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Sudanese opposition sceptical of Mbeki’s ability to achieve breakthrough


January 26, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The African Union chief mediator for the Sudans Thabo Mbeki met today with the opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF) who conveyed to him their sense of a deteriorating political environment in the country particularly following the recent constitutional amendments which granted the president far reaching powers.

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AUHIP chief Thabo Mbeki speaks to reporters following a meeting with Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir on 5 November 2014 (SUNA)

Sudanese lawmakers approved this month two controversial constitutional amendments introduced by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

The first bill allows the president to appoint governors who will no longer be elected through universal suffrage. The second transforms the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) into regular force to legitimize the creation of its militia the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

NCF member Babiker Mohamed al-Hassan said they discussed with Mbeki the continued detention of NCF chairman Farouk Abu-Essa and civil rights figure Amin Mekki Madani despite president Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s promise last Wednesday to release them along with two others.

Before their detention, Abu-Essa and Madani had signed the “Sudan Call” declaration for peace and democracy with the rebel groups in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

The two lawyers are now charged with subversive activities and use of violence to overthrow the government, charges which carry the death penalty.

Sudan Tribune learnt on Monday that the justice ministry refused to allow Madani to leave briefly to attend his son’s wedding. His defense team called this decision “unprecedented” given similar cases when such relief was granted.

Mbeki pledged to bring up the matter with Bashir in his meeting with him on Monday night, al-Hassan said.

But the NCF figure said that Mbeki has a history of promising but not delivering.

“Mbeki during the last three meetings promised many things, but could not apply them on the ground,” he said.

The opposition alliance also expressed dismay that the government insists on holding elections despite the ongoing conflicts, instability in some states and existence of repressive laws. Most major opposition parties are boycotting the elections scheduled for next April.

They informed Mbeki that they reject any solution that does not address Sudan’s overall problems and asserted their determination to achieve a civil and democratic state.

The NCF also dismissed Bashir’s dialogue initiative launched last year saying that that the regime does not want to satisfy the bare minimum of requirements to make it productive.


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