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'My return not linked to deals with Khartoum': NUP leader El Mahdi

October 30 - 2018 LONDON
Umma Party leader El Sadig El Mahdi during his return to the Sudanese capital in early 2017. He is now again in self-imposed exile in London, the UK (RD)
Umma Party leader El Sadig El Mahdi during his return to the Sudanese capital in early 2017. He is now again in self-imposed exile in London, the UK (RD)

Imam El Sadig El Mahdi, the head of the National Umma Party and chair of the Sudan Call alliance, has denied that his return to the country, scheduled on December 19, is part of an agreement with the Sudanese government, for example to participate in the elections of 2020.

“My return to Sudan comes to meet the demands of people in Sudan after I completed work abroad,” El Mahdi said in an interview with Radio Dabanga. He said that he is ready to face any legal issues. In April this year, following El Mahdi’s election as chairman of the Sudan Call alliance, the State Security Prosecution service in Sudan instructed a complaint be filed against El Mahdi, “for dealing and coordinating with rebel armed movements to overthrow the regime.”

Now, El Mahdi said that “If the regime confronts me, all that we demand is a fair and public trial”. The opposition leader is not returning to have his party participate in what he called “the absurd elections”. Al Bashir has been in power since 1989 after a military coup on an elected government and has continued to be elected.

He added that his return may lead to a continuation of the dialogue between the authorities and the opposition in Sudan. “But even this dialogue will be fixed by a roadmap.” He pointed to the ongoing arrangements with African Union (AU) mediator Thambo Mbeki that are aimed to revive the roadmap to peace negotiations.

Roadmap to peace talks

El Mahdi expects a meeting between them would take place between on 10 November, as well as with the others in Sudan Call, until the parties “agree on the details under which the project and the roadmap will be revived under the supervision of Mr Thabo Mbeki.

“The roadmap means firstly an agreement to stop the hostilities and ensure the flow of humanitarian relief and secondly the creation of an appropriate atmosphere for the dialogue.” This climate, he said, would be appropriate for the release of political detainees and prisoners.

President Salva Kiir

Recently, South Sudan's president Salva Kiir invited the Sudanese opposition to Juba to continue his efforts to setup a dialogue between the sides towards peace. El Mahdi said he “welcomes this invitation”.

He considered that if President Kiir could contribute to making the parties engage in a dialogue on the basis of the merits of the dialogue, “that would be a very important role”.

El Mahdi further pointed to the rise of the US Dollar in the black market to SDG54. “The need for the Dollar will rise and the government's attempt to dry up the liquidity led to a lack of confidence in the banking system.

“Without stopping the war and its budget, economic reform in the country would not happen unless expenses were cut mainly with increased production and investment. This would happen only through a political reform.”

Exile

El Mahdi remained abroad in a self-imposed exile until early 2017, when he returned to the Sudanese capital. He left Sudan in August 2014 after having been detained for one month. He was accused by the National Intelligence and Security Service of undermining the Constitution. El Mahdi had denounced the widespread attacks against civilians in Kordofan and Darfur by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commanded by the NISS.


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