|al-Haj Adam Yusif campaigning during the April 2010 elections|
At the time of the split in the Islamic Movement that signalled the divorce between Hasan al-Turabi, the sheikh of the movement, and his deputy, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, many observers considered the showdown a tactical division of labour premeditated and not suffered. The parting of ‘brothers’ is today 11 years old. Over time Turabi’s Popular Congress Party (PCP) has continued to bleed its members back or rather forward to Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP). The names are many, Badreldin Taha, Haj Majid Siwar, Mohamed Hassan el-Amin, and many of lesser profile. The latest in the series is al-Haj Adam Yusif, PCP’s candidate for the governorship of South Darfur, and the man accused of plotting an alleged PCP coup in October 2003. Yusif escaped Khartoum’s wrath for an Eritrean exile that ended with a court acquittal in 2005. He remained largely in the shadows since to resurface with the announcement of his defection to the NCP this November. Back in 1999 at the time of the divide in the Islamic Movement Adam quit cabinet membership to join the sheikh. Before that he had tasted rule as governor of South Darfur and of the Northern state. Adam attempted a return to power by the vote in the April elections as candidate for the governor post in South Darfur; however he unsurprisingly lost the bid to the lesser talented NCP candidate, Abdel Hamid Musa Kasha. In an attempt to give his decision some content Adam argued in an interview that he had somehow ‘seen the light’. He flushed down unimpressive rhetoric about the need to save the country from the ills of partition and the dangers of foreign intervention.
Notably the PCP did not seem itched by Adam’s runaway. Turabi’s assistant and close company, Ibrahim el-Sanosi, told the press “if al-Haj Adam will serve Sudan’s cause, it is better than staying in the PCP”. El-Sanosi submissive comment raised suspicions of a clandestine NCP-PCP realignment plot, possible at the expense of vice president Taha.
Such a scenario, although not totally out of the question considering the thrashing Taha regularly receives on al-Intibaha’s pages, feeds from the belief in the extraordinary cunning of Sudan’s Islamists. Cunning well and good, the NCP barons and their fratricidal foes in the PCP enjoy hegemony by fatigue rather than design. al-Haj Adam’s defection is symptomatic of the recycling of rural elites in the centre of power, resembling rather the political rotation of Riek Machar, Lam Akol, and Minni Minawi. In that sense el-Sanosi may actually be saying the truth when he is evading it. Adam may well be a greater advantage inside the NCP than in the ranks of the observant PCP. In the impending rearrangement of political camps in Darfur the PCP is actually better served enjoying links to a figure expected to rise in any post-Doha division of spoils. If you can’t beat them join them Mr Adam!