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Sudan Ruling Party Dismisses Opposition Strike Threat

  • Peter Clottey

Southern Sudanese citizens clog the streets of the southern capital Juba as they march in support of the upcoming independence referendum, Dec 9, 2010

A leading member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has dismissed as “weightless” an opposition coalition threat of a massive civil strike to topple President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s government.

Rabie Abdelati Obeid told VOA the threat is unlikely to turn Sudanese living in the north against the Bashir administration.

“They said that, if the result of the referendum comes as secession for the south, then the government should form a national government that will consist of all the political parties. They said, if this call has no response from the government, then they will use the civilians and they will rise up by peaceful means to topple the government,” said Obeid.

Dr. Rabie Abdelati Obeid is a prominent member of Sudan's dominant National Congress Party (NCP)
Dr. Rabie Abdelati Obeid is a prominent member of Sudan's dominant National Congress Party (NCP)

“Our opinion is this so-called opposition group, they have no weight and they have no support from our people in Sudan, and when the majority of the people hear this news, (will say) this is a joke. I don’t think they can do anything (to) the government because the government, as you know, (was) elected by the people of Sudan in a legal election.”

The opposition coalition, including the Umma party led by former Prime Minister Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, has accused the government of failing to make unity attractive to southerners, which they say will lead to southern Sudan seceding from the north in the scheduled 9th January referendum.

Issuing the ultimatum, former Prime Minister al-Mahdi reportedly called for an interim government that, in his words, will write a new constitution, conduct a credible election, as well as resolve the ongoing crisis in the restive Darfur region.

He said there is a need to resolve the issue of the international arrest warrants against President Bashir, who is accused by the Hague-based International criminal Court of committing crimes against humanity in Darfur. .

But, Obeid said the NCP is not interested in what he described as meaningless threats and ultimatums from the opposition.

“I don’t think the government will give any response to any of the options because it is just a political pressure. They are now depending on only political pressure and I don’t think that this call will affect the performance of our government.”