The ongoing threats by the head of the National Congress Party (NCP), President Omar al Bashir, against the Sudanese opposition forces reflect the panic of the Sudanese regime, and affirm the absence of any room for a real National Dialogue, according to the National Umma Party. Member parties of the National Dialogue have strongly denounced the current government policies, holding the NCP responsible for the delay of the dialogue process.
After the signing by the opposition of the Paris Declaration in August, Dr Maryam El Mahdi, co-vice president of the National Umma Party (NUP) was detained by the security apparatus for a month. Dr Amin Mekki Madani, head of the Civil Society Initiative, and Faroug Abu Eisa, chairman of the National Consensus Forces (NCF, a coalition of opposition parties), are still being held by the security. They were detained on 6 December, a day after their return from Addis Ababa, where they had signed the Sudan Appeal.
In the Sudan Appeal, an extension of the Paris Declaration, the main rebel movements, allied in the need of regime change, and the rebuilding of Sudan based on equal citizenship and democratic values.
Dr Maryam El Mahdi, who did not return to Khartoum after the signing of the Sudan Appeal on 3 December, told Radio Dabanga from the Ethiopian capital that Al Bashir’s “hollow threats” prove that the National Dialogue, as proposed by him in January this year, is dead. “Yet, they still do not want to bury it, though it started to putrefy indeed.”
She confirmed that the Sudan Appeal has united the Sudanese opposition forces. “Together, we will not only boycott the general elections, scheduled for April 2015, but we will actively oppose them.”
At a press conference in Khartoum on Monday, member parties of the National Dialogue launched a blistering attack on the current government policies, holding the ruling NCP responsible for the detention of its political opponents, and the delay of the dialogue process.
Hassan Rizig, Vice-President of the Reform Now Movement, a political party formed by NCP dissidents in December last year, accused the government of violating the agreements made between the dialogue partners “that stipulate freedom of assembly, of speech, and other civil freedoms”.
In August, the National Dialogue parties agreed on a road map, consisting of a three-month timeframe for conducting the dialogue, to begin in September. The agreement allowed political parties to hold internal consultations on issues facing the dialogue.
Rizig strongly condemned the increasing oppression of freedoms. “All over the country, politicians are prevented from exercising their activities. Holding meetings in public places is not allowed anymore. Journalists are summoned by the security, and newspapers are confiscated for the slightest criticism of the government or its forces. This will create new insurgencies. The regular forces will never be able to quell the rebellion in this way.”
On 27 January this year, Al Bashir initiated a broad national dialogue. He urged the opposition parties and the armed rebel movements to join the dialogue to discuss the pressing issues and crises in the country.
File photo: NUP Secretary-General Sarah Nugdallah announces her party's withdrawal from the National Dialogue Process, 20 May 2014. Three days before, the security apparatus had detained NUP president El Sadig El Mahdi for criticising the attacks on civilians in Darfur by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. (NUP courtesy).