Sudan: Disputes within the Islamic Movement
Khartoum/London, Asharq Al-Awsat –Sudan’s Islamic Movement has confirmed that many of its senior leaders do not act in accordance with its authority, and that in turn the movement is not responsible for their political actions and stances.
Islamic Movement Deputy Secretary General Hasan Othman Rizq told Asharq Al-Awsat that the movement should not be held responsible for those who do not act according to its authority, and that talk of an imminent split within the movement is nothing more than a “difference” in opinions. Rizq added that the Islamic Movement congress will convene on schedule – after all Sudanese states have concluded their respective conferences – on the 16th and 17th of November 2012.
Moreover, the Islamic Movement is committed to keeping a distance between its senior representatives and Sudan’s executive positions. For example, Rizq explained that the movement will allow the Governor of North Darfur, Osman Mohamed Yusuf Kibir, who was recently elected as Islamic Movement Secretary General for his state, to “choose” between being “an Amir or a governor”, and will ask him to relinquish either the governorship or the secretariat.
In turn, sources have told Asharq Al-Awsat that there is a strong possibility of a “split” occurring within the ranks of the Islamists, claiming there are two contradictory currents working inside the movement, seeking to gain control by influencing the state conferences. These sources attest that the upcoming national congress will witness a new “conflict” that might lead to a division similar to the one that took place in 1999, between the leader of the movement, Dr. Hassan al-Turabi, and his disciples who opted to support Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
The sources claim that some groups consider the revival of the Islamic Movement to be an attempt to create an organization parallel to the ruling National Congress Party. These groups, at the top of which are leaders loyal to the Presidential Palace, fear that the Islamic Movement might be harnessed to oppose government policies, especially as the younger sectors of the movement have already spoken publicly about the need for change.
Since 1989, newspapers in Khartoum have been carrying headlines about potential divisions within the ranks of the ruling Islamists. Al-Intibaha newspaper, owned by President al-Bashir’s uncle, now reports “an imminent split” within the Islamic Movement as the main headline on its front page. Al-Intibaha provides details of a meeting attended by a number of Islamic Movement leaders, calling themselves the “Coordination Council of the Islamic Movement,” who opted to select Sadiq Uwayshah as chairman of the Shura Council, and Muhammad Zayn as Secretary General for Khartoum State.