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Sudan: Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud's ideas will live on

Procession at funeral of Sudanese Communist Party general secretary Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, March 25, 2012.

By Abohoraira Ali

March 29, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, secretary general of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), died on March 22, 2012, in London, where he was undergoing medical treatment for an inoperable brain tumour. Thousands of people joined the funeral procession to farewell Nugud on March 25, when his body was taken from the airport past his home and the SCP headquarters, before being buried in the Al Farouq cemetery. Leaders of other opposition parties and representatives from South Sudan attended.

During the ceremony, SCP leader Siddiq Yousif noted that the huge turnout reflected the widespread opposition to Sudan’s current political situation. Condolence statements poured in from around the world for the man who led the SCP for four decades.

Nugud was born in 1930 in Al Qitaina (a town south of the capital Khartoum). He went to secondary school in Hantoob, where his fellow students included several of today's national political figures. In 1952 Nugud was kicked out of Khartoum University and jailed for his involvement in the struggle against British colonialism. He went to Egypt, where he linked up with SCP members before traveling to Bulgaria to complete a degree in philosophy.

Nugud returned to Sudan in 1958 to immerse himself in the struggle against the General Ibrahim Abboud dictatorship as a full-time party activist.

Following the popular overthrow of Abboud, Nugud was elected to parliament in 1965. But not long after, he was dismissed along with the other 11 SCP MPs. The SCP was also banned as Sudan’s new ruling class sought to undermine the strength of and support for the Communist Party that had been established through its leading role in the anti-colonial movement and the uprising against Abboud.

In 1971, after some SCP members were linked to a failed coup against President Jafaar Nimeiri, SCP general secretary Abdel Khaleq Mahjoub and most of the party's leadership were executed in a massive anti-communist purge backed by the West. During this very dark period of Sudan's history, when many claimed the SCP was finished, Nugud took over as general secretary and led the rebuilding of the party.

From 1971 to 1985 Nugud worked underground, skilfully evading the security forces. While he hid from internal security, he did not hide from the Sudanese people, who helped and supported him through long years on the run.

Nugud was elected to parliament in 1986, during one of Sudan's few brief periods of democracy.

After current President Omer Al Bashir came to power in the 1989 National Islamic Front coup, Nugud was arrested again and the SCP was outlawed, along with all political parties. In 1990 he was released from jail and put under house arrest and in 1994 he escaped into hiding for the next 11 years.

In 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed, ending the three-decade-long, north-south civil war and instituting some limited democratic reforms.

Nugud emerged from underground and gave a series of public lectures to massive crowds, a reflection of his deep support among the people, which had enabled him to evade arrest over such a long period.

Nugud was known for his humour and impressive public speaking skills. Each time the national budget was released, people all over Sudan would await Nugud's response.  He wrote numerous books on a range of topics including slavery in Sudan, philosophy and the development of the Sudanese state.

On the day of Nugud's passing, the SCP issued a statement noting the crucial contribution made by Nugud to the party and the democratic movement in Sudan.

The statement highlighted his dedication in helping to mobilise the masses against the Nimeiri dictatorship. “It was to his credit and dedication that the Party successfully managed to develop and reach its aims in helping to mobilise the masses to oppose the dictatorial regime. Under his leadership the Party refused to accept the so-called national agreement in 1976-77. Instead he wrote the brilliant thesis which was adopted by the CC of the Party, "For a broad Front to achieve democracy and safeguard the homeland". The document was the basis to help to regroup the opposition masses and finally to topple the military regime.”

The statement concluded: "Comrade Nugud was not only a Party leader, but a fighter and a thinker of a rare calibre."

Nugud had the ability to relate to relate to anyone, helping to overcome the religious and ethnic conflicts that have divided the Sudanese people. He was widely popular and deeply respected for his unfailing commitment to the struggle of the Sudanese people.

Nugud's memory, and his example as a true people's hero, will live on.

Condolence to the Sudanese Communist Party from Australia's Socialist Alliance

Dear Comrades

Please accept deepest condolences and fraternal solidarity from the Socialist Alliance (Australia) for the passing of secretary-general Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud of the Sudanese Communist Party.

We have read reports of the thousands of people who joined his funeral procession in Khartoum on March 25 and heard of the many obituaries that have been published by a range of people from many parties and organisations in Sudan and around the world.

The life of your late secretary-general epitomised the heroic and tenacious struggle of so many Sudanese comrades who have remained true to their principles and socialist vision in the face of decades of severe repression. Such an example will always live on as an inspiration for generations to come in Sudan and around the world.

Here in Australia we pledge to continue to work in close solidarity with SCP comrades now living in this far-away country. We will continue to assist these comrades in publishing the The Flame and work with them in whatever other ways we can.

Long live the Sudanese Communist Party!
Long live international solidarity!
Workers of the world unite!

Yours in comradely solidarity,

Peter Boyle
National Co-convenor
Socialist Alliance (Australia)

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