SPLM dismisses Bashir’s dialogue call

The President called for dialogue yesterday in parliament to prevent violence in the April 2010 general election. 
But the SPLM accused President Bashir and his National Congress Party of attempting to re-negotiate the terms of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). 
As part of the CPA, Sudan will hold presidential, parliamentary and local elections next year, its first general vote since 1986. 
Yasser Arman, the deputy general secretary of the SPLM said that President Bashir needs to act rather than make promises.
“Usually, we welcome a call for dialogue. It is not the first call, but we don’t need to renegotiate the agreement. We already signed agreement with the National Congress; we have had the schedule (and) we need them to implement the agreement,” Arman said.
He said deeds not words are what the SPLM expects from the NCP.
“Whatever they are saying, what matters for us is the action more than the words,” he said.
President Bashir said yesterday that it was important to have an election without violence claiming that “there is need for dialogue to reach a positive climate to hold elections,” Bashir said.
But Arman said embracing the true tenets of democracy is the only way to prevent violence in next year’s election.
“If you want to avoid violence in the elections, you have to resort to democracy and democratization. And in Sudan, after four years of the agreement, we did not pass the necessary laws, the penal code and other important law for democratization freedom for fair elections,” Arman said.
He said there should also be reconciliation ahead of the election.
“If we do not want the experiences like Zimbabwe or Iran, we need to really go for democracy, for reconciliation between our people to resolve the Darfur crisis. That is what is needed in order to avoid violence,” he said.
Political observers believe the opposition’s threat to boycotting next year’s general election prompted President Bashir’s call for dialogue.
Arman said the meeting of opposition parties was to critically examine their options available ahead of the election.
“We had wanted them to come together with other political forces so that we level the ground to have a healthy environment for elections,” Arman said.
He said the Southern Sudanese government is not against next year’s vote.
“As the SPLM, we are for the elections and we see the election as one of the fundamental articles of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement but the National Congress wants an election
in a totalitarian system. Keeping the old system and this will not take us to a free and fair election,” he said.
Arman said Juba is frustrated with the lack of political will from its northern partners in the implementation of the CPA.
“We are satisfied with the US intervention, but we are not satisfied with the results because the National Congress is buying time. They are not implementing what we agreed (to) and they want to re-negotiate the agreement,” Arman said.
The SPLM has often accused the NCP of failing to fully implement the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended Sudan’s over two decade civil war between the North and South.

Pic: South Sudan President