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Sudanese Communist Party on the crisis and tragedy of Darfur

By the Sudanese Communist Party

June 19, 2007 -- In the ancient history of Darfur, the existing region had been characterized by waves of migrations due to the movements of Arab and African tribes. These waves of migrations had significantly influenced the shaping of Darfur history as well as its norms, traditions and customs. Clearly, migrants had brought with them cultural, social, economic and religious currents, some of which had made radical changes in Darfur. Due to Darfur’s natural and climatic diversity, a number of tribes had settled in different parts of the area. Each tribe had its own chief assuming the management of its affairs independent of any other authority. The tribal customs were the term of reference that had governed the relations between different tribes in Darfur. Indeed, Darfur had been known to the world since the ancient history. It has been mentioned that some pharos had once visited the area, while the Romans had made attempts to subjugate Darfur in order to exploit its resources. Admittedly, the 40 Days Road linked Darfur to the Egyptian Governorate of Asute. Moreover, a number of merchants and explorers, from across the world, had visited Darfur as it had been one of the important commercial stopping places in the African continent.

As an independent entity, Darfur had been ruled by different kingdoms and sultanates, usually named after the dominant tribe, such as Al Dajo Sultanate (between the 12th and 13th century AD), and Al Tungor Sultanate (between the end of the 13th century and the first half of the 15th century AD). In 1445, Sultan Suliman Solong established an Islamic state in Darfur, which lasted, as an independent sultanate, until 1874, when it was conquered by the Turk-Egyptian colonization, following their invasion of Sudan in 1821. Under the new rule, Darfur became part of Sudan up until the Mahdia era. However, following the collapse of the Mahdia state after its armies were defeated while resisting the British invasion, in the battle of Karari, in 1899, Darfur had, again, become an independent entity with external representation, besides being a member in the League of Nations until 1922. Yet, due the support given by Sultan Ali Dinar to Turkey in its struggle against the Allies during the 1st WW, Britain invaded Darfur and subjugated it to become, yet again, part of Sudan in 1916.

The area of Darfur is approximately half a million square Kilometres ; it is the size of Iraq, or the State of California in the USA. Also, its size is equivalent to that of France, Holland and Portugal combined. At the time of independence of Sudan, in 1956, Darfur used to be governed as a single administrative unit (province) known as Darfur Province. However, following its seizure of power, on the 30th of June 1989, the National Islamic Front regime has divided Darfur into three states : State of North Darfur, State of South Darfur and the State of West Darfur. Al Fashir (capital of North Darfur), Nyala (capital of South Darfur) and AlGinena (capital of West Darfur) are the largest towns in Darfur ; besides Zalingi, Al Dieen, Buram etc.

Darfur has a vast border open to Libya, Chad and Central Africa Republic. Tribal interactions across such vast border, made Darfur exposed to existing and renewed conflicts in the region. Victorious, in these conflicts, often advance from Darfur, while the defeated retreat to Darfur to regroup for a new attack. Moreover, Darfur shoulders the burden of the fluctuations in the central government’s foreign policy towards such neighbours.

The population of Darfur is 6 million represented in diverse groups of tribes amounting to 100, some of which are of Arab origins, while others are of African origins. African tribes include : Al Fur, Al Zagawa, Al Masleet, Al Berti, Al Tama, Al Falata etc, while Arab tribes include : Al Rizegat, Al Ta’yshaa, Al Habania, Beni Helba, Al Misiriah, Al Ma’liah, al Salamat etc. The origin of the name Darfur can be traced back to the African tribe of Al Fur, which is the largest and the most famous in the region. The word Darfur means : Home of Al Fur.

All Darfurians are Muslims and they speak different local languages besides the Arabic language. Due to the nature of its problems and its racial and cultural diversity, Darfur is considered as a mini-Africa.

Darfur is renowned for being the biggest producer and exporter of Gum Arabic in the world. Also, it is renowned for its substantial animal wealth. Some studies indicate that a huge wealth of oil and other minerals such as Uranium exist in Darfur.

View of the Communist Party of Sudan on the causes of the conflict in Darfur :

The conflict in Darfur is decades older than the date of its recognition by the media and the international community. It is considered as one of the manifestations of the Sudanese crisis which started conjoined with independence and continues until now. According to our perception in the Communist Party of Sudan the main direct causes of this conflict can be grouped under the following two categories :

1- The historical roots of the conflict.

2- The role which was played by the different consecutive political regimes that governed the Sudan, and which eventually resulted in the escalation of the crisis till it was transformed into an international humanitarian tragedy, largely due to the atrocities committed by the Islamic Front regime, which took over power in the Sudan in June 30th 1989.

1- Historical roots of the conflict :

This conflict has a traditional tribal nature, resulting from dependence of these tribes on deteriorating natural resources, and the use of these resources by both nomads and farmers. In these terms, the conflict is as old as the existence of these tribes and their co-existence together. It was clear that the Darfur tribes did not lack awareness and wisdom to face and solve these conflicts. During the period 1957 until today more than 20 tribal conferences had been convened in Darfur. These conferences had summarized the main points of the problem in the following : (a) respect of the historical rights of these tribes regarding their Hawakeers[1] ; (b) agreement on determination of the routes of movements of these tribes (some routes are western to “Jabal Marra” mountain, and other routes are eastern to the mountain.) with a very accurate and precise citation of the fixed natural land-marks for each movement ; (c) determination the time of movement ; (d) respect towards, and adherence to the tribal norms for resolving the intertribal conflicts, and to the traditions of hosting or providing a safe haven for other tribes.

The participants in these conferences always come out with sound and practical recommendations. But these recommendations remain only on paper without implementation by either the central or the local authorities. And, as usual, under the present regime those conferences were transformed into some sort of political and public relations show, targeted towards the media ! However, if the authorities had implemented only part of these recommendations, the security, political and social situations in Darfur wouldn’t have deteriorated to the current level.

Despite the total black-out, and tight control over information and media imposed by the government of the NIF since taking over power, there were always eminent warnings in the media related to tribal conflicts in Darfur. For years, the Sudanese newspapers have been covering the news about killing, burning villages and steeling of cattle and properties...etc, in Darfur, but what the newspapers could not publish at that time were the most violent crimes committed by the pro-government Militias resulting in the increasing numbers of the victims, the use of highly advanced artillery in the conflict by the government army, mass rape...etc. And so, since early times it became clear, that the conflict in Darfur is not between the Arab and the African tribes ( Arab vs. Zurga[2] ), but it was very clear that Arabs fights Arabs and Zurga fights Zurga, and that no tribe or ethnic group is safe from this dangerous situation .

However, it is very important to state that the tribal conflicts in Sudan have outreached their traditional nature and form, and have changed from only conflicts over the deteriorating natural resources into the natural aspirations towards real participation in power and administration as well as political decision-making, and also towards just wealth sharing, noting that these tribes live in the wealth producing areas.

2- The role of the successive governing regimes in the escalation of the crisis

Despite the special characteristics and the geographical space, the Darfur crisis is regarded as an extension of the general national crisis existing in Sudan since its independence. This general national crisis is a direct result of the wrong policies and mal-treatments pursued by the successive governments that ruled Sudan during the pervious decades, since these authorities had focused only on their control over power while neglecting the constitutional issues related to the building of the newly independent Sudan. Among these most distinctive constitutional issues are :

1- The suitable form of governance which realizes just power sharing in the Sudan between the various national and tribal components, and which could lead to healthy political practices.

2- Reviewing the sharing of wealth and development plans so as to alleviate negligence and unfairness from the underdeveloped areas in the South, West and East, giving priority to areas of ethnic and social conflicts ; and all this to be carried out within the context of a scientifically planned economic project which aims to stop the deterioration in the economic surplus-producing areas, without exhausting the center.

3- Introduction of political democratic practice that takes into consideration the political reality of the Sudan.

4- The issue of the relationship between state and religion.

5- The issue of the Sudanese identity ...etc.

The National Islamic Party regime has played a great role in escalating the conflict in Darfur i.e. transformation into a real tragedy and grand disaster. This role is connected to the strategic plans of the National Islamic Party which aim to build an Arab - Islamic entity in Darfur that extends to Western Africa, and constitutes the first line of defense for the Arab - Islamic state in Sudan, the ever lasting dream of the National Islamic Party. This role of the National Islamic Party regime can be seen in the political practices of the regime as well as in its developmental plans.

The political practices include :

1- Establishment of new administrative bodies without consideration for the conflicts over land ownership.

1- Division and strife of some local administrations which were against the central authority ; and imposition of new administrations pro to the authority.

2- Distribution of weapons brought by what the government calls “Mujahideen[3]” from South Sudan to be used in the tribal conflicts.

3- Discrimination between the tribes in disarmament procedures and weapons distribution.

4- The situation further deteriorated because of the atrocities committed by the “Walis[4]” who wanted to use the tribal historical conflicts to realize political gains for the ruling party, so, they used to award their friendly tribes a province or an administrative area at the expense of other tribes.

5- Conflicts with the neighboring countries and the tribes’ integration in the area resulting in the flow of weapons and warriors.

6- The government policy of soliciting the support of the tribes in neighboring countries ; and in return granting their members the Sudanese nationality.

7- Adoption of a clear cut racial policy through direct involvement of the regime leaders in recruitment, finance, and armament the pro-government Janjaweed[5] gangsters. These gangs have committed severe atrocities against Zurga which included mass murders and massacres, mass rapes, burning down houses and villages, ethnic cleansing...etc. The aim of these crimes is expulsion of millions of Zurga from their very fertile home lands and then transformation these lands to be owned by the class[6] of big businessmen who are either part of the regime or loyal to it. All these crimes have led to the intervention of the international community to fetter the hands of the culprits, as well as to enhance solidarity with the Darfur people from all over the world. In this regard, the Security Council has adopted many resolutions including the submission of the case to the International Criminal Court to prosecute the Janjaweed leaders and the government ranks responsible for those crimes

The Development aspect of the causes of Darfur conflict includes :

1- It is very true that reversing the economic backwardness of the region represents the basic solution for the Darfur problems. But, in the same time, it is very difficult to deceive the people of Darfur by repeating the same slogans of development programs while not implementing them. The people of Darfur have suffered from failure and collapse of, as well as corruption in tens of programs such as : Jabal Marra mountain project, the Savanna project, Khor Ramla and Sag anneam projects, the closure of Nyala tannery, the negligence of the seasonal maintenance of the clean water streams successful project which was technically and financially funded by the Saxony state of Germany, the abolishing of mobile medical and veterinary clinics project, the suspension of the schools and hospitals due to the delay in salary payments...etc, in other words, there were no development projects ; in addition to the total collapse and failure in the services sector.

2-Darfur tribes who have historical rights in the land ownership, were always very generous to provide their lands for the development and revenues generation projects for the benefit of all the population in the region, whether nomads or farmers. And, despite the scarcity of the natural conditions, Darfur can still maintain all its people and animals. The development issue remains a pressing priority since October Revolution[7] of 1964, and uncountable feasibility studies and project files have been accumulated, but the missing circle remains in the political will to take decisions and to mobilize the human and financial resources for the implementation of the plans and projects.

The National Islamic Front regime believed that it could reformulate the Darfurians and their social fabric, norms and traditions according to its engineered designs of it’s the so called “The Islamic Project”, but this project has exploded from within itself. The explosion was clear even before the coup and foes of the regime. The first indicator for the failure of the project was highlighted when two parliamentarians, both from Darfur, resigned from the National Islamic Front block during the democratic period 1986-1989. The second indicator came after the Islamic Front coup on the 30th of June 1989, when a prominent leader in the Islamic Front, he is a native of Darfur, organized an armed uprising in Darfur but he was caught and executed by his fellow brothers in the Islamic Front. The third indicator was the increase of tribal polarization within the Islamic Front in two groups : 1- Quraish : the symbol for Arab tribes and 2- The Black Book : the symbol for African tribes ! Then, as a fourth indicator, the Volcano erupted in the large rift in the leadership of the Islamic front which divided it into a ruling National Congress party and the opposing Peoples Congress party led by Dr. al-Turabi !

However, the best summary and assessment of the crisis of the “Islamic Project” in Darfur was offered by one of the founders of the Islamic Front[8] when he wrote : (The security situation in Darfur is deteriorating gradually from bad to worse. The acts of armed robbery have started because of poverty, unemployment and drought. But then this developed into a tribal conflict between some tribes because of the bankrupt policies of some governors who wanted to use the historical tribal conflicts to achieve political profits for the benefit of the ruling party. The current situation marks the beginning of a civil war in the region under the slogans of political injustice represented in the absence of developmental projects in the region and the lack of education and health services, besides the isolation of the natives of Darfur and preventing them from holding positions of authority in their homeland.)

The continuous marginalization of Darfur since the independence, and the letdown by the traditional political forces who failed to fulfill the demands of the people of Darfur, in addition to the policies of the Islamic Front government which are marked with violence and suppression..., all these factor encouraged the youth of the tribes in the region to organize themselves and rebel against the status quo through the waging of armed resistance to wrench the rights of Darfurian people on equitable sharing of power and wealth, within the frame of a united Sudan.

On the other hand the policy of the partial approach to the problems of the Sudan which was imposed on the country by the international community through concentrating on the Civil War in Southern Sudan and recognizing only the armed group SPLA and Khartoum government as the only negotiators, this policy encouraged other regions to wage rebellion since it was seen as the only way to attract attention to their demands. Thus the region of Darfur witnesses a true Civil War that raises the slogans of genuine political, social and economical equality and justice.

The position of the Communist Party on the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA)

On the fifth of May 2006 in the Nigerian capital Abuja the government of the Sudan and the Sudan Liberation movement (Mr. Mani Arko Manawi Faction) signed the Darfur Peace agreement (DPA) - also called Abuja agreement. The agreement was signed after the international community ; mainly the U.S.A, and the African Union have exerted great pressure on the negotiating parties.

However, many observers are still wondering about the enthusiastic interest of the United States and the west regarding the Darfur issue. In our view, this can be explained through the following points :

First : The Darfur region has strategic position that lies bounded by Chad, Cameron, Ivory Coast and Central Africa and all the nations of West Africa until the Atlantic Ocean. This region has become a battlefield for the transnational monopolies trying to gain possession of Africa’s petroleum and other raw materials with the aid of organizations such as the NEPAD and others. The United States of America plays a major role in this conflict .Also the boundaries of the region extending from Libya passing by Chad to Central Africa has its strategic role in the conflicts of the Great Powers in that area. In addition the Civil war in Darfur casts a shadow of danger of spreading the conflict to other regions of the continent.

Second : The developments following the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan forced the United States to present a new face of peace and reconciliation and attempting to look more humanitarian than the way it dealt with Iraq.

Third : The International community is still in a state of shock and guilt due to its silence and inaction about the horrible crimes committed in the conflict in Rwanda and Burundi. Therefore the Darfur crisis obtained priority in the agendas of regional and worldwide administrators in the form of the United Nations and the Security Council.

Fourth : The international community that supported the peace process of the southern Sudan fears that the continuation of fighting in Darfur could lead to failure of the peace process in the south of the country.

Fifth : There are studies indicating the presence of rich mineral resources of Petroleum and Uranium and other minerals ....etc in Darfur.

In spite of its reservations and remarks on this DPA, the Communist Party of Sudan considered it as a base or starting point for the peace process in Darfur. However, the party reaffirmed that the agreement can only succeed if annexes and additions are made to satisfy the demands of the factions which did not sign it saying that it does not fulfill the basic demand of the people of Darfur. Now, it is well known that in spite of that agreement, the situation in Darfur has deteriorated and the military conflicts increased in number of victims, severity and destructive nature. Also the Communist Party verified its refusal and condemnation of the attempts to threaten the non-signatory parties, and instead, the party insisted on the importance of listening to their demands again and searching for means and ways to reach an agreement with them

In that context the Communist Party’s reservations on the agreement are as follows :

1- The negotiations in Abuja, and therefore what the agreement entailed, was governed by the CPA, between the SPLM and the GoS which created an inescapable frame and ceiling /limit which could not be crossed. It is known that the protocols of Machakos and Naivasha extended beyond the issue of the civil war in the South to deal with all aspects of the Sudanese crisis represented in issues such as : peace, identity, unity, democracy, system of government, development and division of resources, the army, security, foreign affairs... etc. Also the CPA strived to create basic changes in the structure of the current political system including self determination (a single united state or two states) during the transitional period. These issues were decided on by two parties only : the Islamic Front government and the SPLM, while all the other political and social forces including the armed factions in Darfur were not involved. Therefore it is not logical to commit the factions of Darfur and confine them within a framework or ceiling they did not contribute to.

The Communist Party believes that to solve the national problems and to stop armed confrontation in the country, it is necessary to achieve a comprehensive national consensus which deals with all aspects of the national crises. This can only succeed provided that all political forces will be actively engaged in this process, both at the level of decision making and implementation.

2- In the Abuja negotiations, the international community used the same methodology that it adopted at the Naivasha talks. The methodology of the partial approach to the conflict without paying attention to the fragility of the resultant solutions which in all cases will remain as temporary solutions and under real threat shall collapse at any time. It was the same approach used in Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Siera Leone and Chad...etc. This approach does not look at the Sudanese crisis as a whole, or as a one crisis that manifests in many conflicts, but breaks it up into partial solutions imposed under increased pressure. We do believe that this approach is not successful in the case of the Sudan.

3- The international community and the African Union have exerted great pressure with the aim of obtaining signatures of the movements of Darfur. In this regard the agreement does not differ much from what had happened at Naivasha. But, here, the result was the signing of only one faction of one movement of the warring movements. We wonder, concerning this approach, if the mediators did not notice, or had noticed but did not care and did not take into consideration the composition and the structural nature of the armed movements of Darfur ; being connected to the tribal divisions in the region. For everybody, it is clear that the way the agreement was signed will only encourage the continuation of bloody tribal conflicts in the area.

The position of the Communist Party on the deployment of United Nations troops in Darfur.

The position of the Communist Party of the Sudan on the deployment of the United Nations troops in Darfur[9], is based on the following factors :

1- The key point is that the deployment of UN troops has become a general and essential demand of the people of Darfur, especially the inhabitants of the displaced camps, to protect them against the constant attacks of the Janjaweed. The African Union troops have failed to provide such protection, and the government troops are considered as a party in the conflict with a very hostile attitude towards the people of Darfur. What is at stake here is the safety of the people of Darfur and their protection from killing and physical liquidation, and on such issues there is no room for a compromise. Hence, the party does support the deployment of the UN troops.

2- The deployment of the UN troops in Darfur should take place through wider consultation between the UN on one side, and the Government of Sudan and all the Sudanese political forces on the other side. These consultations should deal with all details related to the tasks including the composition of these troops.

3- The role of the United Nations does not end by providing protection to the people of Darfur but should be extended to achieve the political settlement for the crisis.

Searching for all means to resolve the crisis.

On September 2006 the Communist Party sent an envoy to meet the leadership of Darfur armed factions that did not sign the Abuja agreement. Our idea is to discuss with these factions the possible means to overcome the severe tension and the acute polarizations in the country, and to explore the possibilities of laying down the foundations for a sustainable and equitable peace that can prevent the fragmentation of the country.

In the meetings with the leaderships of the movements, we put the following points as a basis for discussions and consultations :

1- Darfur is sustaining a real tragedy. This tragedy and disaster have brought about broad international support and interaction. Does not this international support require that the Darfur armed movements try to unify their efforts and forces around a united program, or at least a unified negotiating position which serves the aspiration and demands of the people of Darfur ?

2- The Abuja agreement did not stop the war. Not only that, but some figures of the international community have started to warn against its collapse. Also, the issue of deploying the international forces in Darfur increased the polarization between Sudan government and the international community which is badly reflected on the country. But on the other hand the public statements of some officers of the international community, and specially the UN representatives in the Sudan, paved the way for adding annexes to Abuja agreement which may satisfy those who had rejected the agreement in the first place. However these statements found a shy response from some leaders of the Sudanese regime. As to the Communist Party, despite its public reservations on the Abuja agreement, the party is not rejecting it, but it can see the possibility of improving the agreement by adding new annexes. The party strongly rejects any attempt to threaten or stigmatize the factions that refused to sign with treason. On the contrary the Party can see the importance of listening to the demands of those factions and looking for common grounds with them. However, a question remains here : To what extents are those factions ready to react to the positive signals from the UN regarding the possibilities of adding annexes to the agreement ? What are their proposals and suggestions in this aspect ?

3- At the end of the day, the Sudan is not a government property, nor a property of any of the opposition forces. It is for all. And for that reason the main task shall be to exhaust all means and measures to continue the peace process and to reach a national consensus which is capable of stopping the bloodshed and laying the foundations for an equitable peace and democratic transformation in response to the demands of Darfur people as well as of all other marginalized territories in the country.

The points raised by the Darfurian factions that met the Party envoy were as follows :

1- On the basis of the fact that the Darfur problem is a part of the overall crisis of the Sudan, all Darfur factions showed their readiness to join any project for national unity which could be agreed upon by all Sudanese parties aiming at paving the way for peace, unity, democracy and equitable development in the country.

2- Their readiness to negotiate annexes with the government to be added to the Abuja agreement.

3- Their negotiating position includes :

a) To agree upon a mechanism that disarms the Janjaweed and secures protection for the civilians.

b) To agree upon compensations for the affected population including compensations for the loss of life, psychological impact, loss of property and provision of shelter.

c) That Darfur shall continue to be one region (not divided into three regions as it is now) under a real federalism of four levels : federal, regional, state and local level.

d) That Darfur people shall participate in all the state central institutions both the civil and the military, and that the representation should be according to population density and the parameters of positive discrimination. Some of the factions suggested the formation of a Presidential Council with a rotating chairmanship or a vice -president from every region.

e) That 36% of the state general budget should be allocated to Darfur, and over and above establishing a fund of 6% from the national income for ten years to be allocated for the development of Darfur.

f) Darfur factions should keep their troops during the transitional period and that troops should be financed from the central budget.

Also, the Communist Party held several meetings with the representatives of the international community and the UN which discussed the Darfur problem and the peace process in the country. In these meetings the party confirmed that consultations between the international community and all the Sudanese political parties are necessary and important for the purpose of reaching effective solutions for the country’s problems. For such consultations to be useful and of value they should take place at the time of developments and not thereafter. For example, through the early consultations the issue of referendum on having one Darfur state or three states could have been avoided on the basis that Darfur originally was a united one region. Equally true, it was possible to find an acceptable solution for the Abyei problem if, before the resolution of the committee of experts, serious consultations were carried out with all the political parties and with the people of the region especially the local leaders.

The search for means to resolve the Darfur crisis is not limited to the Communist Party only. There are other efforts including many popular forums in Sudan like “Darfur Forum, “Darfur Lawyers”...etc, national and international NGOs...etc. All these bodies are working hard steadily for the sake of the Darfur issue in terms of launching initiatives that reject the military option, organizing seminars and workshops, helping in the attempts to convene the Darfur - Darfur dialogue or conference, looking to the crisis in its national perspective, trying to unify the Darfurian movements, launching campaigns addressing the grave human rights violations and atrocities in Darfur, providing legal protection for the activists working in Darfur.....etc.

The vision of the Communist Party towards the comprehensive settlement of the crisis

First : The top priority should be given to address the disastrous and the tragic situation in the region through immediate measures under the auspices of the UN and African Union as agreed to in Addis Ababa. These measures include the following :

1-Deployment of international troops in the region to assist the already deployed African troops in prohibiting all the military operations, protection of refugee camps dwellers and the displaced and ensuring the delivery of aid, food and medication through safe corridors, imposing a no flying zone as well as international and regional supervision to the cease fire, introduce an effective mechanism to disarm the region and supervising all means of land transport and entrance points to prevent the smuggling of arms into the region.

2-To introduce effective mechanisms to disarm the Janjaweed, and bring them to justice.

3-To activate the international mechanism which was assigned to investigate the atrocities and ethnic cleansing, genocide...etc and to identify the criminals and forward them to justice.

4-To work towards the return of the refugees and the displaced to their home lands and to ensure their protection and compensation for their losses.

Second : To bring the factions that did not sign the Abuja agreement to the negotiating table with the government. This should be done under the supervision of the UN and the African Union with the purpose of adding annexes to the Abuja agreement.

Third : To organize the Darfurian -Darfurian conference with the purpose of giving the people of Darfur the chance to address the Abuja agreement and the possible annexes that may be added to it. The resolutions of the conference should be annexed to the peace agreement. The conference should be held in a free and democratic environment, away from the government and with the help of the UN.

Fourth : The Communist Party believes that the right approach to the Darfur problem is to recognize it, not as just a tribal conflict, but as a result of the general crisis of the Sudan which is characterized by the continuous marginalization of the peripheries, and Darfur is one of these peripheries. Consequently, the problem is political and requires a national political solution. Hence, the idea of convening a national political conference on Darfur becomes a necessity. Such conference is to be attended by all the political forces in the country including the Darfurian armed movements as well as the all sectors of Darfur people. The conference must embrace all the initiatives tempting to resolve the conflict.

Fifth : Darfur bears the effects of the demographic changes and the geopolitics of the Sudanese State in the western border of the country. This border is a vast open and unprotected boundary with the three African countries : Chad, Central Africa and Libya. During the Libyan -Chadian conflict the factions started their attack from Darfur in Sudan and the losers took refuge in Darfur to reorganize their troops before re-attacking again. Central Africa launches frequent attacks through Darfur in revenge for the intervention of the Khartoum government in Bangui conflicts. These vast open and unprotected boundaries can only be protected through the policy of good neighborhood, and that the Sudan should see to it not to be used as a bridge for the ambitions of this nation or that ruler to cross to Africa under the name of Islam and Arab Nationalism.

Last : The Communist Party of the Sudan believes that the final solution to the problems of the country can only be achieved through addressing these various problems in a comprehensive approach. The best mechanism for such an approach is convening a national conference attended by the all Sudanese political forces. In this conference, all the agreements : Naivasha, Abuja, The East, Cairo...etc, should be tabled not to open them for re-discussion, but to accommodate the other opinions aiming at further improvements of these agreements, and to participate in the implementation and the monitoring of the implementation of these agreements. This will pave the way for the political forces in the conference to adopt a national consensus project which is the only tool that can save the country. The project considers the multi-ethnicity and the development disparities in the different parts of the Sudan and confronts, through democracy and the participation of all the Sudanese, the problems of imbalanced development and equitable and just share in power and wealth so that the Sudan can be preserved united and secured for all of its peoples.

Midan

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Sudan Communist Party backs SPLM move on Darfur

South Sudan’s stance on Darfur gains support from the opposition
 

APA - Khartoum (Sudan) The position on Darfur of the junior partner in Sudan’s national unity government, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which is also the dominant ruling party in the autonomous government of South Sudan, has gained strong support from the political forces.

The SPLM on Tuesday decided to withdraw its members from the legislative and executive bodies of the regional governments in Darfur. The SPLM further stressed that a political solution was the only correct way to resolve the Darfur crisis.

A prominent member of the Sudan Communist Party, Muhammad al-Mubarak Ibrahim said on Wednesday that the SPLM’s stance was responsible and was a step in the right direction to pressurize the government to respect the rights of the people of Darfur.

A top member of the opposition Popular Congress Party, Abd-al-Rahman al-Dumah said he agreed with Ibrahim saying; "we support this step and call on the other political forces represented in the national unity government to suspend their activities."

He further stressed that the way to resolve the Darfur crisis was through a political solution adding, "we are opposed to any solution though security measures."

 
CLR/daj/APA
2008-09-03
 

Sudan Communist Party rejects resolutions on Darfur

Sudan opposition parties reject resolutions of Darfur conference

Friday 28 November 2008.

November 27, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — Three Sudanese opposition forces urged the government to revise a number of laws to match with the interim constitution but also they rejected the resolutions of a consultative conference on Darfur peace saying the solution of five year conflict requires to involve all the political parties.

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Sadiq Al-Mahdi

Umma Party of Sadiq AL-Mahdi, Popular Congress Party (PCP) of Hassan Al Turabi and the Communist party led by Ibrahim Nugud sent today a letter to the Sudanese President delaing with the democratic transition and the resolution of Darfur crisis.

Two of the three leaders, the PCP and the Communist party, didn’t not take part in the Forum of Sudan’s People. But the Umma participated in the large consultations.

Criticising the initiative of Sudan’s People launched by Omer Al-Bashir, the three parties said "The President of the Republic was not in need for initiatives but for decisions that meet the demands of Darfur people."

They further defined the grave problems facing the country as: Darfur issue, the democratic transition and the unity of the country.

With regard to Darfur the three parties called to involve all the political movements and parties without exception in the expected talks to be held in Qatar. They said the findings of the presidential consultation, Forum of Sudan’s People, reflect only the positions of the National Congress Party.

They also appealed the government to abolish all laws that contravene with the constitution, especially the National Security Act, the Press and Publications Act, the Trade Unions Act, the Criminal Procedure Code, the Sudanese Penal Code and other laws that are inconsistent with the Constitution.

They also requested the Sudanese president to hold an all parties National Constitutional Conference which is the only solution to the political crisis in the country, they stressed.

The three parties’ alliance called on the government to release the political prisoners convicted because of the Darfur issue.

This is the first time the Umma party denounce publicly the NCP and its management of Darfur crisis. The Umma officials said their proposals were sidelined and ignored.

The Democratic Unionist Party of Mohamed Osman Al-Mirghani didn’t join the letter which hailed in Khartoum as good step towards the creation of all parties front to win the next year elections and to facilitate the democratic transition.

(ST)

Copyright © 2003-2008 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.

2007 interview with Sudanese Communist leader

INTERVIEW: Sudanese communist leader urges govt to admit Darfur crimes

http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?page=imprimable&id_article=22465

Wednesday 20 June 2007.

By Ahmed Elzobier

June 19, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — The leader of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) has called on the Sudanese government to acknowledge crimes committed in Darfur and to assume its responsibility.

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Ibrahim Nugud, the Secretary General of the SCP

In an interview with the Sudan Tribune, Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, the Secretary General of the SCP said that Khartoum has to "admit to all the crimes they have committed in Darfur, in any venue of their choosing, be it in the International Criminal Court or inside Sudan – they have to admit what they have done”

Nugud also, accused the Sudanese government of backing the Jajaweed militia and urged their disarmament "because [the authorities] have funded and trained them and made the whole situation so complex and tragic."

The communist leader praised the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed on January 9, 2005 between the Sudanese government and the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement

"The CPA as an end result is a positive agreement; it stopped the war, opened the road to peace, and gave southern Sudan the right for self-determination after a referendum."

However, he regretted that the CPA "addressed many issues in abstract terms and did not take into account the experience of the Sudanese political movements."

Asked on the seriousness of the ruling National Congress Party the (NCP) to implement the CPA, Nugud said "they are just using delaying tactics, and they are also actively bribing and corrupting the SPLM members."

He also expected lack of fairness, accuracy and transparency in the next general elections to be held during 2009.

“The political parties will delude themselves if they think the NCP will allow fair and free elections to take place. We have to be alert because they will defraud the election and they may even use some techniques that we might not be able to spot."

Speaking about the ongoing preparation for the fifth Congress of the party, the secretary general said that regional conferences are organised in different cities around Sudan.

He further reiterated the commitment of the SCP to the Marxist orientation. "We think Marx’s analysis of capitalism in the 19th century was useful and we use his methods as a tool to examine the current situation. We are advocating socialism in a multi-party system." He said.

The following is the text of the interview with an introductive presentation:-

PROFILE:

The Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) founded in 1946, was a major force in Sudanese politics and one of the two most influential, along with the South African Communist Party, until 1971.

In 1946 the party was known as the Sudanese Movement for National Liberation (SMNL). It supported the struggle for national independence, gained by the Sudan in 1956, after which the SMNL changed its name into al-Hizb al-Shuyu`i al-Sudani (Sudanese Communist Party). It was the founder of the Sudan Workers’ Trade Union Federation (SWTUF) in 1950 and had strong ties with the organizations of railway workers and cotton growers. Recruiting its members among workers, students and new professionals, the party remained a rather weak political force but joined the Front of Opposition Parties (FOP) against the military regime of 1958, which was brought down by the October uprising of 1964. In 1967 the Muslim Brotherhood succeeded in having the SCP outlawed as an atheist organization but it re-established itself as the Socialist Party of the Sudan. Divided on its position towards the ‘Free Officers’ of Ja`far al-Nimeiri who took power in 1969 after the failure of a counter coup d’état by communist officers in 1971, the party was outlawed again and its leader Abd al-Khaliq Mahjub executed. Continuing its activities underground the SCP did not regain its legal status until 1985. After the military takeover of 1989 the SCP, being banned once again, joined the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which aims at democracy and autonomy for the south of the Sudan.

The NDA was founded as an un¬derground organization in Khar¬toum in September 1989, only three months after the military coup by General Omar al-Bashir, who, in June 1989, was responsi¬ble for putting the present regime of the National Islamic Front in power. The NDA was formed from all the Sudanese opposition par¬ties. Their leaders operated from Cairo, since it was impossible for them to develop political activities in Sudan itself.

The Sudan Tribune interviewed Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, the Secretary General of the Communist Party since 1972, who is known to be a pragmatic and shrewd political operator. He has been involved in politics since the early 1950s and has spent almost all his political career working underground. Following the Aboud regime (1958–64) he was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1965, and then went into hiding from 1971 to 1985 and was arrested in 1989. In 1990 he was released under house arrest until 1994 and then again went into hiding till 2006.

After the 1985 uprising, the party introduced this new political leader for the first time in a rally at Khartoum University; many people admired his political humor, wit and self-effacement. Mr. Nugud was elected as Member of Parliament in 1986 representing the Al Amarat & Aldiem constituency in Khartoum. His parliamentary performance was mesmerizing and amusing and people still remember his first statement about the Sudan budget, when he dissected with endearing Sudanese proverbs and anecdotes the proposed budget by Al Sadig Al Mahadi’s Government.

However, many ex-Communist Party members criticized him for slowing down the process of change in the structure and political direction of his party and stifling free debate within the party institutions.

To his credit this veteran political leader proved to be an astute political survivor and is largely responsible, and of course with his party colleagues, for the Communist Party still being an integral part of the country’s political map. Although suffering from an ever-dwindling membership since 1989 the Party has earned the respect of the Sudanese in general and the other Sudanese political parties.

In this interview Mr. Nugud addressed many key issues ranging from the Independence of Sudan, privatization and corruption in Sudan, the Darfur crisis, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Communist Party, Marxism and Socialism in Sudan.

HISTORY, POLITICS AND THE ECONOMIC SITUATION IN SUDAN:

- Since independence Sudan has lacked political stability and many reports now describe this country as potentially a failing state – what in your opinion went wrong? Who do we have to blame if this country disintegrates?

Nugud: There are many issues that have not been resolved since independence – the Southern Sudan situation, Darfur and Eastern Sudan, and the grievances in the far North of Sudan. In general the main issues of what we know now as marginalisation in term of ethnicity, culture or socio-economic injustice has never been taken seriously since the independence of Sudan. These issues should have been tackled much earlier. In relation to southern Sudan, unfortunately the failure started with a series of broken promises the Sudanese politicians told the southern Sudanese MPs before independence, including that “if you vote with us we will give you federal status in the south”. The southern MPs believed them and voted for the independence of Sudan, but the northern Sudanese politicians reneged on their promises.

Of course, people from the marginalised regions did not feel that independence brought any benefits to them. Northern Sudan (from north Khartoum to Halafa) was more advanced at the time than most of the country, but now you’ll find the population of Umbada (a densely populated area in the city of Omdurman) is more than the northern sate population, and there is huge depopulation in that region as well at the moment.

We in the SCP have always maintained that Sudanese political forces have not addressed the main independence issues seriously, even if we look back at the TV footage of Independence Day during the change of the flags ceremony. How come they never thought of involving any southern Sudanese, beside Ismeal Al Azahri (First Prime Minister of Sudan representing the unionist party) and Mohamed Ahmed Al Mahagoub (Umma Party leader), in this symbolic ceremony?

The entire nation supported independence but the Sudan National Political movement missed that rather crucial moment to make serious changes in the country. Unfortunately the practice of Arabisation and Islamisation in the south has also started since that time and even political leaders such as Sheikh Ali Abdelrahman — a leading Unionist Party Member — are among the first people to lead Arabisation and Islamisation programs.

The ruling political parties failed to maintain power after independence and handed the government over to the military generals, lead at the time by General Ibrahim Aboud in 1958 (the Aboud regime). However, the October uprising in 1964 was a landmark in the political history of Sudan. It has two main features; firstly, all the slogans came from a grassroots level across the country, secondly, the new forces (trade unions, students’ movements etc) dominate the streets and through demonstrations and civil disobedience the issues of social change became part of the political agenda. Also in October, while the Sudanese Communist Party became high profile, there appeared on the horizon the Islamist Movement working in the opposite direction to the SCP social change program.

The October uprising addressed three very important issues: Firstly, finding a solution to the southern Sudan problem through a round table conference which took place in 1965, and for the first time the issue of regional autonomy status to the south (proposed by the Communist Party since 1956) became accepted by all political forces. Secondly, the reform of the local and tribal administrative laws. Thirdly, the reform of Sudan’s civil service, especially the bureaucratic structure that collaborates with Aboud’s regime.

- What went wrong?

Nugud: October’s slogans have not been transformed into a real policy. Looking back at the southern Sudan issue starting from the unfulfilled promises by the Sudanese politicians, Aboud’s regime tried to resolve the issue militarily and failed. The October 1964 uprising round table conference recommended a regional autonomy status to the south, but the recommendation was not implemented by the ruling parties during the second democratic period from 1964–69. Al Nimeiri’s regime after 1969 adopted the round table conference recommendations and succeeded in signing a peace agreement with the rebels in Addis Abba in 1972. But Al Nimeirie also reneged on his promises and the war started again in 1983.

SPLM and Garang learned from their past experience and the cycle of broken promises and they decided that the problem is not only southern Sudan, the problem is all Sudan. I think it’s a far-sighted vision and that is why all the negotiations of peace agreements are now being done outside the country and with international monitors. Our political party’s contribution in that period was towards the idea of civil disobedience as a method of overthrowing Aboud’s regime. Our attempt was successful and with the help of nationalist army officers the regime resigned and a new government was formed. To sum it up all, the vital issues since independence have not been resolved in Sudan. All the other African countries, except maybe Egypt and South Africa, are still struggling with post-independence issues as well.

- Can you tell us about the political atmosphere before the 30th June 1989 coup?

Nugud: The political atmosphere was positive and there was a kind of guarded optimism, especially after Garang and Al Merghani’s (Democratic Unionist Leader) peace initiative in November 1988. The political parties agreed to hold a national conference to address the issue, however the ruling party at the time, the Umma Party lead by Al Sadiq Al Mahadi, chose to oppose the initiative. It may have been political jealousy or because he doesn’t trust Grang or Al Merghani. I think that was a grave miscalculation and he chose to ally himself with the more right-wing position lead by the National Islamic Front (NIF) at the time. Then the army commanders wrote a memorandum in February 1989. Although the points raised were reasonable, our party warned that this could invite any reckless military officer to use these points as a reason to topple the democratically elected regime. However, the army commanders’ memorandum created a new momentum and all the political parties came together in the Republican Palace in Khartoum and a new government was formed including all the parties except the NIF. Contact was made with the SPLM and a date was set to activate the Garang and Al Merghani’s peace initiative and the possibility of success was high – that could have been a Sudanese solution to the issue of the south in 1989.

- In 1988 all the Sudanese political parties signed what is known as the Defence of Democracy Pact, except the NIF – what happened to it?

Nugud: Regarding the Defence of Democracy Pact, unfortunately it had been just a declaration of principles, there was no mechanism or procedure in place to support it in terms of committees from all political parties organising an immediate resistance to any military coup. Even inside the parliament, when the failed military coup before 30th June lead by General Elzobier became known, nobody took any action to activate the Pact. Inside the army there was incomprehensible complacency and negligence while the army’s commander, Lieutenant General Fathi Ahmed Ali, engaged in a series of briefings with his sub-commanders about their situation. His private secretary at the time, someone named Saeid Al Hassein, was involved with the 30 June military coup conspirators, and helped them to know the details of the army’s movement by taking advantage of his strategically sensitive position. He was later appointed as Governor of Kordofan after the 30 June 1989 coup d’état.

- It was reported early last month that you participated in a meeting with other political leaders (Omer Al Bashier, Al Sadiq Al Mahadi, Hassan Al Trabi) in relation to the National Reconciliation Initiative chaired by Siwar Al Dahab. What was discussed and what was the outcome of your meeting?

Nugud: The National Reconciliation Initiative committee contacted us and said they wanted to listen to the Sudanese parties’ opinions on the current political situation. Myself and two other party members met them and we stated our opinion. However, the committee finished its report and they decided to present the outcome to the Sudanese parties’ political leaders. I thought our representative Dr Alshafia Khadir would attend that ceremony but they insisted that I should attend. I did so at Siwar Al Dahab’s house and we were informed that the committee had finished its report and no discussion took place, and we had dinner and that’s all. We will respond to its recommendations soon.

- Do you think these kinds of initiatives will achieve anything?

Nugud: As an initiative it’s not really bad, it has proposed some solutions within the current political status and we can’t ignore its validity, but it will not cancel out other private parties’ initiatives on issues like Darfur, CPA… etc.

You know, after the military coup, which was radical Islamist in nature, there was no compromise with anybody. Then the opposition formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as an umbrella and they succeeded in involving the SPLM for the first time in this new alliance. The NDA succeeded in achieving the 1995 Asmara declaration which was a kind of road map to solving Sudan’s problems (which was later included in the Naivasha agreement).

The regime went in a very radical direction. Then September 11 happened and the Sudan Government was cornered by the American and international communities and they gave everything the Americans wanted, including intelligence files.

All the issues that we used to resolve as Sudanese now came under the supervision and monitoring of the international community. The international community was not just involved as an observer, they became active actors in Sudanese issues. They delivered food to our IDPs and they supported and act as guarantor of the Naivasha Agreement through The Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Friends of IGAD – Norway, Italy, Great Britain, and the United Sates of America – and the agreement will be monitored by the UN, so things have changed in Sudan.

Now, if you look at the Darfur issue, I think Darfurians in the Diaspora learned from the south experience and they were very clever, they took their case to the international community and people listened to them. They have played a vital role in the mobilisation of international opinion and now the Darfur crisis has become part of the daily diet of every American family.

Although, as Sudanese opposition, we brought about the 1995 declarations, Sudan was already burning in the east, the south, the Nuba Mountains and Darfur.

This is the trap we are now in, that Sudan is under the control of the international community. We brought this on ourselves due to a series of failures throughout our political history. Although as a party we alerted others to this unfolding tragedy, we don’t have enough influence to change the course of history.

- A few weeks ago your party participated in a workshop organised by the Institute of Democracy and Electoral Advancement (IDEA). The workshop addressed issues such as political reforms, democracy inside the parties, and the electoral laws. Do you think the opposition parties, including your own party, are prepared for the general election in 2008/09?

Nugud: Listen, in Sudan if you are in opposition you will never lose. There have been many complimentary messages and articles in various newspapers in the last few days because of our efforts in relation to press freedom and especially the contribution of our parliamentary members in the annual budget debate. Our parliamentary team sat here in this room with a team of the party’s economists for hours and they examined and analysed the budget items thoroughly. In the parliament our MPs gave the Financial Minister a hard time. We received some complimentary messages from people who we considered our enemies. Sadly people outside Sudan don’t know these details and they are far removed from the situation.

I think all the efforts against this government since they took power will make fighting for election a continuation to that struggle.

I think losing a great leader like John Garang will have some effect. In retrospect I think Garang acted without the required cautiousness in that type of situation – how come he allowed himself to travel in someone else’s plane, and during the night? What was so urgent to discuss with Museveni anyway? I think this a really a big tragedy and an unnecessary loss for all of us. I think there was no conspiracy, just a tragic accident that could have been avoided.

Back to your question, I think political parties could be ready to enter the election, but the political parties will delude themselves if they think the National Congress Party (NCP) will allow fair and free elections to take place. We have to be alert because they will defraud the election and they may even use some techniques that we might not be able to spot. Sudanese people are in desperate need and the NCP have access to the state finance they could use this advantage in providing services to the people for election purposes.

PRIVATISATION

- One of the deadliest policies that affected the majority of Sudanese people is NCP’s privatisation policy, including the health service, and the education sector. What is your party’s view on this issue?

Nugud: Privatisation is now an international trend, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union which escalated the current phenomenon. However, in Sudan privatisation has been done in favour of the ruling party and not for the benefit of the national economy. There were some successful and profitable public sector companies that should have remained in the public sector, such as The Leather Tannery Company. Privatisation was a policy imposed by the World Bank & International Monetary Fund (IMF) and aimed at destroying the gains of the Nationalistic movement after independence.

In general the whole privatisation process which took place in Sudan went into the pockets of the National Islamic Front members. For example, there was a Bank named Niema which doesn’t exit any more, it simply disappeared and people took money from the bank and did not repay it. Including high ranking members of the NCP party. And another example, Bank Omdurman Al Watani (The National Bank of Omdurman) which is literally financing the Sudan army. All the leading figures in the NCP took money without any of the regular financial procedures and recently people discovered that this Bank could not pay a simple cheque of, say, one million Sudanese pounds ($500,000). The paradox is that Al Bashier himself is the president of this bank.

In education, private schools were limited before the current privatisation policy, however, many new private schools have now opened because of the collapse of the government financed schools, and even universities are owned by individuals. Privatisation in Sudan is part of a capitalist direction, unlike the usual status after independence where the public sector provided income for the State to finance services to the people… and now we have lost all of that.

CORRUPTION

- Sudan is now considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world, what do you think is the reason this country has a high level of corruption?

Nugud: The matter of corruption is linked to your previous question, take the issue of government tenders for example. There are now eight companies within a holding company named Danfodio and every tender related to the government’s economic activities has to come through this company. With no regard to the issue of conflict of interest, the Governor of Khartoum owns a number of companies involved in the construction of roads, buildings and parks that you see around Khartoum. What is really astonishing now is that the land in Khartoum, with its despicable infrastructure and services, is far more expensive than London. The companies are all owned by the government and no one knows where the profits go, and the Chinese are involved in all this corruption as well, especially in the oil sector. This is by far the most corrupt regime ever in the history of the country. The ruling party has made this country its private property.

- How can all this be resisted?

Nugud: Since December 2006 there have been more than 40 strikes in Sudan. These strikes are not because people want a salary rise or improved working conditions, these people went into strikes because they did not get paid. I think that to have more than 40 strikes in six months is a high percentage by any account and this has never happened before in the history of strikes in Sudan, although strikes are illegal according to the current laws. This simply show you the people’s readiness to fight for their rights.

I have traced back the history of strikes in Sudan from 1903 up to the beginning of the trade union movement in 1947. I find that we now have some of the worst laws regulating the trade unions in the history of Sudan and as a result workers have lost their rights. One example – in one day in the early 1990s the Deputy Governor of the Nile State, Mr Mohamed Al Hasan Al Amien, made more than 3,000 railway workers redundant and literally destroyed the railway in Sudan, which was considered by all standards to be the cheapest and safest means of transport in the country.

COMPREHENSIVE PEACE AGREEMENT

- What is your party’s view on the implementation of the CPA?

Nugud: The CPA as an end result is a positive agreement; it stopped the war, opened the road to peace, and gave southern Sudan the right for self-determination after a referendum. However, one of its shortcomings is that it addressed many issues in abstract terms and did not take into account the experience of the Sudanese political movements. Just look at the Abyei problem, it could have been resolved in a different way if they had taken our Sudanese experience into account if they invited the elders of both tribes (Dinka & Misseriya) and previous civil administrators in the area. It would be far more beneficial if the sponsors of the agreement invited the Sudanese political leaders to give advice as part of their more than 22 think tanks that advised them on different components of the agreement. All this was built around the notion that the NCP appeared to be powerful. This idea was essentially triggered by a paper presented by Dr Francis Deng entitled “One state with two systems”. The agreement is exactly that, one state with two systems, and it divided power exclusively between the SPLM and the NCP and never paid any attention to other, differing, Sudanese political opinions. This is the main defect of the agreement. They thought that because the old political parties had failed and now they had the NCP under their control and they had them cornered through their record of human rights abuses and terrorism charges, the NCP would now listen to them.

- Do you think the NCP is serious in implementing the agreement?

Nugud They are just using delaying tactics, and they are also actively bribing and corrupting the SPLM members.

ABOUT THE SUDANESE COMMUNIST PARTY:

- I have come across many reports describing your party as, even now, the second largest Communist Party in Africa and the Middle East after the South African and Iraq Communist Parties. How do you react to that?

Nugud: To say that we are one of the biggest parties in Africa or the Middle East is not really true. All this comes from Al Nimeiri’s regime when he used to brag that he had destroyed the biggest Communist Party in Africa

- In the 61 years since 1946 your party has become an integral part of the Sudan political map, by any accounts it was an epic journey. How did your party manage to survive against all the odds over the years?

Nugud: There was no heroism, since it started the party has been connected to people’s movements, trade unions, workers, teachers, farmers, and students working in the local areas, especially during election periods. I think, in general, the Sudanese political movement has succeeded in keeping its identity and political structure despite the totalitarian regimes and dictatorships that have mostly ruled Sudan during the post-independence period. I think credit should go to the nature of the entire Sudanese political movement and it’s not something that is exclusively associated with our party. The international socialist/communist movement gave us status and support. Also, the type of people who joined the party have not entered it for romantic reasons, they came through workers’ unions, students’ movements, and whenever there was a vacuum that could be filled by another cadre, this gave us the ability to compensate for our losses. We also learned from our experience during Aboud’s regime how to improve our party’s underground methods in protecting ourselves and the party. As a party we do not depend on tribe or sect, we only depend on our membership, and our expansion after October 1964 had helped us. All of these factors have enabled the party to survive three military dictatorships aiming to destroy it.

The Cold War period gave us a status which was much bigger than our actual size and influence. In reality there were no miracles and nothing heroic and all other political parties have done the same, most of our skills have just been accumulated through trial and error.

- Who supports your party?

Nugud: Since the start of the first Marxist cells back in 1946, they quickly transformed into practical units operating among workers and mobilising the streets. Although we have never had a properly democratic period to allow us work freely and recruit, nevertheless, the party has supporters among workers, farmers, students, women’s groups, minority groups, in the Nuba Mountains, in the South and in Darfur.

- How do you react to people who describe your party as much weaker today than in 1960s or 1980s – your membership is dwindling, you have lost prominent members of your party, you have very limited influence in current political affairs and are on the political margins of Sudan?

Nugud: We know all about that, we have members being made redundant and losing their jobs, and some of our members have left the country and live in exile, but we are working on regaining our strength.

- It has been reported that your party is organising this year’s 5th conference. What issues will you be addressing in this conference?

Nugud: There is a discussion paper that has been circulating around the party since the 1990s, and because of the political situation we were not able to set any time for a discussion period. Now we have summarised the discussion outcome and the summary will be introduced in the party conference. We will also present a political report covering the period from the 4th conference, a paper on the party manifesto and constitution. Also there will be reports on the situation from other communist parties in the world.

Now we have started regional conferences in many cities around Sudan. These conferences will address their tasks and duties and will present their recommendations and representatives. We have a conference organising committee which will be responsible for all the logistics, and we also have a constitution committee, manifesto committee, recruitment and membership committee.

- What is your view now on totalitarianism in general, could it be justified under any ideological justification, socialist or Islamist or nationalist?

Nugud: In short, we were against totalitarian regimes and one-party systems, even before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

- Is your party still Marxist? Do you it still consider Marxism as relevant to the complex world we live in now?

Nugud: We are still committed to our Marxist orientation. We think Marx’s analysis of capitalism in the 19th century was useful and we use his methods as a tool to examine the current situation. We are advocating socialism in a multi-party system.

THE DARFUR SITUATION:

- What do you think the solution should be to the Darfur crisis?

Nugud: The solution for the Darfur crisis: Firstly the Government should admit to all the crimes they have committed in Darfur, in any venue of their choosing, be it in the International Criminal Court or inside Sudan – they have to admit what they have done. Secondly, the Janjweed should be disarmed by the Government because they have funded and trained them and made the whole situation so complex and tragic.

Going back in history, during the 1976 agreement with the Nimeiri regime, there was talk of the Savana belt (from Darfur to the southern Blue Nile) in order to maintain and protect Sudanese Arabic and Islamic culture. There is also the land issue, and the pastoralists actively engaged in evicting African tribes from their fertile land, and the deliberate act of burning villages and looting people’s belongings that was part of the general plan.

After Rwanda and Yugoslavia the international community decided not to allow such things to happen, there is no solution unless the people who suffered from these acts are compensated and safely returned to their villages.

There are also the geopolitic factors involving Chad, Sudan, Libya, France and the USA.

- Finally, Mr Nugud, you wrote a well-known book a few years ago about slavery in Sudan, what prompted you to investigate this issue?

Nugud: My motives came from my thinking that there are three issues that have shaped Sudanese society’s psychological make up – slavery, African beliefs, and Sufism. The documents available to me at the time in the Sudan Records Office were on slavery, so I wrote the book from the limited sources available there. I just wanted to find how the Sudanese society had been shaped? That is all.

Copyright © 2003-2008 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.

Sudan Communists will `end darfur crisis' if elected

Sudanese Communist Party's Presidential candidate promises 'to end Darfur crisis if elected'

January 18, 2010 -- The Sudanese Communist Party’s Presidential candidate, Mohamed Ibrahim Nugud, said that if elected he will end the crisis in Darfurand make unity in Sudan achievable. Speaking to Miraya FM, Nugud said his top priority is development in the country; providing education and health services for all Sudanese. Nugud vowed to improve Arab and African relations and to forge diplomatic relationships internationally.

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