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Tensions escalate between Umma & opposition parties over regime change in Sudan


March 18, 2012 (KHARTOUM) - Tensions escalated once again among the members of the Sudanese opposition coalition in Khartoum and the National Umma Party (NUP) of al-Sadiq al-Mahdi over how to realise political change in Sudan.

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President Omer Hassan al-Bashir smiles (L) as the leader of National Umma Party and former prime minister al Sadiq al Mahadi speaks to the media after their meeting in Khartoum March 24, 2011. (Reuters)

The National Umma Party calls for pressure and dialogue with the regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) to establish a democratic regime ensuring freedoms, regional diversity, and neutrality among religions. The party’s leader calls his approach "civil jihad".

The National Consensus Forces (NCF), composed of the NUP, Hassan Al-Turabi’s Popular Congress Party (PCP), the Sudanese Communist Party and a number of small political formations, call for the NCP to be toppled through a popular uprising and civil disobedience.

Al-Mahdi, a former Prime Minister and leader of the largest opposition party, called to reform the NCF structure and to re-energise its activities. However he is accused of claiming the presidency of the coalition to better negotiate with the ruling NCP.

The ruling NCP, which seeks general consensus on a new constitutional draft refuses to negotiate with the PCP and the other opposition parties who are members of the NCF.

Speaking before the NUP students on Friday, Al-Mahdi urged the Sudanese opposition to stop making statements that make them look like a laughing stock. He further strongly denied his ambition to take the NCF’s presidency from Farouq Abu Eissa, an independent national figure.

"This is a nonsense all what we ask for is to be become efficient," he emphasised.

"When a NCF member declares in our name we can overthrow this government in 24 hours or 48 hours these statements make people laugh and God knows we do not want to be a laughing stock," Mahdi said.

The opposition leader further said all he wants is a structure able to take decisions, and an agreement on what the opposition wants for the future of the country.

"We want also to absolve ourselves of any armed action and to realise our objectives through "civil jihad". This is what we said to them."

Mahdi is known for his opposition to the armed struggle in Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. He also professed a position hostile to the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) led by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North’s (SPLM-N) chairman, Malik Agar, which also includes the three main Darfur rebel groups.

The PCP’s deputy secretary general, Abdallah Hassan Ahmed, slammed Mahdi for his criticism saying he is no longer a member of the NCF alliance. He also pointed out that the participation of Mahdi’s son, Abdel Raham, as presidential assistant in the current government shows the link the Umma party has with the government.

He further said that toppling the regime through a popular revolution, as Al-Mahdi advocates, is not practical. He pointed out that military action will not remove the regime but only aims to press it accept to change.

Abdallah admitted that the NCF forces are divided over the way forward to overthrow the regime but stressed the unity of purpose that brought them together.

Khartoum has accused Hassan al-Turabi’s PCP of working with the SRF rebels to topple the regime and last year arrested a leading member of the party Ibrahim al-Sanousi after he held a series of meetings with the Sudanese rebels in Juba.

The Sudanese opposition coalition is expected to meet at the leadership level by the end of this month in Khartoum to discuss its political platform. Some speculate that the NUP will boycott it.

But PCP political officer Kamal Hassan Omer, who is also a member of the opposition leadership, denied the rumours saying the NUP, despite all the differences, have participated in all the preparatory meetings.

He also said that the upcoming meeting will be the last before the adoption of a project to restructure the alliance and to endorse proposals relating to the NCF’s political charter as well as the interim constitution, which will govern the country during the transitional period after the fall of the regime.


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  • 18 March 2012 11:36, by Chok Deng

    Mahdi is a double dealer,kick him out,he is confusing people both opposition and the gov’t.

    repondre message

  • 19 March 2012 01:42, by zulu

    That country is now in deep shit. our will stikk be shut fpr along time and they wil not get a penny.

    repondre message

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