Judging by the gravity of issues facing his presidency the man on the top has steered further up keeping a grandeur distance from the hustle and bustle of foreign visitors and SPLM/NCP irks. I wonder what is cooking on his cloud. Even the calls of his uncle, al-Tayeb Mustafa, to stamp down on his party’s toying with the Americans have passed, at least till now, without avail.
The President has satisfied himself with the popularised pursuit of ‘unity’ from a supposedly ‘national’ pulpit that now features old allies and failed adversaries, Siwar al-Dahab, Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani and Bona Malwal. It is hard to imagine that a council of elders distant from decision making processes and submerged in reminiscence can pull plugs anymore. I am sure though that the ‘old boys’ are cracking good jokes.
On his return from Doha a few days ago Turabi denied that he had met the President, who by fair chance was on a two day trip to the Qatari capital himself. According to al-Jazeera the Qatari head of state had a plan to bring the former bedfellows together. If security behaviour in Khartoum is anything to judge by a far-fetched guess that the two actually met is permissible. Security forces released Popular Congress Party detainees in the same period of time. Turabi suggested to reporters in Khartoum that anything short of a Naivasha-style deal will not bring peace to Darfur. He added a flash statement about the impending demise of the current parliamentary arrangement by popular uprising. In the twisted logic of Mr Turabi the above could mean anything between a palace coup and a military attack on Khartoum.
Fantasies aside the President’s low profile justifies at least a question mark. Apart from the Qatar trip Bashir was virtually absent from the political radar over the past few weeks. He met with the mining minister on 03.11, received a verbal invitation from Qadafi to visit Libya on 04.11 and addressed a conference on mother and child health on 08.11. Without a sincere effort it would be difficult even for a committed newspaper reader to spot his name on a first page. As befit a head of state the President is decidedly aloof. He is keeping a safe distance from the peri-referendum turbulence lest it smear his more and more patriarchal figure. Bashir I suppose is intent on surviving the looming transition to the post-Naivasha Sudans by virtue of his absence.
In the mean time Taha and his clique are left to clear their Naivasha mess in a fashion that satisfies his Excellency. Otherwise I suppose a Ramadan replay is in the skies. For NCP observers the Shura Council is scheduled to convene on 2 December.