Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir has promised his supporters what he called a “new Sudan without tribalism,” Anadolu has reported. He made the promise in a speech to thousands of his supporters in Green Square, Khartoum. They had gathered to declare their support for the recommendations of the National Dialogue, which was approved on Monday.
Removing the tribal checkbox on official papers is one of the highlights of the recommendations. The dialogue was boycotted by the main opposition factions. According to the president, “From now on, our identity is just Sudanese, with no tribal references as part of it.” He repeated his call to opponents to sign up to the National Dialogue.
Identity is one of the six themes covered by the dialogue sessions. Many Sudanese associate it with the country’s civil wars since its independence from British rule in 1956.
South Sudan, made up mainly of African groups with a majority of Christian and local religions in addition to a Muslim minority, was separated from the north — dominated by Muslim Arabs — in 2011. A national referendum agreed to a peace agreement signed in 2005 to bring an end to decades of devastating civil war.
Bashir launched an initiative for dialogue in early 2014, but its sessions only started this month. Opposition factions boycotted the initiative after Bashir rejected their conditions, especially the release of political detainees and convicts, the abolition of laws restricting freedoms, and an independent mechanism to manage the process, which was held under the president’s chairmanship.
Foreign mediation saw the signing of a road map resulting in negotiations between the government and rebel movements last August, before the talks were suspended for an indefinite period. In the past few days, government officials asserted that they would not get engaged in a new dialogue, and the opposition factions should sign-up only for the recommendations in order to be part of the implementation process. The opposition announced that it does not care about the recommendations and threatened to resort to a popular uprising.
On Tuesday, Sadiq Al-Mahdi, the leader of the National Party, the largest opposition party in the country, said that the opposition factions are “united in their position, and refuse to engage in the regime and its allies’ dialogue.” He stressed that the opposition is committed to a comprehensive dialogue through the road map and the supervision of the African Mechanism, led by the former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki.