift within the NCP.

Late last month, an NCP commission of inquiry established by Sudanese president and party chairman Omer Hassan al-Bashir recommended the dismissal of al-Attabani along with two other members and the suspension of nine others for one calendar year.

The NCP leadership bureau afterwards endorsed the recommendations and referred the matter to the NCP Shura (consultative) council to review and issue a binding decision.

The punished members were among a larger group that included more than 30 NCP figures which signed on an open petition to president Bashir last September following the government’s decision to cut fuel subsidies which triggered a deadly wave of protests across the country that killed at least 70 according to official figures and more than 200 as reported by activists and rights groups.

The signatories including lawmakers and retired army officers, called for reinstating the subsidies due to its "harsh" impact on ordinary Sudanese and demanded that the government prosecute those behind the use excessive violence against protestors.

They also urged Bashir to form a mechanism for national reconciliation comprised of various political forces and assign the economic dossier to a professional national economic team.

Al-Attabani and other dismissed members announced their intention to form a new party which was downplayed by the NCP as having little significance.

The IM meeting over the weekend directed slammed the NCP decision to dismiss and suspend the reformists and decided to form a committee to convince the reformists to return to the party.

A major row erupted when two of the reformist figures, Hassan Osman Rizg, and Samia Habbani were prevented by the security guards from attending the closed sessions. The pair were among those punished by the NCP commission of inquiry last month.

Habbani, who is the wife of Al-Attabani, later announced her resignation from the IM.

In press statements on Saturday, Habbani said that they were informed that they do not have the right to attend the meeting and must be excluded because it would discuss the split of the reformist figures.

She pointed that the decision to prevent them was made by the supreme leadership body which, according to the statute, represents the government, NCP, and IM and is headed by president Bashir describing the decision as “illegal”.

Habbani predicted that a similar decision to dismiss them from the IM would be made and noted that the members of the IM Shura council are themselves members of the NCP Shura council, saying that the majority of them are run by “remote control”.

Al-Attabani, for his part, stressed that reformist leaders were prevented from attending the meeting despite their long history, saying that nobody knows who took the decision, why it was taken or what statute it was based upon.

He said that if the IM was a true Islamic body, it should have insisted that its members defend themselves against the repugnant accusations, describing the IM as a governmental tool designed for punishing dissident voices.

The former NCP majority leader at the parliament, attributed the weakness of the IM and its absence from the intellectual and cultural scene to the government control, saying that it failed to adopt principled positions on major incidents including the recent protests.

He said that the IM must disengage from the government in order to gain people’s respect, saying that history would record all positions.

The reformist leader further said that the country would witness serious consequences if the economy continued to deteriorate and the war in Darfur and South Kordofan did not stop, pointing that he is optimistic that a historic compromise is looming.

He pointed that the new generation is less concerned about the old politics and more interested in the current political issues, saying that our bet should be on them.

In the same context, a reliable source told the pro-government Ashorooq TV that the IM Shura council meeting formed a quintet committee headed by the IM secretary general, Al-Zubair Ahmed Al-Hassan, mandating it to negotiate with the reformist group to return to the NCP.

The source, who preferred to stay anonymous, said that the IM Shura council gave the reconciliation committee full powers to work on the return of the reformists to the NCP ranks, pointing that large number of the IM Shura council members criticized the decision to dismiss and suspend reformists during the meeting.

Meanwhile, the NCP disclosed that its leadership office has set up a committee headed by the parliament speaker, Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir, to look into the party’s internal issues, saying that the committee received visions, views, and ideas from party members and institutions on ways to strengthen the party.

The NCP political secretary in Khartoum state, Omer Basan, said in press statements on Sunday that the committee would soon send its final report to the leadership office.

In a related issue, the parliamentary affairs subcommittee is making preparations to investigate the legitimacy of the reformist MPs

The head of the parliamentary subcommittee on Judiciary and Legislation, al-Fadil Hag Suleiman, said earlier this week that the dismissal of the reformist MPs from the national assembly is conditional upon either receiving a request to that effect from the NCP or an official resignation letter from the MPs concerned.

Suleiman stressed that his committee didn’t receive a request from the NCP to drop the memberships of the reformist figures, saying that such a request would be based on articles 29 and 30 of the parliament regulations and should be presented to the parliamentary affairs subcommittee before being forwarded to his committee to question the MPs on whether they changed their political affiliation or not.

The first split within the NCP took place in 1999 following a bitter power struggle between Bashir and Islamist leader Hassan Al-Turabi, with the latter subsequently ousted from his post as parliament speaker.

Al-Turabi later established the Popular Congress Party (PCP) and has since been a vociferous critic of the very regime for which he orchestrated the army-backed seizure of power in 1989.

The NCP has been facing growing difficulties particularly as its coffers dried up after the oil-rich south became an independent nation in July 2011.

(ST)

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  • 4 November 2013 05:54, by Akol Liai Mager

    Islam is Islam and there’s no other corner of it that’s left untried by all Balthegiet (Thugs) of NIF/UMMA/DUP. It was used to kill Mahmoud Mohd Taha, to cut-off hands of Poor Sudanese, Flogging women. It’s the same Islam that Turabi-Nimeiry, Sadiq-Merghani refused to repeal, Turabi-Bashier have used and now Ghazi wants to use it to cheat the Sudanese people once again. Let’s wait and see!!!

    repondre message

    • 4 November 2013 05:59, by Akol Liai Mager

      It’s the same Islam that was used against South Sudanese people by denying their rights to hold some key country’s political and military positions until they are forced to vote for Independence. If innocent as some are always argue that it’s so, then Sudanese need its preachers to preach it in the Mosques and not in Presidential Palace.

      repondre message

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