In his speech before an extraordinary meeting of the Shura Council (a consultation body) of the National Congress Party President Bashir tuned on the ‘unity’ wave, declaring that Sudan’s integrity ‘as inherited from forefathers’ is to be maintained. He suggested the initiation of a nation-wide nafeer (communal campaign) for the sake of unity stressing the importance of each and every day in the remaining period before conduction of the referendum January 2010.
Violently poking the SPLM Bashir stated that ‘no elections took place in the South’ referring to discrepancies in the electoral register and other irregularities, he added that the NCP will not accept similar conduct in the upcoming referendum, and warned that an independent state in Southern Sudan would face serious problems pointing to the possible emergence of an Ethiopia-Eritrea or India-Pakistan situation. In concert Sudan TV has launched a pro-unity propaganda onslaught featuring leaders of the SPLM-DC and smaller Southern Sudanese parties.
Whatever Bashir is ‘really’ considering the country is set on an explosive course where the agenda of the ruling partners seem meddled and confused. Factional divides inside both blocs are not easy to map out however the assertive even violent language used by various leaders seems to address internal party concerns rather than reflect a strategy to conquer the challenges facing the nation. Regarding the question of unity and secession both parties are caught in internal bickering and factional intrigues, some loud as is the case in the SPLM even armed, and some throttled and silently heating up as in the NCP. The ruling parties have largely sustained the CPA till now, at the cost of ‘democratic transformation’, and on the basis of convenience and procrastination, but faced with the ultimate premise of their agreement, the referendum, they have recoiled to petty politics for which the sectarian parties, Umma and DUP, have long been criticised. The parallel with Sadig al-Mahdi’s indecisiveness and incapacity to lead in the late 1980’s is worthy of consideration. Today the stakes are much higher though.
The potential of unity between North and South is yet unexplored, an inventory of political imagination beyond the scope of Sudan’s current rulers, united or divided they constitute the major threat to Sudan’s peace and stability, the unity of North and South however is another question altogether.