National Umma Party

Youths in Sudan’s largest opposition party planning anti-government protests

June 19, 2013, (KHARTOUM) – The Youth section of the National Umma Party (NUP) issued a statement today announcing that protests are planned for June 29 in al-Khalifa square in Sudan’s twin capital of Omdurman.

JPEG - 35.2 kbFILE – Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir smiles (L) as the leader of National Umma Party and former prime minister al-Sadiq al-Mahdi (REUTERS /Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

According to the statement, the “soft attitudes” toward the government “are no longer viable in the face of the system that became addicted to walking on the risks and crises”.

“There is no choice but confrontation whatever the price is…. there is no higher cost than the cost of the regime continuing [in power]” the press release read in part.

It vowed that the protestors will not return home that day until the regime has fallen.

The language of the statement however, indicates that the demonstrations planned does not have the backing of the NUP leadership and in particular the party’s chief al-Sadiq al-Mahdi.

Al-Mahdi has expressed lack of interest in schemes aimed at ousting the government led by the National Congress Party (NCP) saying rather that he wants to reform it to prevent a state breakdown.

The former Prime Minister also publicly distanced himself at a press conference last week from the National Consensus Forces (NCF) recent announcement of a 100-day plan to bring down the regime.

At the said press conference NUP’s representative at the NCF, Abdel-Galil Al-Basha passed a note to Al-Mahdi, saying that he had participated in all stages of preparation for the 100-day plan.

However, al-Mahdi ignored the note, saying instead that the initiative was aimed at mobilizing, not overthrowing the regime.

His position angered his peers at the NCF who have long grown suspicious of the al-Mahdi’s stances regarding the government.

Al-Mahdi also announced a new “Charter for Change” that NUP would seek to implement as soon as possible. It is comprised of collecting a million signatures that would later develop into mass sit-ins and protests.

An official in the NUP politburo who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the demonstrations would take place 3 weeks after al-Mahdi’s announcement.

Critics assert that al-Mahdi has no intention or interest in seeing the NCP regime go particularly as his son is currently an assistant to president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.

Some within the NUP politburo privately say that they believe al-Mahdi has forged a secret deal with the NCP in which he agreed to block any efforts in the direction of regime change.

Last week Sudan’s presidential assistant and NCP vice chairman Nafie Ali Nafie praised the NUP and al-Mahdi for “washing his hands” from the opposition and the armed rebel groups.


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JEM: Sudan Army will fail to recapture Abu Karshola

The leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has leader scorning the hubris of the Sudanese Minister of Defence soon retaking the South Kordofan town of Abu Karshola and “purging the area of rebel forces”. Dr Jibril Ibrahim called Sudanese Defence Minister Abdel Rahim Hussein “the best the revolution has seen”.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Dr Ibrahim said that every now and again Hussein uses the entire budget of his Ministry to facilitate the task of the resistance forces. Rebels then defeat the government forces in Darfur and Kordofan battles, and capture all of their equipment.

During his visit on Wednesday to Obeid, the North Kordofan capital, Hussein announced that the army has started to enforce its plans to retake control of the areas captured by the SRF rebel coalition and defeat them. He also reaffirmed the ability and strength of his forces to crush the rebels, Sudan News Agency reported. Abu Karshola has been in rebel hands for about three weeks.

However, Dr Ibrahim who is also vice-president of the SRF, said: “Hussein thinks any plans he may have to retake Abu Karshola are good and he is secure about. We are also secure, because we are more than certain he will fail; it is a plan for defeat, not victory, and the facts will prove our point.”

“Hussein cannot recapture Abu Karshola and he cannot protect any town. However he will mantain that he can defend Khartoum.”

Discussion of the recent attacks by SRF forces in North and South Kordofan was on Thursday’s agenda the Council of Defence and National Security (CDNS), which is presided over by President Omar Al Bashir himself.

Its members discussed reports about the security situation in various regions. They were briefed about measures taken by the army to repel this offensive. The meeting concluded that “the army is able to defend the country and to defeat the rebel groups”.

National Consensus Forces

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, the spokesman for the National Consensus Forces (NCF) Kamal Omar, demanded that Khartoum transfer power to a transitional government because it has failed to maintain peace, stability and unity. “It has become isolated and it must go!”

The NCF is a coalition of Sudanese opposition parties who aim to remove the National Congress Party (NCP) from power.

Omar said it is now the duty of the regime to hand over power to a transitional government because the issues of Sudan will not be solved on the basis of religious slogans and mobilisation for war, but rather, they will be resolved through political dialogue.

“The system is not intellectually qualified to launch religious slogans, which should rather be applied to the President first. The corrupt should be punished.”

The Sudanese who were born into the current political climate tend to accept restrictions on human rights and press freedom, and live according to war policy, he said. This is because it is the only life they know, said Omar.

National Umma Party

The leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Mariam Sadiq Al Mahdi told Radio Dabanga how the government continuously accuses the opposition of supporting the SRF and of being their accomplices. She said these accusations will not solve the problems of Sudan, as this type of speech “poisons the atmosphere”.

The NCP came to power with a coup d’état and has failed to maintain the unity of the country, she said. Instead, “it promoted political injustice, destroyed the economy, tore the fabric of society and spawned poverty and war.”

She demanded that the NCP recognise its failure saying: “Our national responsibility as a party requires us to be understanding with those who take up arms, in order to preserve the unity of the country.”

Al Mahid said that NCP members should be held accountable for all the damage it has done, as justice is an essential to stability in Sudan.

File photo: Sudanese Defence Minister Abdel Rahim Hussein (Sudan Tribune)

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Sudan opposition skeptic about Bashir’s calls for dialogue, prisoners release

Sudan President Omar Al Bashir announced his government will engage with all political bodies and civil society groups without exception, including with groups that have taken up arms against his regime. The statement was made during his speech at the opening of the new parliamentary session on Monday.

“We offer these salutations knowing that all Sudanese people are looking forward to the next step which we began by calling all conflict groups for an inclusive dialogue, thus confirming the common bond between the sons of one nation, adhering to national interests rather than other considerations, and contributing to address and resolve issues that satisfy the people of Sudan.”

Bashir claimed that, “The political parties’ response was very positive and encouraging,” before adding that the sons of one nation always welcome any call with nationalistic spirit. Opposition political forces, however, have expressed general skepticism on the president’s calls for dialogue based on past experiences.

During his speech, Bashir also ordered the release of all political prisoners in detention centers across Sudan. He claimed that all rights and freedoms in self-expression will be upheld in Sudan for both individuals and groups and this is demonstrated by the release of the political prisoners.

National Consensus Forces: “waste of time”

Kamal Omer Abdel Salam, spokesman of the opposition NCF, said Bashir’s calls for dialogue and his orders to release Sudanese political prisoners are a “worthless and waste of time”.

Past experiences indicate that all of Khartoum’s opportunities for dialogue with other political forces were “for gaining time and acquiring legitimacy which ended in the regime’s betrayal … and brought Sudan to what it is now”, he said.

Salam said the opposition is “convinced” that change in the country would not happen under the current government and its institutions. The regime should instead start a dialogue to discuss the implementation of a transitional government, he suggested.

National Umma Party: “need to follow words with deeds”

Dr. Mariam Sadiq Al Mahdi, a leading figure at the NUP, welcomed the president’s invitation to engage with all political forces.

However, she told Radio Dabanga, Bashir “needs to follow his words with deeds”, which include political, expression and press freedom.

Deeds should also comprise preservation of human dignity, holding perpetrators accountable and creating a conductive environment for other political parties “without incrimination”.

This way, the president’s invitation would be different than previous dialogue initiatives of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). “They were used only for gaining time and creating instability among political forces”, she said.

Sudanese Revolutionary Front: “false and futile”

Abdel Wahid, head of SLM-AW and deputy president of SRF political affairs, said the president’s calls to release prisoners are “false and futile”.

He told Radio Dabanga that if Bashir was being sincere the “displaced in Darfur, in Blue Nile and in South Kordofan, [in addition to] refugees in Chad and in Central African Republic” should be also released.

“They were all displaced because of air fighters and militias, who crammed these people in prisons called camps”, Abdel Wahid said.

If the president was being sincere, the depuy continued, he would disarm militias so that the displaced and refugees were freed from their “compulsory prisons in the camps” and could return to their villages.

Abdel Wahid said the solution to Sudan does not lie in the dialogue with the NCP, but in changing the entire regime into one that respects freedom, democracy, justice and equal citizenship.

Justice and Equality Movement: “repeated”

Jibril Adam Bilal, JEM spokesman, said Bashir’s dialogue invitation is “repeated, worthless and a waste of time”. He added the president’s calls “are no different than from other times which the NCP used to overcome its own internal crises”.

The aim of Sudan’s president is to “exploit the resistance and the political opposition in negotiation fora stipulated by the international community in order to dismantle the country’s international isolation without making any strategic political decisions or addressing issues as to why he took up arms”, Bilal suggested.

He reinstated that the objective of the New Charter Dawn -endorsed by many opposition figures- is to topple the regime “with no room for negotiation after all the crimes committed against the Sudanese people in general and against the innocent civilians in Darfur, Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains”.

Sudan’s People Liberation Movement-North: “hunt opposition”

Yasir Arman, SPLM-N secretary general and SRF secretary for external affairs, said Bashir’s announcement is “a new attempt to hunt the opposition”.

He warned that taking the bait that Bashir uses for 23 years would be a “historic mistake” and called upon a united opposition to reach a comprehensive peace solution.

“Constitutional processes which are not preceded by stopping the war and leading to a new transitional arrangement are only a reproduction of the crisis and of the totalitarian regime”, he told Radio Dabanga.

“Old wine in a new bottle”

In a press statement, Arman said the president’s speech “is an old wine in a new bottle. Using Islamic jargon, it is ‘old milk in a new bottle’”.

He noted that the only new development is the release of some political prisoners, while the president is “keeping the same laws that detained them and that can detain them again or detain others”.

In addition, Bashir is calling “on the opposition to join him in an empty constitutional process that will give him legitimacy and renew his license and his political group to rule Sudan, keeping the status quo and without addressing the fundamental issues”.

These fundamental issues, according to him are to “open access for humanitarian assistance for more than two million displaced persons in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Darfur. Denying access is a war crime. This was completely ignored in his speech.”

Secondly, the government must before anything else end the wars and enable political and armed forces in conflict areas to participate effectively in any credible constitutional process. “This was ignored too”, he said.

Although the release of political detainees is welcomed, there are another 600 prisoners whose “whereabouts are unknown”. Arman said 138 of them come from the Blue Nile, more than 240 come from the Nuba Mountains and the rest comes from Darfur and other places.

He noted that “the army and security officers who were accused of the last coup … are being court marshaled without … the right to defend themselves”. This issue has not been addressed and the laws that allow the unlawful detentions are still in place, Arman said.

“The freedom of the press and some newspapers were closed down. The think tanks and cultural centers were closed down. Their situation will be the same after this speech, and the media censorship will continue”, SPLM-N secretary general was quoted as saying.

According to Arman, Sudan needs a credible constitutional process that will answer the fundamental question of “How Sudan is going to be governed” and not “Who is going to govern Sudan.”

The issue at hand, he said, is not to write a beautiful constitution, it is how to end the one party system and to open the road to democratic transformation.

“General Bashir has ruled Sudan for 23 years undemocratically with his political group, divided the country, and committed genocide and war crimes continuously and yet he has the appetite to continue. Supporting him to continue up to 2015 and beyond to legitimize himself and the National Congress is to act as his accomplice” Arman concluded.

Photo: Omar al-Bashir (

Related: Sudanese opposition agrees to topple Khartoum regime (6 January 2013)

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