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Sudanese opposition rejects NISS demand to ban its activities

February 13, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese opposition parties have rejected a complaint lodged by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) calling for a ban on their activities after the signing of a political deal with the rebel alliance Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) in Kampala last January.

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Sudan’s main opposition parties sign documents requesting for democratic alternatives to the one-party rule at the Democratic Unionist Party headquarters in Omdurman, 4 July 2012 (REUTERS)

Last week, the Political Parties Affairs Council (PPAC) asked three opposition parties, including Umma National Party (UNP), Popular Congress Party (PCP) and the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) to explain their positions over the complaint before making a decision.

The NISS said that by signing the “New Dawn” charter, the opposition has associated itself with rebels who are “targeting civilians and villages” in different regions. The complaint further said that the Kampala deal violates the 2005 constitution as it allows for the use of military means to topple the regime.

The spokesperson for the opposition National Consensus Forces (NCF), Kamal Omer, said on Wednesday the three parties had replied to the council, rejecting the eligibility of the complainant, arguing that its duties are limited to collecting, verifying and analysing information, before submitting it to the competent authorities.

In its response to the PPAC, seen by Sudan Tribune, the SCP contested the jurisdiction of the political parties’ body, saying such allegations must be filed in a criminal court.

Omer, who is also a leading PCP figure, said that the three parties maintained that dialogue with the rebel groups does not violate the constitution because they are committed to a peaceful means to achieve political change in Sudan.

“What some political parties do is an attempt to bridge the gap, [to persuade the rebels] to lay down arms and opt for dialogue to resolve national issues. Also [the opposition parties] deal with the SFR as a political force”, the SCP said in its letter to the PPAC.

The political parties’ council said it will study the position of the two sides before referring the issue to the constitutional court.

Omer pointed out they are preparing to lodge a complaint against the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), accusing it of having its own militia. He further asserted the upcoming days will witness a big political battle against the NCP.

A member of SCP’s central committee, Al-Harith Al-Tom, on Wednesday reaffirmed his party’s commitment to dialogue with rebel groups, adding “It is not true that the Communist party give up its position calling to overthrow the regime by peaceful means”.

In a letter dated the 11 February,the SCP went on to say it did not sign the “New Dawn” charter, adding it did not authorise anybody to sign it without prior consultation.

The opposition party said previously that Sidiq Youssef, a member of the SCP’s central committee, signed the “draft of [the] Kampala (charter) in his capacity as head of the opposition delegation but not as [a] representative of the Communist party”.

(ST)