Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

1 January 2013

Sudan: Opposition Rejects Bashir Invitation to Develop New Constitution

Photo: Mohamed Siddig/UNMIS
Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir voting (file photo).

Khartoum — The Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has invited several parties, including the opposition, armed groups and civil society organizations, to participate in the development of a new, permanent constitution for the country, Radio Dabanga has learned.

Al-Bashir made the invitation while addressing a crowd rally in the Blue Nile state to mark the opening of the Roseires Dam, on Monday, 31 December.

Sources told Radio Dabanga the president vowed not to exclude anyone in the next constitution, saying all involved parties will determine how Sudan should be governed and stressing that the invitation is open to anyone interested.

Repetition

Opposition political forces, coalition members of the national consensus forces, the National Umma Party and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) strongly rejected the president's request.

Sarah Nugdalla, head of the political bureau of the National Umma Party led by Imam Sadiq al-Mahdi, stated that Bashir's invitation is a "repetition of previous ones".

He recounted that the president had sent out a similar invite last September, which they also refused to accept due to the lack of freedom in the country and because the government did not reach a peace agreement with rebel groups.

Nugdalla added that the current invitation is accompanied by serious lack of freedom in Sudan, which is illustrated by the fierce campaign against cultural centers and civil society organizations in the country. He mentioned the government has shut down the Sudanese Studies Center, the House of Arts and the Al Khatim Adlan Center.

The source said the Sudanese constitution should be written under a real and national government during a transitional period and asserted that al-Bashir's current invitation is empty and does not deserve a response.

SRF

The SRF also refused al-Bashir's proposal and asked for his reaction concerning a draft project the movement submitted to him called "Reconstructing and Restructuring the Sudanese State".

Al-Qasim al-Hajj, information secretary and SRF spokesman suggested to Radio Dabanga that the constitution discussed by the president cannot be drafted "in the presence of wars" or while there is lack of security, freedom and peace in the country or while the NCP is in power.

He stated that the priority now is to achieve justice in Sudan, noting that this will not happen under the current regime which is itself wanted by the ICC.

The spokesman also questioned how al-Bashir could invite the Sudanese people to draft a constitution in which they will not be represented.

According to al-Hajj, those who would accept to participate in drafting a new constitution would be part of the same "sinking boat" as al-Bashir.

Lastly, he stressed that a new constitution would not be able to save the people of Sudan, adding that the president's invitation is meaningless and that no one will listen to it.

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