May 7, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The leader of Sudan’s National Umma Party (NUP), al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, has urged leading figure Mubarak al-Fadil to establish another political party, saying the latter wouldn’t be allowed to rejoin the NUP.
- Mubarak Al-Fadil Al-Mahdi leading figure in the National Umma Party (NUP), left and his cousin the NUP chief al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, right.
He said at a press conference on Wednesday that al-Fadil has a habit of bringing with him "too much trouble" stressing that accepting him into the NUP is contingent upon his commitment to NUP’s institutions and constitution.
Al-Fadil, who returned to Khartoum on Tuesday after spending two years in voluntary exile, announced that he would seek to end differences within the NUP, saying he does not mind meeting with al-Mahdi to settle his differences with him.
Al-Fadil, who is al-Mahdi’s cousin, defected from the NUP in 2002 and formed the Umma Reform and Renewal Party (URRP). He was of the view at the time that the NUP should take part in the government while al-Mahdi rejected any participation in a non-democratically elected government.
The two men exchanged bitter accusations during the 2002-2003 period. He was appointed as a presidential adviser for economic affairs in 2002. Several members of his newly created party were also appointed in various positions in the government.
He was sacked in 2004 after a dispute with president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and was arrested in 2007 with a number of retired army generals and accused of attempting to stage a coup but was released five months later after it was revealed that the evidence against him and the others was fabricated.
Al-Fadil disbanded his breakaway group and rejoined the NUP in January 2011. The two men appeared to have normalised their relationship briefly before differences emerged and they renewed their personal attacks on each other.
In a public letter to al-Mahdi last week, al-Fadil urged him to step down to give room to a new generation and play a symbolic role in the background.
But during the NUP Central Commission meeting last week, al-Mahdi gave a subtle response saying that those who call for his resignation are “jealous” people want to destroy the party.
In a separate issue, Al-Mahdi called for developing a roadmap for the national dialogue and proposed holding a preparatory meeting of equal representation from the government and the opposition in order to determine the dialogue’s agenda, title, date and place to achieve the desired objective.
He predicted that the national dialogue would convene within a period not exceeding two weeks, adding they are committed to meet the confidence-building measures including renouncing violence, avoiding use of improper rhetoric, committing to Sudan’s unity, and normalising relations with the international community.
He defended election of the new NUP secretary general, Sara Nugdalla, saying she was unanimously chosen by the party’s Central Commission.
Al-Mahdi further described Nugdalla’s election as a significant step towards modernity and a qualitative leap in the NUP’s political approach.
He said the former secretary general, Ibrahim Al-Amin, lost the trust of all those who supported him for two years, underscoring that confidence was withdrawn from him by the consensus of the Central Commission due to his unilateral acts.
The NUP leader added that al-Amin despises and belittles the Central Commission by throwing baseless accusations, noting that such behavior would weaken the unity of the party.
Observers say Al-Mahdi has been uneasy with the election of Al-Amin in 2012 over his predecessor Sideeg Ismail who is viewed suspiciously by the NUP base as being close to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) but is strongly backed by al-Mahdi.
Al-Mahdi afterward appointed Ismail as his vice-president in a move that was seen as a challenge to his ouster from the secretary-general post.
Al-Amin accused al-Mahdi subtly at first then publicly of interfering in his work and seeking to force him to appoint certain figures to the secretariat.
He also suggested that the NUP’s current challenge is between those who want rapprochement with NCP and those who oppose it like himself.
Meanwhile, the NUP leader’s office denied reports posted on a website that they had threatened reporters who covered the meetings of the central body, stressing they didn’t contact any reporters or editors in chief in this regard.