March 20, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) warned today against attempts to instigate lawlessness under the pretext of freedom and stressed that Sudan has more freedom available to its citizens than many other countries.
- Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (R), flanked by presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour, gives a speech in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on 27 January 2014 (Photo: AP/Abd Raouf)
The head of the NCP organisational bureau, Hamed Sideeg, said in press statements following a meeting of the party’s leadership council on Thursday that they support freedom of expression for all people without exception.
Sideeg pointed out that the exercise of political activity outside the parties’ headquarters including public squares can only take place after notifying authorities which has to approve it as a means to protect others.
He added that the government never turned down any request by anyone to carry out political activities.
Last Saturday, the riot police and security forces used tear gas to disperse a mass meeting organised by the National Consensus Forces (NCF) at al-Rabta square in Shambat neighbourhood and at the Sudanese Congress Party’s headquarters.
Following the same meeting, deputy chairman of the NCP Ibrahim Ghandour also announced that the coming days will witness the kickoff in agreeing on the mechanisms and manner of the national dialogue called for by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir last January.
The Sudanese leader announced in a televised address to the nation a four-point plan for reform “to stop the war and bring peace, free political society, fight against poverty and revitalise national identity”.
He further called for political forces and even rebel groups to lay down arms to engage in dialogue to agree on the implementation items to achieve these objectives.
Bashir later met with several opposition leaders, but it is not yet clear how the dialogue call will be implemented amid deep skepticism over the willingness of the NCP to implement deep reforms.
So far NCP officials including Bashir have brushed aside opposition calls for delaying the 2015 elections and forming a transitional government that would work on drafting a new constitution to prepare the country for the polls.
The opposition National Umma Party (NUP) and the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) are the only major opposition parties that have so far accepted Bashir’s call for national dialogue.
Ghandour denied that the dialogue aims to unite the Islamists adding that the initiative is primarily designed to bring the people of Sudan together to unify visions in the face of the challenges facing the country and the society.
He explained that the atmosphere of Bashir’s meeting with the PCP’s Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi was the same one that prevailed in other ones between the president and party leaders. .
The secretary of the NCP political secretariat, Mustafa Osman Ismail, said in a report at the meeting that Bashir held talks with officials from 57 party in the past few days.
He added that the majority of these parties expressed readiness for dialogue with several making suggestions on how to start the dialogue and move it.