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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Three Decades after Sudan Coup, al-Bashir Gone, but Regime Entrenched

KHARTOUM – Ousted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the coup that led him to power from his cell in Kober prison, but the regime that once propped him up remains in power.

Al-Bashir and 23 members of his regime have all been in custody since he was removed from power in a more recent coup in the African nation on April 11.

Almost ironically, the deposed leader could now face charges of breaching the constitution related to his own coming to power, although a large part of the regime that backed him remain in charge in Sudan.

The military council pulled him from office and took over.

Al-Bashir relied on the National Congress Party to run the country until he was ousted less than three months ago.

After first attempting to include him in a transition period, a measure that was rejected by political parties and protesters, the NCP has since been all but wiped off the political scene and was mulling its options on how to move forward.

One of his senior officials, Abdulrahman al-Khader, told EFE that the party had chosen a new leadership and wanted to “avoid an escalation” in the confrontation in order to contribute in the country’s stability and focus on its own reform.

Behind the scenes, however, a board member from National Congress told EFE on condition of anonymity that members were mulling over the possibility of dissolving the party and founding another one with another name and leadership aimed at running in the next election scheduled after the transition period.

The NCP was founded in 1993, born from the Islamist movement of Hassan Turabi, the main ideological pillar of support for al-Bashir during his coup on June 30, 1989.

In later stages of the 1990s, relations between both men deteriorated, prompting al-Bashir to dissolve parliament and expel Turabi’s supporters from the party.

“The Islamists change their skin at every phase to dispose of their mistakes and their image,” Asim al-Tijani, Professor of Political Science at the African International University of Khartoum, told EFE.

Islamists are pragmatists, al-Tijani said, and know how to adapt to “the spirit of each era ... to make concessions to avoid isolation and the expulsion.”

Political expert al-Tijani thinks that Islamists “should assume the whole responsibility for their failure (at ruling with al-Bashir) with courage,” adding that al-Bashir was not the only person responsible for poor governance.

In al-Tijani’s opinion, the Islamists did not dare to criticize their experience in power and now accused him of being the only one to blame for the failure of his 30-year rule, which has led to the fall from grace of the president and the movement.

“If they do not admit the responsibility now, this will make their future complicated. The major problem is that they reached and remained in power by force. Then, when they talk in the future about democracy and elections, the Sudanese people will have their doubts,” he added.

Al-Bashir comes from the military, which backed him over his nearly 30-years in power in exchange for privileges.

After his ouster, the military turned on him and put him under house arrest, A few days later, he was moved to Kober prison where he is being treated in a private room, according to the governmental Human Rights Commission in Sudan.

Sudanese authorities placed him under investigation, but military generals have said they had no intention of handing him over to the International Criminal Court to face possible charges genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity for the alleged attacks against civilians that occurred during the Darfur war between 2003-2008.


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