Category Archives: North Africa

Africa’s Long Road Since Independence

Hurst and Company

Africa’s Long Road Since Independence

The Many Histories of a Continent

Keith Somerville

Bibliographic Details
Hardback
May 2015 • £25.00
9781849045155 • 500pp

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Sudan – ruling NCP wants to stop election of state governors and have pressident appopint them

Sudan Tribune

October 27, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The National Congress Party (NCP) would forgo the direct election of state governors and instead recommend their appointment by the president of the republic, said a leading member of the ruling party on Monday.

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Delegates attend the general convention of the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum October 23, 2014. (Photo Reuters Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

The head of NCP legal secretary, al-Fadel Haj Suleiman, told Sudan Tribune that the Leadership Council will discard the party’s nominees for governors in the next year election and recommend that the president of the republic appoint state governors rather than elect them.

The NCP regional conventions held in the 17 Sudanese states selected 51 people, each state submitted three nominees. The party’s leadership has to pick one of the three to run for governor in the gubernatorial race.

“The General Convention of the party issued a recommendation, requiring to review the federal system, including the selection of governors, after divisions over the appointment or election,” Suleiman said.

He was referring to the failure of the fourth convention, which wrapped up on Saturday, to reach a consensus over the matter.

President al-Bashir in his speech at the opening session of the party’s conference underlined the tribal and ethnic alliances that transpired during the regional conventions particularly in Darfur when it came to select the nominees for governor, and called to correct the “negative effects” of the current territorial administrative system.

“The issue needs to be studied to determine positive and negative effects of previous experiences,” Suleiman said, emphasising that negative tribal and ethnic practices appeared during the nomination of the party’s candidates for the gubernatorial election.

Last September in remarks delivered at the party’s convention in South Darfur’s capital Nyala Ghandour vigorously denounced the functioning of the ruling party in the state saying “the loyalty of its membership is based on tribal affiliations”.

Ghandour further said the “NCP principles call to strengthen the national unity and bring people together on common interests.

Suleiman expected the party opts for the appointment of governors by the president of the republic and advocated saying “this step does not break the principles of democratic governance because an elected president can select the governors who are accountable before elected regional assemblies that can recommend to relieve them.”

He further said that every regional assembly can nominate several persons and the president chooses one of them as governor. Or the head of state can submit some names to the state legislators who will select one of them.

Suleiman said the leadership council might discuss the appointment or the election of governors in its first meeting within a week.

The general convention of the ruling party selected the incumbent president Omer al-Bashir as its candidate for the presidential election scheduled for April 2015.

Last January, Bashir called for a national dialogue process aiming to end war in the Two Areas and Darfur, but also to discuss democratic reforms paving for a permanent constitution.

(ST)

Sudan-South Sudan – Bashir fails to attend IGAD meeting

Sudan Tribune

October 23, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudanese authorities said on Thursday that a leadership meeting of Sudan’s ruling party (NCP) rendered president Omer Hassan al-Bashir incapable of attending Wednesday’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) meeting in Juba.

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir (L), Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn (C) and South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (R) at the third Tanana Forum on Security in Africa held in Ethiopia’s Bahr Dar town on 27 April 2014 (SUNA)

“President Bashir was briefed by the chief mediator about the summit. He did not come because he had other commitments,” Ateny Wek Ateny, the presidency spokesperson said.

He however said the Sudanese leader had assured the mediators of his presence at the next summit on a date yet to be agreed upon.

“He [Bashir] told them [mediation team] to pick the date and let him know. He told them that he would in the next summit,” said Ateny.

Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn and his Ugandan counterpart, Ruhankana Rugunda attended the one-day IGAD consultative summit held in Juba.

During the meeting, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, said he would remove obstacles blocking progress in peace talks with the country’s rebel faction under the leadership of former vice-president Riek Machar.

“I said it in Arusha, Tanzania, that if the other people were committed and demonstrated [a] willingness to resolve this crisis, like we have done as the government, the people who are now in the [internally] displaced camps, would have returned to their homes and they would not have missed planting season. They would have cultivated,” Kiir told regional leaders at the meeting.

He said the government delegation had full powers to negotiate and resolve the current crisis.

South Sudan has been mired in conflict since mid-December last year after a political dispute in the ruling SPLM turned violent. The IGAD-led peace talks have so far failed to halt the violence amid repeated delays and disagreements over key issues.

(ST)

Sufi leader tries to unify Sudanese opposition leaders

Sudan Tribune

October 22, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The leader of the Sudanese Araki-Qadiri sufi sect, Abdalla Ahmed al-Rayah, has launched a new initiative aimed at unifying opposition forces.

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NCF chairman Farouk Abu Issa (L) pictured with NUP leader Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi (C) and PCP leader Hassan Al-Turabi (Photo: Reuters)

He invited opposition leaders to meet on Monday in his headquarters in Tayba area west of the Gazira state capital of Wad Medani.

Born in 1946, al-Rayah is considered the spiritual leader of the National Unionist Party (NUnP) founded by Sudan’s former president, Ismail al-Azhari. He is known for his solid opposition stances against military regimes.

The chairman of the NUnP, Youssef Mohamed Zain, told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that the invitation has been extended to all opposition leaders, saying some of them apologies for not being able to attend the meeting due to a prior commitments but vowed to send delegates to represent them in the meeting.

In October 2009, opposition leaders including the National Umma Party (NUP) leader, al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, Popular Congress Party (PCP) leader, Hassan al-Turabi, besides leading figures from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement attended a similar meeting in Tayba under the auspices of al-Rayah.

Zain said the invitation was extended to all opposition forces including the PCP, NUP, Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), all Arab Ba’athist and Naserite parties, various unionists’ factions besides the civil society groups.

He said the meetings aims to unify opposition forces following the recent divisions, noting the meeting will issue a call for unifying opposition forces according to a common minimum program.

Zain acknowledged failure of the opposition forces to deal with their differences, saying it was improper that opposition leaders criticise each other in the media.

He underscored the call which will be issued at the end of the meeting will focus on the need for mutual respect and joint work to achieve a state that is founded on citizenship and developing a strategy to remove the totalitarian rule.

On Saturday, al-Mahdi and the leader of the opposition umbrella National Consensus Forces (NCF), Farouk Abu Issa, met in the Egyptian capital, Cairo to discuss ways for unifying opposition forces.

They stressed in a joint statement on the need to expedite the unification process of opposition forces for “the liquidation of one-party regime, the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace and full democratic transformation” in Sudan.

The rare meeting was a serious move to contain differences between the NUP and the NCF following suspension of the former’s membership in the opposition alliance and recent accusations made by Abu Issa that the NUP seeks to establish a new opposition alliance.

Observers say the political opposition forces are damned to work together and to reunite their ranks despite repression and lack of means if they want to achieve true change in Sudan.

The rule of the successive military regime and the lack of democracy in the country largely contributed to these divisions and rifts as they are isolated from their supporters and deprived of money.

Zain further lashed at the government policies and the slow pace of the national dialogue, pointing to recent fierce arrest campaign carried out by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) against opposition leaders.

The NUnP chairman also pointed the government and the NCP are preoccupied with selection of president Omer Hassan al-Bashir as candidate for the 2015 election and ignoring the deep economic crisis.

(ST)

Sudan – Bashir selected by Shura as NPC candidate for presidency again

Sudan Tribune

October 21, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) Shura Council has selected president, Omer Hassan al-Bashir, as party candidate for the 2015 election.

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Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir looks on during an interview with state television in Khartoum late February 3, 2012 (Reuters)

The incumbent president won 265 votes out of 495 which represent 73% of the total percentage. His official nomination will be approved at the NCP General Convention.

The NCP Leadership Council on Monday besides Bashir selected four other leading members and referred them to the Shura Council to pick one of them as the party’s nominee for 2015 presidential election.

The 70-year old president previously said he would not seek a new mandate saying the country needs “fresh bold”. The appointment of a military, Bakri Hassan Saleh, as first vice-president was also perceived as a step towards his departure.

During the past weeks, Bashir received different delegations from the NCP dignitaries requesting him to accept their nomination for the presidential race.

The other four nominees chosen by the Leadership Council and submitted to the Shura Council included the first vice-president Bakri Hassan Saleh, former presidential aide Nafie Ali Nafie, former first vice-president Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour.

Meanwhile, the former presidential assistant Nafie Ali Nafie told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that he does not seek to run for the presidency despite being selected among the NCP’s five possible candidates.

“The party members will not select me [as presidential candidate] and I do not want it and it is better for them not to select me”, he said.

The NCP leading figure, Amin Hassan Omer, said in press statements that Bashir and his deputy Salih are not serving army officers, pointing they had retired and became members of the NCP.

The head of the NCP organisational sector, Hamid Siddiq, for his part, scoffed at reports that Bashir will easily won the upcoming election because he wouldn’t run against strong competitors, saying what is wrong if Bashir wins by consensus.

He downplayed voices saying that Sudan needs a president who could break the barrier of the the international isolation and build strong relation with the United States, saying the NCP needs someone who is close to Allah [God] not the US.

Siddiq pointed the NCP leaders were unwilling to accept party nomination for presidency, saying that 7 members withdrew their nomination and the technical committee conducted the nomination process twice for lack of a quorum.

NCP MISTAKES

Bashir, who addressed the Shura Council meeting on Tuesday, acknowledged that the NCP committed several mistakes and violations, announcing intention to form a committee to look into these violations in order to overcome the flaws.

He directed the NCP members to implement the recommendations of the Shura conferences, pointing to the political mobility his party made ahead of the General Convention.

The NCP chairman said his address in the opening session of the General Convention on Thursday will tackle NCP achievements during the past five years, pointing he will also deal with the failures.

(ST)

Sudan – Bashir accuses Mahdi of advancing rebel agenda

Sudan Tribune

October 20, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has accused the leader of the National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahdi, of being used by the rebel alliance of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF).

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Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir delivers a speech in the capital, Khartoum, on 27 January 2014 in which he appealed for a political and economic renaissance in the country (Photo: AFP/Ebrahim Hamid)

Bashir, who was interviewed by several journalists en route to Khartoum from Egypt on Sunday, lashed out at al-Mahdi, stressing he refused to meet with him in Cairo according to his request.

However, al-Mahdi’s office issued a statement on Sunday denying press reports that Bashir rejected a request from the NUP leader to meet with him in Cairo.

Bashir said al-Mahdi made “a mistake” in the first time and we granted him a way out but he repeated the same mistake and he should bear the consequences.

The Sudanese president was alluding to remarks al-Mahd made accusing a government militia of committing serious abuses in conflict zones.

The opposition veteran was asked by the security service to stop his criticism against the Rapid Support Forces when he did for the first time. But he was detained on 17 May when he repeated it

The Sudanese president underscored the deal between al-Mahdi and the SRF was “brokered by a Zionist mediator”, saying the SRF leaders sought to find someone who can promote their project and help them implement it.

“We had information that the SRF was looking for a national figure to help them carry out their project and they found al-Sadiq al-Mahdi,” he added.

He pointed the SRF takes arms against the state in order to seize the whole country, emphasising the SRF program is based upon a Zionist project targeting Sudan.

On 8 August, the NUP and the SRF signed the Paris Declaration after the former suspended its participation in the government-led national dialogue initiative following the arrest of al-Mahdi, who was detained for one month.

NATIONAL DIALOGUE

Bashir reiterated commitment to the national dialogue initiative he launched in January, saying some have mistakenly understood the initiative as a sign of weakness and submission.

“We noted that some [political parties] seek to jump over the dialogue and demand the outcome even before the dialogue convenes,” he said.

He added the national dialogue initiative did not mention postponement of the election or forming a national or transitional government, saying dialogue does not mean breaking the law.

In January, Bashir called on political parties and rebel groups to engage in a national dialogue to discuss ways to bring peace in the country and to discuss constitutional reforms.

Several opposition parties, including the Popular Congress Party (PCP) led by Hassan al-Turabi, the Reform Now Movement (RNM) led by Ghazi Salah al-Din Attabani and the National Umma Party (NUP), agreed to participate in the dialogue before the latter decided to suspend its participation after al-Mahdi was detained in May 2014.

The opposition alliance of the National Consensus Forces (NCF), gathering mainly leftist parties and the rebel umbrella organisation of the Sudan Revolutionary Force (SRF) refuse to engage in the dialogue citing the need to end the war, create an environment conducive for dialogue and form a transitional government.

VISIT TO EGYPT

Meanwhile, Bashir refuted media reports that the Egyptian government deliberately hung a map showing the disputed Halaib and Shalateen triangle as part of Egypt’s territory during his meeting with president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

He said the map has been put since the Ittihadiya presidential palace was built; underscoring that the triangle of Halaib is part of the Sudanese territory.

Bashir stressed they will not engage in war with Egypt, saying his visit to the latter was successful and achieved its objectives.

He said he felt psychological comfort in Egypt for the first time, stressing that he sensed al-Sisi’s keenness to promote ties between the two countries.

However, he acknowledged the existence of controversial issues with Cairo, saying he agreed with al-Sisi to postpone these issues and focus on what is being agreed upon which represent 90% of the issues.

He said the remaining 10% of the issues, including Halaib, could be resolved through dialogue and legal avenues.

The Sudanese president emphasised that he agreed with al-Sisi to utilise Sudan and Egypt relations to achieve peaceful solution for the Libyan crisis, reiterating Khartoum’s fixed position not to interfere in Egypt’s internal affairs.

“Determining the identity of who should rule Egypt falls in the heart of the Egyptian people responsibilities and we are not involved in that matter,” he said.

(ST)

Sudan – National Congress Party to choose presidential candidates with Bashir on the list

Sudan Tribune

October 19, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) Leadership Council will meet on Monday to select five figures as candidates for the presidency ahead of the scheduled General Convention on 23 October.

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A Sudanese woman stands in front of an electoral poster for Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (File/The Guardian Website)

Informed sources told Sudan Tribune that the NCP Leadership Council meeting will be held in a secret place away for the media.

According to NCP bylaws, the Leadership Council selects five people and then refers it to the Shura (consultative) National Council which chooses and ranks three of the five in terms of preference.

Afterwards only one name is picked and tabled at the General Convention to endorse.

The leaked list of candidates includes the incumbent president, Omer al-Bashir, and his two deputies, Bakri Hassan Salih, and Hassabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, besides the former vice-president, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, and the former presidential assistant, Nafie Ali Nafie.

However, some media reports put the current presidential assistant, Ibrahim Ghandour, among the possible nominees instead of the vice president, Hassabo Mohamed Abdel-Rahman.

The same sources underscored that the Islamic Movement’s (IM) Shura meeting which was held last Saturday has recommended four names for the list of candidates including Bashir, Salih, Ali Osman and Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, urging the NCP to continue to carry out party reforms.

According to the schedule of meetings seen by Sudan Tribune, Bashir will address the meeting of the Shura National Council on Tuesday to table the name of the presidential candidate at the General Convention which will be held on Thursday 23 october.

In recent years, Bashir has asserted that he will not run for a new term and went on to say that he spent enough time in power and that the country needs new faces.

But later he backtracked by saying it is up to the party’s institutions to decide on the 2015 presidential candidate and that he will respect their decision.

Bashir who ruled the country since staging a military coup in 1989, faces an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has restricted his international travels and his meetings with western officials.

His health has also came into question recently after undergoing two throat surgeries in 2012 to remove a tumour and two knee replacement surgeries this year.

(ST)