September 9, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese opposition leader, Hassan Al-Turabi, accused the government on Sunday of excluding opposition groups from dialogue over the constitution, revealing that they have been preparing their own draft constitution to supersede the country’s current one.
- FILE PHOTO - NUP’s leader Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi sitting between the PCP leader Hassan Al-Turabi (R) and Farouq Abu Isa (L) - Al-Jazzera Net
Al-Turabi told reporters following his participation in a symposium organized by opposition parties in the capital Khartoum regarding the subject of the new constitution that he had been working on a 20-page draft constitution to present for consultations with fellow opposition groups.
The veteran Islamist who leads the Popular Congress Party (PCP) accused the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of excluding opposition groups from consultations on the constitution.
The NCP says it started a dialogue with the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) of former Prime Minister Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) led by Mohammed Osman Al-Mirgani over the new constitution.
However, NCP officials say they will not talk to opposition groups seeking regime change and cooperating with armed rebel groups, in reference to the PCP and the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP).
Sudan’s current transitional constitution was installed in 2005 as per the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended decades of civil wars with South Sudan and eventually led to its secession in July last year.
The NCP along with other Islamist groups say they want an Islamic constitution to reflect what they describe as the Muslim homogenous reality of Sudan following the secession of the Christian South.
In response to Al-Turabi’s criticism over the constitution issue, NCP’s deputy media secretary said on Sunday that their dialogue with opposition parties is ongoing and that the draft permanent constitution would see the light soon.
Al-Turabi also renewed its criticism against widespread corruption in the country, accusing the NCP government of being “immersed in corruption”
The opposition leader claimed that there is a proliferation of bogus companies created for the sake of obtaining loans from banks.
In a different subject, Al-Turabi confirmed that he is travelling today to the Qatari capital Doha where he will meet “high-profile personalities” which he declined to identify.
PCP insiders told Sudan Tribune that Al-Turabi is going to Qatar in response to an invitation to participate in a symposium on the revolutions in what is called the Arab Spring countries.
They added that Al-Turabi’s trip to Doha will last for five days during which he will meet Qatar’s Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa to discuss issues in the Sudanese political arena.
Al-Turabi was the mastermind of the 1989 Islamists coup which brought President Omer Al-Bashir to power. However, the two men fell out in a bitter power struggle ten years later. Al-Turabi was ousted from the NCP and he later moved to form the PCP and become one of the government’s most outspoken critics.
Since his ouster, Al-Turabi was arrested several times, the most notable of which came in 2009 after he publicly expressed support for the warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the arrest of President Omer Al-Bashir on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide he allegedly orchestrated in the country’s western region of Darfur.