The leader of Sudan’s opposition Popular Congress Party [PCP] says the ruling National Congress Party [NCP] is using state security agencies to intimidate opponents ahead of south Sudan’s scheduled July independence.
Hassan Al-Turabi, who was recently released from jail, said the ruling party seems to be concerned that the south’s separation could spark uprisings that could destabilize the Bashir administration and encourage other “marginalized people” to demand separation from Khartoum.
“They are trying to divide the opposition by always tempting the [opposition] UMMA party to continue talks with them, which are being adjourned continuously,” said Turabi. “And they think that once July comes and people realize that the country has lost some substantial part of the southern territory, there will be some reaction in the country. They really don’t know what to do.”
The government jailed Turabi after accusing him of engaging in subversive actions to destabilize the country, and for calling for a Tunisia-style uprising, charges the opposition leader denies.
Turabi said the administration wants to prevent opponents from using his imprisonment as a “[galvanizing] tool” to challenge the ruling NCP in the run up to independence.
South Sudanese overwhelmingly voted for separation in a recent referendum. Turabi said south Sudan’s upcoming independence could become “problematic” for President Bashir’s administration.
“This may inspire other regions to dispel altogether any settlement for equilibrium of justice and federal system and follow suit like the south. Especially those in Darfur now because the negotiations in [Qatar’s capital] Doha are not taking them far,” said Turabi.
He also said the administration is “frightened” about the recent popular uprisings in some North African countries and the Arab world that have so far toppled long-time leaders including Ben Ali of Tunisia as well as Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.
According to The Sudan Tribune, President al-Bashir has said the Egyptian and Tunisian governments collapsed because they suppressed the Islamist movements in their countries.