28 January 2014

Sudanese Opposition Slate Al Bashir Speech

Khartoum — The long-awaited speech President Omar Al Bashir delivered in the Friendship Hall in Khartoum on Tuesday evening received much criticism from the opposition parties who were invited to attend.

The Popular Congress Party (PCP), led by Dr Hassan El Turabi, expressed its regret having accepted the invitation to attend the speech at the Friendship Hall. Kamal Omar Abdel Salam, the Secretary of the PCP, told Radio Dabanga that he and his party's leader El Turabi, accepted to attend because of "leaked information", saying that the President would announce major changes.

"This was possible, after the surprising reshuffle of the cabinet in December last year. We were expecting major announcements, like a return of freedom of speech, a transitional governing period, and a stoppage of the wars in the country. Yet, at the time the President was giving his speech, the Sudanese Air Force was bombing Kauda in South Kordofan, the Blue Nile, and Jebel Marra in Darfur."

'Empty speech'

Abdel Salam concluded that the "empty speech" was a blow for all who expected that the President could make a difference. "We have no choice anymore but to overthrow this regime by a popular uprising."

The PCP Secretary strongly denied the rumour that the attendance of El Turabi and National Umma Party (NUP leader Sadig El Mahdi was the result of a secret agreement with Al Bashir. "If there was something secretly planned, it was the President's shamelessness in speaking about freedoms in the country."

The president of the Sudanese Communist Party, Sadig Yusif, pointed to the four issues the President tackled in his speech: peace, freedoms, economy, and identity. "Al Bashir is the first and main cause of the absence of peace, freedoms, a dying economy and an identity policy based on discrimination." So the only solution for these issues is to "get rid of this regime".

Sara Nugdallah, the chairman of the NUP Political Bureau, considered the "disregard for the Sudanese people, the country and all its values" in Al Bashir's speech as "very frustrating, to the extent it surely angered many of his followers," she said. "The speech itself was incomprehensible."

The NUP issued a statement on Wednesday morning (today) saying that "The current state of the country does not allow generalities and an invitation to dialogues in the future. The current state requires drastic and specific measures leading to a new governance system. The state of the nation should be addressed, not the state of the ruling party".

File photo: Al Bashir greets El Turabi after his speech in the Friendship Hall in Khartoum (alarabiya)

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