Editor's Note: This op-ed was written by Enough Project Senior Advisor Omer Ismail and originally appeared in Sudan Tribune as "Sudan's National Monologue" on October 24, 2015.
On October 10, Sudan President Omar al-Bashir launched a purported National Dialogue in Khartoum, nearly two years after he had first announced his intention to hold a forum to resolve the country’s numerous social, economic, and political issues. In the intervening period, Bashir and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) handpicked participants, naming a congregation of mostly minor splinter parties, perhaps upward of 100 parties in all. Bashir and his ruling party determined the National Dialogue agenda unilaterally, setting up a 7+7 steering committee of seven parties allied with the government and seven opposition parties. Bashir also gave himself the authority to oversee this exercise.
This dialogue—more aptly a monologue—is little more than a ploy designed to provide the regime with the appearance of working to improve economic conditions and resolve conflict. In fact, Bashir’s government has already squandered two important opportunities to work with the African Union (AU) and opposition parties to find peace. In March, after first agreeing to a pre-dialogue meeting proposed by the AU, the regime reneged on this commitment and did not attend. Earlier this August, Bashir rejected the AU Peace and Security Council’s (AUPSC) request to hold a preparatory meeting at AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa before the National Dialogue began. The second rebuking clearly upset AU officials, as the AUPSC emphasized the need for a “holistic solution” to Sudan’s conflicts…
Read the full op-ed in Sudan Tribune.