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DUP leader asked to exit Sudan’s government

March 4, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The leader of Sudan’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani, is facing a perfect storm of dissent after the emergence of an internal memo demanding that he leaves the government and arranges for reforms.

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Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani (R) and his son Jaafar who was given a presidential assistant position as part of a deal to join Sudan’s government

The former opposition DUP was steeped in controversy when it took the decision to join the “broad-base” government formed in November last year by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) despite strong objections by the party’s rank and file.

Many party members in senior and junior positions have tendered their resignation in protest of the decision which saw the party given three portfolios in the cabinet.

Al-Mirghani, whose son Jaffar was appointed to the position of a presidential assistant, defended the decision by saying it was necessary to save the country and redeem the process of democratic transformation.

It emerged on Sunday that a group of party members have been actively collecting signatures to be attached to a memo calling on Al-Mirghani to withdraw from the government and call for a general conference to address issues of reformation within the party.

The memo, of which Sudan Tribune received a copy, directed scathing criticism against the manner in which the decision to join the government was taken, saying it defied “great consensus” among party members against the participation.

The memo’s authors went on launch an unusual attack on Al-Mirghani himself, saying that his decision had put a “black stain” on the party’s immaculate record and contradicted his own previous assertions against participation in the government.

According to the memo, the DUP’s participation did not contain the NCP’s despotic attitude. It added that the revolution against the NCP’s rule is inevitable and at which point the DUP’s members will find no choice but to confront the party’s leadership.

Mohamed Abdel Rahman, a member of the DUP’s secretariat and one of the memo’s backers, held a press conference in Khartoum on Sunday and claimed that 80 percent of the party’s membership had signed the petition.

He said that almost all DUP members rejected the participation which “falsified their will”.

Abdel Rahman added that he expects their memo to disturb those trying to muffle the voices of dissidents. However, he was keen to point out that the memo would not create a new separation in the DUP and would also consolidate Al-Mirghani’s leadership of the party.

DUP members tend to avoid criticising Al-Mirghani on account of his status as a religious figure, even if they disagree with his decisions.

The DUP and the National Umma Party (NUP) of former Prime Minister Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi are the biggest and oldest opposition group in Sudan.

Unlike the DUP, the NUP refused to participate in the government but its leader Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi continues to call for dialogue with the NCP.