Once again the old master, Hasan al Turabi (78), is sent to prison on the background of ambiguous and undisclosed security threats. The available hint may be the recent upsurge of JEM activity in Kordofan, which made it, at best, to page 2 of some of Khartoum’s newspapers, and did not feature at all in others, focus being on Sudan Armed Forces’ attack on the JEM stronghold in Jebel Moon. Press analyses suggested that Turabi has angered the security apparatus by claiming to have solid evidence to prove electoral fraud, and continually poking the government where it hurts most: the International Criminal Court and Darfur. Well the crackdown did not stop at Turabi, the Popular Congress Party’s (PCP) affiliate newspaper Rai al Shaa’b was closed down, and 3 of its editors were also detained by angered security officers.
However, as has happened behind closed doors in several of Turabi’s previous four detentions under Islamist rule, a number of NCP bigwigs are not particularly happy with his persecution, even ashamed. Qutbi al Mahdi, the leading NCP figure, came out saying that there was no political justification for Turabi’s detention, particularly in the prevailing ‘democratic’ environment, elections and all. Several of NCP’s authorities were actually taken by surprise and had only astonishment to demonstrate. Rather low calibre officials like Rabi Abdel Ati, faced the press and presented the JEM link argument to justify Turabi’s imprisonment.
Apparently the NCP is not one mind about this. Rather, the elections exercise has exposed the false monolith’s lines of disorder. One telling sign is the discrepancy between President Bashir’s 68% (?) and the upper 90s achieved by virtually all NCP candidates at all levels of elections! Yasir Arman’s reading was that the NCP has neglected its president. It seems the decision to win was central however the particular process of winning was left to individual designs. Prior to the elections, and on the background of the framework agreement with JEM, several NCP voices were getting louder about the prospects of reconciliation between the two factions of the Islamist Movement, and even a proposition of PCP participation in government was entertained. Up to the initial declaration of results Turabi seemed to preserve a rather friendly tone suggesting that rigging was not all that flagrant. He was not kept satisfied for long though, the veteran leader and chief ideologue of the Sudanese Islamist Movement was not even allowed into parliament through a proportional representation party list, as opposed to several mediocre singers and football managers who will enjoy the pleasures of the national legislature thanks to the NCP ballot.