Sudan Revolutionary Front (Sـ R ـ F )
30 November 2015
To: H. E. President Thabo Mbeki
African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Subject: Preparatory Meeting for NCD
Dear Mr. President;
At the outset, please accept the highest appreciation of all the Sudanese for your tireless efforts to bring about peace and tranquillity in our war-ravaged country. I trust their unshakeable support and cooperation will help you succeed in this noble mission for which you have devoted your invaluable experience, time and energy for so long.
I am writing to you today, on behalf of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), to explain our position on the planned preparatory meeting for the National Constitutional Dialogue (NCD).
The SRF is the first among the Sudanese stakeholders to call for a preparatory meeting for the NCD and we remain fully committed to it because, we believe, without it there will never be a free, credible, objective, transparent, productive and all-inclusive NCD.
To make the NCD an all-inclusive engagement, the preparatory meeting should not exclude any of the armed and non-armed political forces, civil society organizations, Sudanese in Diaspora and representatives of IDPs and refugees. Those who are not allowed to participate in the shaping of the NCD are not likely to join it at a later stage and that makes the NCD a non-inclusive exercise that perpetuates the conflicts of the nation rather than resolving them.
Through my telephone conversation with Mr .Abdulgadir Mohamed, the chief of staff of the Panel this morning, I found out that the Panel is planning to invite only representatives of SRF and the Umma National Party on one hand and the New 7+7 on the other for the preparatory meeting. This decision seemed to have been based on the understanding that that is what the AUPSC communiqués, SRF road map, Sudan Call road map and Mr. Sadiq Almahdi’s latest letter to the Panel on behalf of the Sudan Call leadership Coordination Council have asked for. In our understanding, none of the documents cited above has explicitly or implicitly called for such a limited representation in the preparatory meeting. On the contrary, all the aforementioned documents have asked for an all-inclusive meeting that makes us all owners of the process from the very beginning.
I also sensed from my discussion with the chief of staff that the Panel is not willing to invite the NCF because they have not accepted the NCD in principle. It is true that some parties in the NCF do not see any glimpse of hope in the NCD, but there are other member parties who are willing to test the seriousness of GoS through the preparatory meeting. Let the onus of rejection fall upon those who refuse to show up at the preparatory meeting instead of the Panel being blamed for their exclusion.
In addition to the willing members of NCF, there are considerable forces such as the National Forces for Change (NFC) and the Union of National Parties (UNP) who are staunch supporters of a credible NCD. The fact that the Panel is not inviting them because GoS does not want them to be at the preparatory meeting in Addis undermines the very principles of equality and impartiality in NCD. GoS should not have the right to pick and choose its partners in the NCD. Furthermore, preparatory meetings in Khartoum have no meaning in the absence of fundamental freedoms including freedom of expression. Therefore, a free and neutral venue remains instrumental to a constructive preparatory meeting.
Finally, we would like to draw the attention of the Panel to the fact that the Civil Society Initiative chaired by Dr. Amin Makki is not broad-based enough to represent all the major civil society organizations in the country. To give an example, the Darfur civil society organizations do not find themselves in the Initiative. The IDPs and refugees whose population exceeds three million have also not been represented.
For the above perception gap in who should be invited to the preparatory meeting, we believe the Panel needs to make further consultations to create a common understanding among the main stakeholders and players in the Sudanese conflicts before sending out invitation letters for the preparatory meeting.
Very best personal regards.
Dr. Gibril Ibrahim Mohamed
Sudan revolutionary Front (SRF)