Sadiq al-Mahdi, the former Sudanese prime minister and leader of the opposition Umma Party, believes that the regime of President Omar al-Bashir is crumbling and "about to fall." He said the weakness of the opposition has allowed Bashir’s regime to survive, and he called on it to form a new alliance. The ruling party, however, downplayed the importance of the opposition and accused unnamed "Western countries" of failing to overthrow Bashir and betting on cracks within the regime.
Mahdi warned against the dangers of changing the regime through a revolution or a coup. He proposed changing it through a civilian uprising or a national compromise, similar to South America and South Africa.
"The forces calling for the overthrow of the regime are currently unable to make the required change despite the presence of 12 factors that indicate that the regime is deteriorating," Mahdi said, accusing the ruling National Congress Party of seeking to find crises of which to take advantage by popular mobilization through threatening to wage war against the state of South Sudan.
During a workshop hosted by his party, he admitted that some members of his party support the ruling party. He said his rapprochement with Bashir’s party was sometimes considered a "smart penetration," explaining that he has managed to find those in the ruling quarters who follow "the direction that we preach." He stressed that "the ruling party has never attracted a real political force, but is working on attracting affiliated members and parties who do not make a real power that can help it solve its problems."
Mahdi stressed that "any attempt aimed at changing the regime by force, be it through a coup or a revolution, will give the regime, if it fails, a new incentive to attract words defending the country, its interests and rights. If it succeeds, however, the other powers will be excluded, especially since no party that has historically managed to achieve regime change through force or a coup has involved the others in governance. All those who established a new regime through a revolutionary overthrow ended up imposing their control on the others."
Mahdi criticized the rebel alliance of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, saying it "committed errors in the Kampala document that it signed with the internal opposition, thus giving the regime a boost, but it has not benefited from it as much as required, given the awareness of the political forces." Mahdi believed that "there are 12 indicators that Bashir's regime is falling now. Chief among these is the failure of the peace agreements and the existence of multiple battle fronts in six regions of the country. Add to this the huge and unprecedented brain drain, political aversion, the coup movement and the deteriorating economic situation."
He renewed his call to restructure the forces of the opposition alliance. He said the opposition "is unable to organize a round table, much less organize a civil uprising, or negotiate effectively should it enter into negotiations.” He warned that this "may enable the regime to proceed with its misconception that the opposition is weak in order to strengthen its decaying positions." He put forward proposals for rehabilitating the opposition to achieve its goals. Chief among these is a preliminary committee tasked with calling for a popular parliament that includes all factions.
Mahdi harshly criticized the ruling party, stressing that its survival strategy is to seek and exacerbate crises in order to whip up popular nationalist sentiment by threatening to wage war against South Sudan.
Nafie Ali Nafie, Sudan's presidential adviser, had said in front of the Shura Council of the ruling party that “Western powers tried to overthrow Bashir’s rule by using the internal opposition, the rebels and neighboring countries, but they failed, and they are still betting on overthrowing the regime through cracks within the government and the ruling party. But this will not happen given the cohesion of the party and the awareness enjoyed by its pillars.”
He criticized the former Islamist officials in his party, who indicated during the Shura conference in which Bashir made a speech that there are crises plaguing the country and that there is no stability, calling them "frustrated."
Furthermore, the authorities in the state of South Kordofan accused the South Sudan army of carrying out an extensive recruitment campaign for children in the province of Bram, and they called on rights organizations to intervene to release children and resolve the issue of the forced-recruitment operations that are carried out by the southern army in a number of regions within the state.
Salah Dadoori Kafi, the governor of Bram, said yesterday that the number of children who were relocated from the province to recruitment areas had reached 3,000 in recent months. "There are complaints made by some citizens who say that the southern army is luring their children under the pretext of making them join schools in the southern state,” he explained, pointing out that "children are being deported in coordination with Uganda to the Kakama area on the border between the South Sudan and Uganda."
On the other hand, the Sudanese government downplayed the request made by the International Criminal Court to Chad and Libya to arrest Bashir when he visits. The undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rahmatallah Mohammed Othman, said that "this does not concern us because Sudan neither deals with the Criminal Court nor abides by its decisions."
The attorney general of the Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, last week issued a request to arrest Bashir, the latest since the court issued an arrest warrant in 2009 against Bashir on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Darfur. Britain supported the court's request to Chad to arrest Bashir during his presence at the summit.
African leaders, however, refused to deal with the arrest warrant. Moreover, Bashir visited a number of African and Asian countries during the years that followed the issuance of the decision and he returned yesterday [Feb. 17] from the Chadian capital after taking part in the summit of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States.
Continue reading this article by registering and get unlimited access to:
- The award-winning Middle East Lobbying - The Influence Game
- Archived articles
- Exclusive events
- The Week in Review
- Lobbying newsletter delivered weekly