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Sudan’s President Al Bashir steps down as ruling NCP leader

March 2 - 2019 KHARTOUM
Ahmed Haroun, the former Wali (governor) of North Kordofan, and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) Deputy Chairman for Political and Organisational Affairs, will carry out the tasks of acting chairman until convocation of a general conference of the NCP (File photo)
Ahmed Haroun, the former Wali (governor) of North Kordofan, and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) Deputy Chairman for Political and Organisational Affairs, will carry out the tasks of acting chairman until convocation of a general conference of the NCP (File photo)

Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir, beleaguered by three months of ongoing popular uprising against this 30-year rule, has delegated his powers as the head of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to its recently appointed deputy head, Ahmed Haroun, the former Wali (governor) of North Kordofan.

According to the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA), the decision was taken at a meeting held Thursday evening at the NCP Leadership Bureau, which “reviewed the current political situation in the country”.

Haroun, who is the NCP’s Deputy Chairman for Political and Organisational Affairs, will carry out the tasks of acting chairman until convocation of a general conference of the NCP.

Like Al Bashir, Haroun has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes committed in Darfur. He was appointed as the NCP’s deputy head earlier this week, having previously served as the governor of North Kordofan.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Haroun said he had taken-on the role of NCP head “so that the president can devote himself to the national tasks”.

Third term

The head of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Salah Abdallah (Gosh), confirmed that Al Bashir would “abandon the chairmanship of the ruling party and continue as President of the Republic so that the party can nominate another candidate for the 2020 elections”.

In August 2018, Al Bashir accepted nomination for a third term, and indicated that he would run as NCP candidate in the 2020 elections – a move that would require amendments to the Sudanese constitution.

RSF friction

In October 2018, the commander of Sudan’s main paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia, Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan (aka Hemeti), said in a TV interview that Haroun, then the Wali of North Kordofan, should be in jail for “bringing us into disrepute”. The interview was quickly banned and the programme suspended by the security apparatus.

In the interview with Sudanese television Channel 24 militia commander Hemeti said: “Haroun’s place is in jail rather than the state government”.

He accused the opposition dignitaries and a group within the government of ‘conspiring to seek to discredit his forces’.

The RSF is considered a major contingent of the government forces arsenal to combat the armed movements in Darfur and Kordofan. It’s members stand accused of multiple atrocities, crimes, and human rights abuses.

#SudanUprising

Since mid-December last year, Sudan has experienced ongoing popular protests that have spread to towns and cities across the country.

Dozens of civilians have been killed, hundreds injured, and unknown thousands detained as the Sudanese security forces routinely respond to peaceful protests with tear gas, batons, and live ammunition.

The Sudanese Professionals Association – major movers behind the popular uprising and protests – and other forces signatory to the Declaration of Freedom and Change confirmed their unwavering commitment to the unconditional step-down of Al Bashir and his regime, the dismantling of repressive institutions, and the handover of power to a transitional civilian national government.

State of Emergency

Last week, Al Bashir declared a year-long State of Emergency in Sudan, and dissolved the federal government and state governments. In six Republican Decrees, Al Bashir dissolved the national Council of Ministers, assigned the Secretaries General and Undersecretaries of Ministries to run the work of their ministries, assigned a new ‘government of competencies’, relieved the Walis (governors) of the states, dissolved the governments of the states, and appointed high-ranking police, security, and military officers as the new Walis of the states.

The declaration, as well as the consequent restrictive Emergency Orders, have been met with widespread national and international concern and condemnation.


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