5 January 2013

Sudanese Opposition and Rebel Groups Agree to Topple Bashir's Regime

Khartoum — Sudanese opposition forces and rebel groups agreed Saturday on a charter to topple the regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) and to jointly rule the country before to hold democratic elections.

Representatives of the opposition National Consensus Forces (NCF) and the rebel Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) met during five days in the Ugandan capital Kampala to discuss ways to reunite their efforts to bring down the NCP regime.

Despite sharing a common goal the two sides diverged over the use of arms against the government. Also, the threat of armed movements to attack the capital and transfer the conflict to big towns discouraged the Sudanese street to move against the regime, analysts say.

The fear and distrust among the two opposition sides neutralized them and gave the regime a bigger margin to manipulate the public opinion over the intentions of the political forces and rebel groups.

NCF, SRF delegates and a number of women, youth and civil society groups signed on Saturday a 15 page document called "New Dawn Charter", calling to overthrow the regime through political and armed struggle.

The signed document however provides that the rebel alliance will support the "peaceful mass action and its transformation to a peaceful popular uprising and a key tool to bring down the regime".

The SRF also committed itself to announce an immediate and comprehensive cease-fire after the fall of the regime.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune SPLM-N secretary general Yasir Arman said the signatories of the first political charter since 2005 "agreed to reinforce a peaceful uprising by a joint action".

The Umma National Party was very critical to the use of arms to topple the regime saying it may disintegrate the country. It also questioned the efficiency of such approach in a country traumatised by civil wars.

The Umma party of Sadiq Al-Mahdi and the SPLM-N signed last November a joint statement calling to prioritize the non-violent action.

The signatories further decided to form a transitional council to coordinate between them and to present this document to the Sudanese people and the international community but also it would prepare the interim government after toppling the NCP's regime.

The Charter also calls to establish solid relations with the newly independent South Sudan based p, the shared interests, social and historic relations. The signatories also pledge to cooperate closely on the different fields with Juba in a way to reunite the two nations on new basis.

The New Dawn Charter, on the other hand, includes different dispositions about the central and regional governments during the 4-year interim period where a national parliament is to be constituted and a large national unity government led by a president will be formed.

The transitional assembly will prepare a new constitution after debating over issues related to relationship between the religion and the state, the voluntary unity between the different regions, unity in diversity and land ownership, among others.

All the opposition forces except the Popular Congress Party say they are for the "Civilian State" an expression used to designate the need to maintain a clear line between politics and religion in Sudan.

The issue of the land is included to address the demand of Darfur groups to expel Arab groups who arrived during the recent years to the region while the voluntary unity principle comes in response to a recent demand some SPLM-N members particularly from the Nuba Mountains raised to preserve their cultural heritage.

The African Union mediation proposed to hold direct talks between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N but Khartoum rejects the offer asking the rebels to lay down their arms.

Also, the government since the independence of South Sudan called on the opposition forces to engage consultations over a new constitution but it refuses their demand to dissolve the current parliament and to form a new national government before to discuss a new fundamental law.

The Umma party says the national process towards a democratic transition in the country should also include the ruling National Congress Party. But, it is not clear how a national forum gathering the rebel and the government together with the opposition forces can be organised.

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InFocus

Plans to Topple Sudan Govt Gain Momentum

The charter aims to topple the government of president Omar Al-Bashir (file photo).

Another political party has joined rebels and other parties in endorsing the New Dawn charter, a document that calls for overthrowing the regime through "political and armed ... Read more »