Shoring up the sides

mubarak_al-fadil.jpgA lot of people seem to be falling out with the government these days. The refusal of the SPLM to participate in active government since September is perhaps the best example. We are hearing a lot these days of Salva Kiir, the SPLM leader, patching things up with President Al-Bashir – but few believe that this will really amount to anything more than superficial window-dressing.

Then there is also the intriguing case of Mubarak Al-Mahdi, who was imprisoned five months ago, not charged until November 17 and then released just one day before British teacher Gillian Gibbons. I met him this morning.

The interesting thing is that some years ago Mubarak Al-Mahdi split from the mainstream Umma Party, headed by his cousin Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, to form the Umma Party for Renewal and Reform. The main ideological differences with his cousin was that his cousin refused to participate in an alliance with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). Mubarak did – and then regretted it afterwards.

His arrest came as he was pushing for reunification of the Umma Party. He openly compares his turbulent relationhip with the NCP to what is now happening with the SPLM. “It is clear that some elements in the NCP use agreements with opposition parties for tactical purposes,” he told me.

Mubarak says that his number one priority for the coming months is to join forces with Al-Sadiq’s party. He says that times have changed, and he no longer feels that he can do business with the government. “There are a few people in power that are running the show,”” he says. “The rest, including the Council of Ministers, are not engaged.”

However, looking on as an outsider, it seems that his tactic is more opportunistic than that. The national elections are under two years away. Hundreds of small parties scrabbling around for influence are unlikely to be successful in booting Bashir from power. United, the Umma Party might just stand a chance.


Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: