16 July 2012

Sudan: NCP Says Sudan Lacks Basis of Arab Spring, Vows to Punish 'Sabotaging'

Khartoum — Officials from Sudan's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) have refused to equate ongoing protests in the country to the Arab Spring phenomenon, casting the unrest as a sabotage plot by opposition parties.

NCP's leading member Qutbi Al-Mahdi said on Monday that opposition parties are incapable of emulating their counterparts in Arab countries and create a revolution in Sudan. He asserted that opposition parties do not have programs for resolving the economic crisis.

Worsening economic conditions have triggered small but widespread protests across different parts of Sudan for the last month. The NCP attributes Sudan's current economic situation as manifested in soaring inflation and a depreciating currency to the loss of about three quarters of the country's oil production due to South Sudan secession.

Critics however point to NCP's rampant corruption, chronic mismanagement and overspending on defense and security to fund wars and remain in power.

According to Qutbi, the people did not respond to calls for protests because they realize that the opposition has no economic policies or programs better than those of the government.

The NCP figure voiced confidence that Sudanese people enjoy a level of awareness that will prevent them from taking to the streets to enable traditional opposition parties who ruled before to return to power.

"If the opposition ever ruled Sudan again it will take the country down" he said before returning to criticize opposition parties for attempting to imitate the Arab Spring style of protests saying that the Arab Spring will not manifest in Sudan because its basis are not existent.

Similarly, the NCP's political secretary, Hasabu Mohammed Abdel Rahman, said on Monday that opposition parties are incapacitated due to their ideological and political divisions. Hasabu reiterated that the NCP stands with freedom of expression but will apply the law against anyone who commits "sabotaging"

Earlier this month, mainstream opposition parties allied under the coalition National Consensus Forces (NCF) signed a charter called the "democratic alternative" which forged consensus on regime change "through peaceful means" and outlined the basis for a three-year transitional period to run the country after the fall of the NCP.

But it is unclear whether these parties are throwing their full weight behind the protests which have so far been led by anti-government youth activists.

Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP), says he is conducting a dialogue with the NCP to ensure a peaceful transition of power.

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