Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Sadiq Al-Mahdi to Asharq Al-Awsat: The Army Is Partner In Change

Sadiq Al-Mahdi to Asharq Al-Awsat: The Army Is Partner In Change

Sunday, 5 May, 2019 - 10:15
Sadiq Al-Mahdi with Asharq Al-Awsat Journalists Aidrous Abdulaziz and Ahmed Younis (Photo by Mustafa Omar)
Khartoum - Aidrous Abdulaziz, Ahmed Younis
Prominent Sudanese politician and leader of the Umma Party, Sadiq Al-Mahdi, praised the “pivotal role” of the army in isolating President Omar al-Bashir, adding that the military was an “important partner” in the process of change that took place in the country.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Mahdi stressed that the army stopped a genocide by refusing to implement Omar al-Bashir’s orders.

“What the army commanders did was biased towards the people, not a coup,” he noted.

“The military council that removed Bashir, and refrained from disbanding the sit-in by force, has the right to participate in the transitional period,” the Sudanese leader underlined.

Al-Mahdi strongly criticized the rule of Bashir, saying: “Bashir represents a bloody leadership that we must put with Hulagu and tyrants ... When the war began in Darfur, he told his soldiers: "I do not want prisoners or wounded," and these are the rationales that have made the criminal court demand his arrest.”

On whether he considered the 4-year transitional period, which was approved by the country’s forces, as long, he noted that what was more important was achieving stability.

“I think that what is more important is a stable government. Under a transitional period, it will be difficult to achieve stability with the possibility of disagreement within the opposition house,” he explained, adding: “The international community wants democratic civilians. But a civilian presence does not mean a democratic guarantee. There must be a democratic exercise through elections.”

Al-Mahdi emphasized the need to restructure the security apparatus and to “put the elements of the ruling National Congress Party, which practiced tyranny, away from power.”

“The National Congress and the People's Congress must be put under scrutiny, and there are legal matters that affect them, such as corruption. We have to deal with them by law, and all privileges must be removed… This must be done by law,” he stated.

Asked about his opinion on the protests that swiped through Sudan to call for Bashir’s ousting, Al-Mahdi said: “The sit-in represents the return of the soul to our people, a great achievement that represents a face of direct democracy. The sit-in is now attractive to many regions of the country, and it must continue, and remain a kind of popular parliament until the establishment of civilian authority. We must also consolidate the culture of the sit-in to face any setback.”

On Sudan’s regional presence at the current time, Al-Mahdi said Bashir harmed the reputation of his country and called for an Arab action to help in the development process.

“I urge our people in the Gulf States to work on a conference that will present a Marshall Plan for development in Sudan, because the system has ruined our institutions, including the railways and the island project. The leaders of the former regime also stole Sudan’s resources. It is therefore important that we work with our brothers in the Gulf for the benefit of the Sudanese people in the short term,” he underlined.

Editor Picks