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Sudan opposition urges international community to press ruling party on detainees, reforms


January 30, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – A coalition of mainstream opposition parties in north Sudan has urged the international community to wield pressure on the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) there to release political detainees and respond to pressing demands of constitutional reforms as the country faces the imminent breakaway of south Sudan.

File photo - meeting of NCF leaders

The National Consensus Forces (NCF), an umbrella body whose most notable members are the National Umma Party led by Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi and the Popular Congress Party of veteran Islamist Hassan Al-Turabi, on Saturday released a memorandum appealing to members of the international community to stand in support of reforms and democratization in north Sudan.

The NCF warned that failure by the ruling party to meet its demands would result in further disintegration of the country and regional stability.

The NCP demanded that the NCP ceases violations against opposition leaders, citing the continued arrest of Hassan Al-Turabi and the physical assault against the NUP’s leading member Maryam Al-Mahdi, and called for actions to be taken.

In the early hours of January 17, heavily armed members of Sudan security forces arrested Hassan Al-Turabi along with a number of his close aides, hours after a press interview in which he warned the government of facing popular protests if it continued to resist demands to share powers.

Three weeks earlier, NUP’s leading member Maryam al-Mahdi sustained serious injuries when police forces attacked and forcibly dispersed a group of NUP supporters marching from their headquarters to perform Friday prayers in Omdurman town.

The opposition alliance accused the NCP of seeking to curtail public freedoms and reverse cultural diversity granted in the 2005’s Interim National Constitution (2005).

Sudan president Omar Al-Bashir has vowed to transform the predominately Muslim north Sudan into an Islamic state following the secession of the south, where most people ascribe to Christianity and traditional beliefs. South Sudan voted almost unanimously for secession from the north in a weeklong referendum this month.

The opposition parties reiterated their demands for the ruling party to hold a constitutional conference in order to produce a national government, form a new constitution, prepare for elections and resolve the ongoing conflict in the western region of Darfur.

The NCF repeated their threats to adopt “tried and tested methods of civil political action” to mobilize popular support behind the demands should the NCP fail to heed them.

The opposition alliance criticized the “short-sighted” focus of the international community’s policy which intensified towards resolving north-south issues and ignored the issue of democratization and political freedoms in the north.

“We would like to urge your esteemed mission (s) and government (s) to exert pressure on the NCP to free all political detainees and prisoners of conscience immediately, and to respect the public freedoms provided for in the constitution,” the memo said.

The opposition alliance voiced concern that the continuation of NCP policies would lead to further disintegration of the country and undermine regional stability.


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  • 30 January 2011 09:02, by Bol Deng

    Wow! The below paragraph is more than thing to laugh at.

    "The opposition alliance criticized the “short-sighted” focus of the international community’s policy which intensified towards resolving north-south issues and ignored the issue of democratization and political freedoms in the north".

    When was North Sudan become democracy? and when those oppositions promote clean atmosphere in Sudan?

    Jafaar Nimerie, Suwar el Daap, Sadiq, and then Omar Bashier. There is no way that you plant problem in Sudan and latter regret after the mess had cleared. Sorry!

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  • 30 January 2011 17:11, by Paul Ongee

    Historically, Sudan does not, however, understand democracy besides coup d’etat. Sudan and its Arab world lack strategic thinking when it comes to the issue of democratic governance and term limit. Constitutional reform or arbitrary arrests and detention are not supposed to be demanded now when the country is witnessing irreversible disintegration.

    The so-called National Consensus Forces (NCF) have failed to put every governing principles in place when its individual member (political party) had the opportunity to rule Sudan since 1956. NCP is simply following their footsteps regardless of the changing dynamics.

    Despite the various established policy research centers in Khartoum and Omdurman and across the Middle East cities for strategic studies, there is no any research on governance based on inclusiveness and democratic government being often done and applied democratically in any Arab world country.

    Imitation of Saudi Arabia, Iran or Pakistan is always the norm although political structure or culture differs. The system of Kingdomship is totally different from presidency with or without prime minister. Constitutionally, term limit supposed to vary from state to state or from Kingdom to Kingdom.

    Not like in the West, there are no any constitutional term limits of governance or even elected democratic governments in almost the whole of Sudanese history, Middle East or Arab world.

    Politically, Khartoum survives by imitation that if something works in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Republic of Iran or Pakistan it could even work out better here in Sudan regardless of different political and demographic climate. That’s why you always see coup d’etats or political crises after another especially before or after scheduled elections.

    The political culture of every political party in the Khartoum-based government is essentially based on subjective competitive interpretation of Quran to write a constitution, marginalize, discriminate against, Arabize, Islamize, enslave, detain, dictate, torture, sentence and even hang/kill at his disposal.

    In addition, the political survival of any party or government in Khartoum is rooted in arbitrary arrests, house-arrests, dictatorship, detention with or without trial, torture and politically-motivated sentencing and killings. Any government must do that in order to stay in power.

    See, today the Tunisian President Ben Ali who attempted to project cosmetic democracy has fled to Saudi Arabia. The country is in chaos followed by Lebanon, Algeria, and Egypt. Of course, many undemocratic African and Arab world countries are carefully watching the developing situation whether they like it or not to make acceptable constitutional reform.

    Today Tunisia and Egypt but tomorrow North Sudan under the promised application of a new version of Sharia law will be one because it is certainly heading in that direction right after July 9, 2011. With the current mentality of Khartoum, I don’t think if National Consensus Forces (NCF) will be able to capitalize on the remaining North-South post-referendum issues or arrangements to easily get NCP on board before July 9, 2011.

    Paul Ongee
    Khartoum, Sudan

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  • 31 January 2011 02:24, by Deng E. Manyuon

    Dear Paul Ongee,

    I think dictatorships and military coups are in their blood. They are deeply rooted. It might take a generation to uproot the current travel. It seems to some extent that religion of Islam has some elements of dictatorship and authoritarianism. Just have a sense of Iran, previous Afghanistan system, Saudi Arabia, Islamic movements across Arab countries, e.g., Hamas in Palestine, Hezbullah in Lebanon, Taliban in Afghanistan, Muslims brotherhood in Egypt... to mention a few. I wonder whether it is Islam by its nature or it is ignorants who proclaim it!! That is too dangerous to human wellbeing by the way.

    Stay well


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    z7JiOsvQ63bBYYOBtO47s0vNk8TMKDcarros ssanyong deck madeira plastica composite decking Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make a very good article… but

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