Sudan makes strides to change constitution

Saturday October 15 2016

On Tuesday, October 11, people from all walks of life trooped to the Saha Alkhadra Park in the northern part of Khartoum to listen to President Omar al-Bashir proclaim the “rebirth” of a nation.

He also joined the crowd in celebrating the signing of the National Dialogue Accord the previous day. The accord seeks to introduce a new governance style, change the constitution and usher in a government of national unity that incorporates the opposition and ends the rebellions in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

“From today, the Sudanese people are in the New Sudan, which is free from regionalism, tribalism and racism,” said President al-Bashir, who declared October 11 a public holiday from now on.

It was the culmination of a two-year exercise the president initiated to bring together political parties and armed groups for a national dialogue to discuss four issues: Ending the civil war, allowing political freedoms, fighting against poverty and revitalising national identity.

The internal peace agreement will form the basis for drafting the new constitution.

However, major opposition parties and rebel groups accused the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of having unilaterally controlled the process for the entire two years.


The Revolutionary Front Alliance (RFA), which brings together the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)-Northern and major Darfur armed movements, said genuine dialogue must start by stopping the war, delivering humanitarian assistance, allowing freedoms and releasing political detainees.

The leading opposition party, the National Umma Party (NUP) led by former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, said in a statement that the National Dialogue is a “monologue” of like-minded parties.

In an interview with The EastAfrican, Ahmed Bilal Osman, the Minister for Information and the government spokesperson said the national document reflects the will of the majority of Sudan’s people and serves as a foundation for a new way of governing the country.

The agreement introduces the post of the prime minister and also increases the number of MPs to incorporate non-parliamentary parties and other interest groups.

However, the number of additional parliamentary seats is yet to be agreed on. Currently, NCP has 323 MPs out of the total 426. The Democratic Unionist Party has 25, DUP-Jalal al-Digir has 15, there are 19 independent candidates, while other small parties have a combination of 44 seats.

The prime minister will be appointed by the president and approved by parliament before forming his or her Cabinet.