Interviewed by Sudanow, Rahama pointed to possibility of assigning the dialogue to a national committee or any neutral mechanism, noting that seriousness of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in dialogue was attributed to considerations inside the party and other personal ones relating to desire of President Omer Al-Bashir to leave the political work and Sudan in a better position, besides other reasons associated with the consequences of the conflict in South Sudan.
Here below Sudanow publishes the excerpts of the interview:
Question: tell us about the latest developments of your party dialogue with the National Congress Party (NCP)?
Dr Bashir: “Sudan is currently facing economic and security issues, namely at Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Darfur in addition to an international boycotting. There are also issues within the ruling party that led to a coup attempt and caused many of its leaders to change their allegiance. All these reasons caused the National Congress Party (NCP) to call on the political parties and the people again. Additionally, there are the transformations of the war in South Sudan and the reflections of the conditions there on Sudan. In fact we have assumed that the National Congress Party (NCP)’s call for dialogue this time could be honest.”
(Interrupting: Do you mean you have responded to the dialogue for these reasons only?)
Dr Bashir: “There is also a personal reason relating to President Omer Al-Bashir’s desire to leave the political work and Sudan in a better position. This is a personal matter. This is the first time we responded to the National Congress Party (NCP)’s call for dialogue, provided that the dialogue should lead to ensuring freedoms, realization of peace and reformation of the economic conditions and Sudan’s external relations.”
Question: What are the mechanisms of the dialogue?
Dr Bashir: “The dialogue should be comprehensive and must not exclude any party. It can be agreed to assign the dialogue to a national committee or any neutral mechanism that can bring together representatives from the parties and the government. Additionally, an election law must be worked out to hold free and fair elections besides the establishment of a constitutional council to be tasked with working out a constitution for the country and achieve a democratic transformation.”
Question: The European Union (EU) has presented an initiative to hold a dialogue between the Sudanese parties in Germany. Has your party received an invitation from the EU to take part in this dialogue?
Dr Bashir: “No. There is no written initiative yet, but there is a proposal that suggests inviting the ruling and opposition parties to participate in a workshop in Germany where the main task of the workshop is to set up a transitional constitution to run the transitional period and enact the election law. However, as for the political dialogue, it will be inside Sudan. This would be a preparation for what we have said, but the issues of freedoms, legal reforms, conditions of rule, economic reforms and preparation of a permanent constitution would be decided on inside Sudan.”
Question: Will the permanent solutions be at the level of party leaders of through a popular referendum?
Dr Bashir: “Sudan’s independence came after the agreement of the two partisan leaders and Nimiri’s military coup came due to a difference within the parties. However, the current weakness of partisan loyalty and presence of demanding movements necessitate consensus and not bilateral leadership agreements. In fact the agreement on Sudan’s stability should be comprehensive with consensus on.”
Question: Would the armed movements be involved in the dialogue?
Dr Bashir: “Yes, the movements carried the arms in protest against grievances at their areas, and therefore if all the Sudanese people agreed to come together to remove these grievances there won’t be any room for carrying arms. Presently all the ruling and opposition parties have contacts with the armed movements, matter which will lead to their involvement in this all-inclusive conference. However, the threat now is not in the armed movements, but in the armed tribal militias, particularly in Darfur. These militias are the ones which threaten any future peace because fighting has become a job that does not differentiate between an Arab tribe and another, whereas the conflict has turned to be within the one tribe.”
Question: Negotiations are currently ongoing between the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)/North. How do you expect the outcome of these negotiations?
Dr Bashir: “The Addis Ababa talks could lead to a ceasefire and humanitarian agreement, and since there is a call for a comprehensive dialogue, an agreement would be reached to resolve the issues of the areas of conflict through the comprehensive resolution of all Sudan’s issues. This is the prospect of the international community which is against bilateral solutions. Presently, all parties incline towards the comprehensive solution.”
Question: Does your party have contacts with some armed movements?
Dr Bashir: “We have contacts with all the movements to persuade them to adopt the political work to achieve the goals of their areas, and these movements have recently released Kampala document as a means for democratic transformation instead of focusing on the military agenda.”
Question: To what extent are you satisfied about the way the National Congress Party (NCP) runs the national dialogue?
Answer: “We have not yet sat with the National Congress Party (NCP) in an institutional dialogue, but there are bilateral meetings, some of them are social meetings and official. However, we expect all the dialogues to be through their call for the political forces to take part in a general conference to discuss Sudan’s issues. Internal changes took place within the National Congress Party (NCP) and those changes could be in the interest of this dialogue. Additionally, there are also some regional considerations, namely what is going on in Egypt, together with what we sense of dissatisfaction of some Gulf States, in particular the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which have economic effects; and the regional transformations also have their effects. Therefore, we believe that the National Congress Party (NCP) is now more serious and willing to commit itself to what it has proposed of a call for dialogue.”
Question: Farouq Abu Iyssa, Head of the opposition alliance, accused the PCP of dividing the opposition rank through its unilateral dialogue with the National Congress Party (NCP). How do you react to this?
Dr Bashir: “All parties of the opposition alliance have agreed on the comprehensive solution through dialogue and there are parties in the alliance which have held dialogue with the NCP before we did. They even attended the speech of President Al-Bashir at the Friendship Hall, excluding the leftist parties. And even the Communist Party has met with the former First Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha and embarked on dialogue since 2004.
Additionally, after Naivasha, all the political forces met with the National Congress Party (NCP). Therefore, we believe what is happening is a maneuver or a bidding by the left. If we enter into a dialogue with the National Congress Party (NCP), we will enter with the agenda of the national alliance which include issues of freedoms, the transitional government, the peace, the economic issue, Sudan’s external relations and justice.”
Question: Is there any contact between the PCP and the Justice and Equality Movement, and does the political parties’ dialogue pave the way for peace with the arms carriers?
Dr Bashir: “First of all we have contacts with all the armed movements. Second we do not negotiate with the National Congress Party (NCP) bilaterally to unite the two parties. This is out of the range of the dialogue. The dialogue should bring together all the political forces including the armed movements.”
Question: Why do you insist on denying the bilateral dialogue with the National Congress Party (NCP) at a time when your party Secretary General speaks about the coming of the unity of the Islamists?
Dr Bashir: “Not now, and not the National Congress PARTY (NCP) and the PCP, but during the elections and after the transitional period. We at the Islamic movement, after each period, used to come out in a new dress. For instance, after October revolution, we emerged as (The Convention Front), after April uprising (The National Islamic Front), after the Salvation Revolution (The National Congress), after the difference with the National Congress Party (NCP) and after the transitional period, hopefully and God Willing, we will come out with a new name with which we manage to surpass the National Congress Party (NCP), the PCP and the old leaderships so that the youth will take the lead.”