The Sudanese opposition National Umma Party (NUP) has defended the position of its leader, Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, who accepted the highest national medal “Order of the Republic” awarded to him by president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir on the occasion of the Independence Day celebration last week.
- Leader of the National Umma Party al-Sadiq al-Mahdi (L) receiving the Order of the Republic from Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir (R) in Khartoum on 31 December 2013 (Ashorooq TV)
The NUP said that the reward represents recognition by the ruling regime of the validity of al-Mahdi’s stances, accusing the opposition of failure to resolve Sudan’s problems.
The opposition alliance National Consensus Forces (NCF) had earlier launched a fierce attack on Al-Mahdi and the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani, for accepting the award, describing them as “followers” of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
The NUP’s politburo member, Abdel-Hameed al-Fadl, attacked the opposition alliance and said they are only small parties which don’t have constituencies, pointing that NCF suffers from internal divisions.
He stressed in a statement to the pro-government Sudan Media Center (SMC) website that the NUP would respond to the NCF at the right time, pointing that they refrain from adopting the methods of the opposition.
Al-Fadl denounced opposition statements condemning al-Mahdi’s acceptance of the reward, saying that the head of the NCF, Farouq Abu Issa, was a member of the previous parliament under this regime.
The NUP’s religious wing, Ansar Affairs Authority, had also issued a statement on Friday saying that the award represents an acknowledgement of the true stances of Al-Mahdi and also an implicit recognition from those who overthrew his legitimate government.
Al-Mahdi, was the last democratically elected Prime Minister before the 1989 coup d’état which brought Bashir to power.
The NUP, which is considered the largest opposition party in Sudan, has suspended its membership in the NCF late last year over disagreements on the stance towards the regime.
NCF officials have been publicly and privately criticizing Al-Mahdi for what they view as him diverging from the goal of removing the regime dominated by the NCP.
Al-Mahdi has consistently stated that he wants to reform the regime rather than topple it to prevent the outbreak of a bloody civil war in the country.