December 16, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s President Omer al-Bashir on Friday criticized without naming him the leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahadi, while the latter has postponed his planned return to Khartoum.
- FILE - Sudan’s President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir (R) talks with opposition’s National Umma Party leader and former Prime Minister al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi on 24 March 2011 (Reuters)
“Do not listen to the speech of the deceivers who are living (abroad) in the hotels, sold the country for dollars, play tennis and celebrate their birthday," said al-Bashir in a public meeting held in Al-Managil, Al-Jazirah State.
’’And (do not forget that) our people say do not try what you have already tried,’’ he further said without naming al-Mahdi who served twice as Sudan’s prime minister.
The second mandate of the elected prime minister was interrupted by al-Bashir who toppled his government in a bloodless coup d’état backed by the Sudanese Islamists on 30 June 1989.
Lately, social media users shared photos of Sadiq al-Mahadi playing tennis. Also, he used to celebrate his birthday.
The opposition leader is residing in Cairo since August 2014 after sealing a political alliance with the armed groups in Paris when he signed the ’Paris Declaration’.
Nearly three months ago, he announced his return to Sudan on 19 December, citing the need to be with his party and to fix some internal problems.
Khartoum was hoping to persuade him once he is at home to abandon his alliance with the rebel groups and other left parties gathered under the umbrella of the ’Sudan call’ alliance.
But, in a statement released on Friday, al-Mahdi delayed his return to 26 January, saying he does not want to disturb calls for general strike on 19 December.
"Lest my return disturb the determination of the civil disobedience," he wrote in a short press statement.
Al-Mahdi underlined that his return will coincide with the "Khartoum Liberation Day" when his grandfather Mohammed Ahmed al-Mahdi captured Khartoum on 26 January 1885.
The National Umma Party intends to organize a popular reception for its leader when he returns from his self-imposed exile.
Al-Mahdi party was part of the internal national dialogue process but it suspended its participation in the process in May 2014 following the arrest of its leader. After what, the opposition group called to ensure freedoms, and to hold inclusive negotiations with rebel groups.