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Sudan Tribune

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Ongoing divisions overshadow Sudan’s Umma party meeting

April 4, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – A day before the meeting of the Central Committee of the National Umma Party (NUP), various groups conducted intense lobbying to push for reforms within the opposition party.

Sudan National Umma Party leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi (AFP)
Sudan National Umma Party leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi (AFP)
The conference is expected to approve restructuring changes and discuss the recent performance of Politburo and the Secretariat.

Top of the agenda is the future of the NUP Secretary General Sideeg Ismail who is widely believed to be a proponent of closer ties with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) led by president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.

But younger members of the NUP along with Mubarak al-Fadil who only last year returned to the NUP after defecting and forming his own party, are calling for deep reforms which include ousting Ismail.

Ismail and the NUP chief Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi held a press conference ahead of the meeting in which the Secretary General slammed those who have showed public dissent towards the party’s policies, especially those who wrote several memos urging the party’s chief to step down.

He said only 28 of 710 party members who signed the memos belong to the NUP institutions while others are either members of al-Fadil’s disbanded Umma Reform and Renewal Party (URRP), the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) or Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N).

But al-Fadil, who is also al-Mahdi’s cousin, slammed Ismail describing him as a “secretary” for the NCP while calling politburo members “freshmen”.

He disclosed that there are different factions and tribal alliances close to the NUP chief that want a clear stance on opposing the regime while another group led by the NUP Sec Gen would like to forge an alliance with the NCP.

Al-Fadil went on to say that a larger third group is interested in uniting the party.

A memo received by Sudan Tribune today and signed by 23 leading NUP figures including al-Fadil said that the vagueness in the party’s stance with regards to the NCP regime, lack of political and organisational efficiency and divisions have paralysed the opposition party.

“Restoring the efficiency of the party requires reviewing the party’s structure, programs, systems and tools to do more to accommodate all its human resources here at home and abroad,” the memo said.

“The regime change has become the only goal for all sectors and masses of our people and therefore we need to review the lax political situation of our party and replace it with a clear political line that responds to the aspirations of our people in change”.

Many NUP members as well as other opposition parties are growing suspicious of al-Mahdi and allege that he has a secret deal with the NCP to neutralise any anti-regime forces.

The appointment of al-Mahdi’s son Abdel-Rahman to become Bashir’s presidential assistant has fueled the theory even further. But the NUP chief insisted that his son acted in his own personal capacity.

The former prime minister has in recent months directed harsh criticism at an opposition alliance known as the ‘Consensus Forces’ saying they are being unrealistic when they call for regime change as they do not have the ability to bring it about.


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