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‘Sudan's National Dialogue expenses outrageous’: MP

October 16 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Meeting of the National Dialogue General Assembly in Khartoum (SUNA)
Meeting of the National Dialogue General Assembly in Khartoum (SUNA)

The Sudanese Alliance of Independent Legislators has strongly condemned the “extravagant expenditure” on the National Dialogue.

“The [ruling] National Congress Party (NCP) has squandered the people’s money on the National Dialogue. They created new political parties that were to support its stances in the Dialogue deliberations,” Abulgasem Bartam, the head of the Alliance stated in a press conference in Khartoum on Thursday.

He further accused the ruling party of monopolising decision-making in the country. “The NCP is appointing members of allied parties in the Executive Branch instead of having them elected.”

According to sources in the Sudanese capital, the expenses of the National Dialogue reached more than 100 billion Pounds ($161 million). Most was spent on public relations, media, and accommodation.

The MP strongly denounced the “outrageous costs” of the dialogue project, and said that it was initiated “for the sole purpose of appeasing the international community”.

Platform

In January 2014, President Omar Al Bashir proposed a national dialogue to discuss the pressing issues in the country. He called on all opposition parties and armed movements to join the platform as well. The initiative however faced serious setbacks because of the government’s refusal to create a suitable atmosphere by restoring civil liberties in the country. Several opposition forces subsequently withdrew from the Dialogue.

Parties allied to the NCP and the seven opposition parties that joined the Dialogue formed committees that discussed peace, unity, economy, basic rights and freedoms, identity, foreign relations, governance, and the implementation of the Dialogue recommendations. The members of the National Dialogue officially endorsed the recommendations included in The National Document last Sunday.

Deepening divisions’

Sudanese situation observers who spoke to Radio Dabanga agree that outputs of the National Dialogue will not lead to resolving the crises, but rather, to deepen the political divisions in the country.

They pointed out that the non-participation of the armed movements will result in escalation of the war in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan.

They said that President Al Bashir went ahead with the dialogue, by announcing that it would be held with whoever attended, to mislead public opinion and send a message to the international community that he is willing to resolve the crisis peacefully. “He is also exploiting the recommendations of the dialogue to manoeuvre with the opposition.”


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