Home | News    Friday 23 March 2012

Head of Sudanese Communist Party dies

March 22, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, secretary general of Sudan’s Communist Party (SCP), has died in London from an inoperable brain cancer, party officials said.

Leader of the Sudanese Communist Party Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud (Reuters)

In Khartoum, the SCP leadership met to decide on arrangements for flying his body from the Britain and is expected arrive no later than Sunday. Hundreds of mourners flocked to his home in Khartoum upon hearing the news.

The 82-year old politician took over from Abdel-Khalek Mahjoub who was executed by ex-president Ga’afar Nimeiri in the aftermath of the brief SCP-backed coup in 1971 along with a large number of the party’s leadership.

He was born in the town of al-Giteina in central Sudan in 1930 and took part in anti-colonial protests when he was 16 at a time of growing political awareness in the country. During the course of his studies Nugud also took a keen interest in literature and supervised the acting society which presented theatrical shows from the work of prominent writers such as Shakespeare.

The future SCP leader was expelled from Khartoum University in 1952 due to his political activism and as such he headed to Bulgaria where he graduated with a degree in Economics.

Upon his return to Sudan Nugud became active in the SCP secretariat but went underground following the 1958 coup led by General Ibrahim Abboud. He was later captured and arrested for a year.

Shortly after Aboud’s ouster in 1964, he was elected to the parliament for the first time in his life but his term was prematurely ended as a result of a decision by the government to dissolve the SCP and remove is lawmakers.

Following what was named as the 1971 massacre of the SCP, Nugud again went into hiding for 14 years until the 1985 uprising against Nimeiri. He re-joined the parliament up until the military coup led by Brigadier Omer Hassan al-Bashir took place in 1989 and a decree was issued banning all political parties in the country.

He went into hiding for the third time until his hiding place was uncovered by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in 2005 as Sudan moved into a a system of government that was more tolerant of opposition.

In 2009, when the SCP held its first general convention in decades, Nugud was reelected to the party’s top post. However, at the time his views largely moderated with some in the party privately attributing it to old age and deteriorating health.

A year later, Nugud ran unsuccessfully in the country’s first multi-party presidential election. By that time, the SCP chief was no longer the charismatic eloquent figure he used to be.

Analysts say that the party was never able to regain its prominence as the strongest communist party in the region after losing its top leadership in 1971.

Furthermore, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the diminishing popularity of communist ideology around the world also took a toll on the party.

At one point there were discussions within the SCP on whether its name should be changed to reflect the new realities.

The Sudanese presidency and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) issued an obituary hailing his patriotism and his role in the country’s political movement.

Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, leader of the National Umma Party and Sudan’s former Prime Minister, described Nugud as someone who treated people fairly and courteously exemplifying the true meaning of religion.

The Islamist opposition figure Hassan al-Turabi and head of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) made a phone call to Nugud’s sister Fayza conveying his party condolences..

The visiting delegation from South Sudan’s People Liberation Movement (SPLM) led by Pagan Amum has also reportedly decided to extend their stay in order to attend funeral services for Nugud.