Name: Sideeg Ismail
Career: Secretary of the National Umma Party (NUP), 2009-2012.
Sideeg Ismail was a controversial Secretary General of the National Umma Party (NUP) from 2009 to April 2012 when he was voted out of office and replaced by Ibrahim al-Amin who he beat to the post in 2009.
His critics in the NUP accuse Ismail of having strong links to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir. They also point out that Ismail joined the NUP relatively recently and has a history of working under the regime of late president Ja’afar Nimeiri (1969-1985). Nimeiri ruthlessly crushed a rebellion in 1970 which led to the death of Imam al-Hadi al-Mahdi who presided over the Ansar religious sect that has historically formed the base of the NUP.
But despite Ismail’s troubling profile, in the view of many party members, he managed to seal the SG position in 2009 owing to the backing by the NUP chief al-Sadiq al-Mahdi and the Ansar sect. Moreover, his Darfuri origins gave him an edge due the desire of the NUP to give leadership positions to figures who are not from central Sudan.
However, Ismail alienated many in the NUP during his tenure particularly over his management style and the perception that he was working to bring the party closer to the NCP.
After being voted out in March 2012 Ismail said that he will remain a "trooper" at the NUP and described it as a "genuine democratic exercise". He also rejected accusations that he is an agent for the ruling party within the NUP.
The failure of Ismail to get a new term was considered by observers to be the result of the alliance between NUP’s General Current faction who opposed his selection in 2009 and others who wanted to see him voted out this time.
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