January 30, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese opposition coalition known as the National Consensus Forces (NCF) issued a statement on Thursday criticising president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s speech earlier this week describing it as lacking the basic components of any possible political transformation.
- Farouk Abu Eissa (C), leader of the opposition alliance, talks to reporters with other opposition leaders on 12 June 2012 (ST)
Bashir announced a four-point plan for reform "to stop the war and bring peace, free political society, fight against poverty and revitalise national identity", calling for political forces to engage in dialogue to agree on the implementation though he did not specify practical steps to do so.
Prior to the speech, Sudanese officials gave multitude of suggestions that Bashir will unveil a major and comprehensive reform proposal that would be inclusive of all political forces and aim to tackle Sudan’s growing crises.
In a rare scene, the speech was attended by top opposition figures including former Prime Minister and head of the National Umma Party (NUP) al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, leader of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Hassan al-Turabi and recently defected ruling party figure who formed the Reform Now Party (RNP) Ghazi Salah al-Deen al-Attabani.
All three made statements afterwards either personally or through their parties criticising the lack of specifics and excessive generalities that gave no real signs of concessions on the part of the ruling party.
The NCF emphasised that to enter into dialogue with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) the latter must abolish all laws that restrict freedoms, release all political detainees, launch an investigation into the killing of demonstrators in September 2013 riots, enter into comprehensive negotiations to end the war in the different conflict zones, address the humanitarian situation and agreeing to full transitional status.
"Without the commitment on the part of the regime to these logical requirements, there will not be any opportunity for dialogue", NCF chairman Farouk Abu-Essa said at a press conference following a meeting of the coalition today at the headquarters of teh Sudan Communist Party (SCP).
"The path to real change passes through the overthrow of the regime", he added before accusing foreign circles of working to preserve Bashir’s rule by inventing false alternatives to absorb some actors in the political process because it serves their interests.
Abu-Essa described Bashir’s speech on Monday as "miserable in form and content" in which he insists on not acknowledging the crisis, its causes and means to overcome it.
"This confirms that the regime has reached the low of bankruptcy and wants to get around this crisis in the name of dialogue", he said.
The opposition figure warned that Sudan is on the verge of collapse should the NCP refuse to make significant concessions and acceptance of an entire transitional status. He stressed that the NCP regime lacks credibility as prior years experiences show.
He went on to say that the NCP has failed to run the country, lost direction and created political, security, economic and social crises while igniting wars in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Abu-Essa added that the NCP has become in complete isolation and put the entire country in a quarantine with corruption becoming rampant.
He also disclosed that they will renew contact with the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and other rebel groups to unify visions on the future political situation.
For his part, the spokesman of the opposition alliance Kamal Omer defended the attendance of his PCP leader Hassan al-Turabi during Bashir’s address to the nation saying it does not mean they abandoned the NCF goal of toppling the regime.
"Dialogue is one of our means so we decided to participate", Omer added.