Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Taha joining the race against Sudan CPA

By Deng Akech Deng

October 22, 2007 — For reasons such as being one of the men who brokered the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), Ali Osman Mohammed Taha has been supportive of the CPA and its implementation, which brought difference between him and some extremists in National Congress Party circle, and even at some points with the long time friend and cousin NCP chairman and the president Omar Hassen el Bashir. Mr. Taha on behalf of NCP negotiated CPA with late Dr. John Garang De Mabior of the SPLM who was then the SPLM chairman and commander-in-chief of Sudan People’s Liberation Army ( SPLA), the military wing of the SPLM which waged war against Islamic regime in Sudan till 2005 when the peace accord between warring parties ended Africa’s longest and bloodiest civil war. Since he concluded the peace agreement with the SPLM, Ali Osman Mohammed Taha earned credit internationally. In Sudan, he was seen as a statesman and charismatic leader who is sincere and possesses conflict resolution abilities, at least to majority of Sudanese particularly marginalised people. To radical islamists within NCP circle, Taha’s success was viewed differently and contrary to ordinary Sudanese citizens’ views. The group of bigotry, power thirst and radicals in the ruling northern regime alleged that CPA which Ali signed has given away tremendous amount of powers to the SPLM and other Sudanese political parties which created power vacuum in the NCP. This group was determined to work within the NCP to disintegrate the agreement. This prompted Mohammed Taha to be concerned with implementation of the agreement he signed and is credit for.

After successfully concluding the peace agreement, and given that there were some forces within NCP who were against the CPA, Taha’s next concern was the implementation of the accord. Before the CPA, the NCP was hundred percent in control of government seats. This also means that hardliner ones were always in prestigious positions. Now with the CPA in hands, that status quo was to change. As agreed upon in the comprehensive peace agreement, NCP was allocated 52%, SPLM with 28% and other Sudanese political forces with the remaining 20% of the government seats. In this context, the NCP power decreased from 100% to 52%, and that means there were more NCP power thirsts than power they can have. This allocation of government powers also means that there were less prestigious positions for NCP than it used to be. To Ali Osman Mohammed Taha who was concerned with some NCP members’ opposition to CPA, it even meant that there were more choices to choose from as to who should take prestigious positions within the NCP. During the formation of the government of national unity (GONU), Ali proposed appointment of new NCP figures to privilege ministries instead of old faces. His attempt was to eliminate thugs who had been revolving the circle of NCP high-status positions, and who were at the same time alarmed at changes brought about by the CPA which they blamed on Mohammed Taha. Unfortunately, Ali Osman’s attempt failed due to group’s closeness to El Bashir. The group has long supported and guarded Omar El Bashir’s cynical government, therefore, they earned credibility of El Bashir, and any attempt to rid them is seen as a creation of power vacuum which is unacceptable to Omar. As a result, Omar Bashir null the only way Taha thought he could get the CPA implemented and change the status quo of the national congress party. The difference over CPA implementation and other liberal positions Taha have taken such as vying for the transfer of the African Union force in Darfur over to robust UN force intensified tension between Bashir and Taha which prompted Taha to temporary flee the country for Turkey in the mirage that he was going for holidays. This happened at around Omar El Bashir’s 17th coup anniversary, the June 30th 1989 coup which brought him to power. Taha overstayed his holiday in exile in Turkey amid difference between him and El Bashir. The news of simmering feud between the two top NCP leaders caused anguish nationally and internationally. Fearing that other Sudanese political forces would take advantage of the crisis in NCP, El Bashir convinced Mr. Taha to rejoin him. Although Ali Osman Mohammed Taha failed to change the status quo of Omar El Bashir’s NCP, he had credibility and admiration of the majority of Sudanese till he recently joined the radical group within the NCP and the race against CPA, SPLM and Marginalised Areas of the Sudan.

As political crises continue between SPLM and NCP due to SPLM’S suspension of its ministers from the government of national (GONU) owing to NCP’s violation of CPA and lack of political will to implement the CPA, Ali Osman Mohammed Taha, the only NCP member who was believed to be sincere finally joined the radical islamists and falsely accused the SPLM of preparing for war. This latest development is a big blow to the agreement that he spent two years negotiating and which earned him credibility. It is a political suicide which neither earned him nor NCP any credits, but discredited him and will intensify tension between the two parties. The marginalised Sudanese people who believed you were open minded and honest lost that belief as they read in the news, watched and listened to you spreading baseless allegations about the SPLA troops massing up at borders preparing for war. It has put you inline with dishonest Omar El Bashir who always makes inciting statements and later retracts them. You joining the Race Against CPA, SPLM and Marginalised Areas of Sudan is a discredit for you, and it won’t help NCP finds way out of its current political crises with the SPLM. In fact, this false accusations tell marginalised Sudanese and the party you are accusing that what you and NCP are doing is an inverse of what you alleged, and it is worsening the feud. You as the think tank of NCP and pragmatic as it was believed should have better ways of resolving this quandary, but you took the wrong step and direction. Please take Steps back, rethink and come up with amicable way of exiting this crisis instead of pushing it from bad to worse. This is in the best interests of all Sudanese people and particularly you big NCP guys. Forging good partnership with the SPLM now, is the last chance for NCP’s political future.

Deng Akech Deng is a Sudanese student in Regina Saskatchewan Canada. Reach me at: [email protected]