CODESA Lecture

Beloved Imam Alsadig Almahdi President of the National Umma Party and Imam of Ansar Allah and the legitimate democratically elected Prime Minister of the Sudan

CODESA Lecture

Almulazimin, 14th May 2014

Speech Of Imam Al Sadig Al Mahdi

(Presented before a delegation of South African politicians who were engaged in the CODESA process)

Brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen

Welcome to you. The experience of others are most important for any people in their own struggle for a better life, wise people are those, who benefit from the experiences of others. And people who do not study the lessons of history are bound the mistakes in history.

There are several lessons now which in our predicament in Sudan now, will very much need to study and hopefully emulate. Towards the end of the last century, a book by two scholars Jack DuValland Peter Ackerman, titled “A force more Powerful” speaking about a century, that is the twentieth century, of non-violent conflict. In that book they documented how so many conflicts have been resolved through nonviolent means. The second literature we need to study in our predicament is a study by the Rand Corporation, which studied the fate of 684 violent conflicts between 1983 and 2008, all of which have been resolved peacefully, because ultimately it was impossible for either side to completely knock out the other side.

South Africa has a very important experience in this respect. And both sides realized: the nationalists struggle that there is no way to overthrow the Apartheid Regime by force, and even if that was possible, the bloodshed and the destruction would have been incalculable. The government which was responsible for the Apartheid Regime which was actually institutionalized from 1948 upwards, also realized that it was not possible to continue with the Apartheid Regime both for internal and external reasons. Therefore both have come to realize the need for a win-win situation for a nonviolent end to the conflict.

In 2012 the x-President of Chile, MadamMichelleBachelet,have addressed a lecture to the countries of the Arab Spring in which she said that instead of the most chaotic fate of the Arab Spring, she suggested the experience of Chile itself, which is another resolution of conflict by a nonviolent means, but by a consensus, there was no loser and ultimately it succeeded in many Latin American countries and also many East European countries.

Today in Sudan we have a very sharp polarization, anyone who doubts this has really not learned a lesson of out predicament. the fact of this polarization is that a Partisan ideology seized  power and try to impose a unilateral monolithic cultural ideological regime on a society which is pluralistic, religiously, ethnologically, culturally and so on. And this is responsible for the centripetal forces that have led to the breakaway of the South and many current armed struggles. There is a very sharp polarization in our  country, and that’s way all sensible people in this country look for a Regime change, but how? And this is the main question now we are occupied with.

Any attempt to overthrow the Government by force through a kind of revolutionary wave, we have tried that, any people who would like to do this or who choose to do this, will have to find a kind of support from outside the country, dependent on another country, also this violent change will lead ultimately unfortunately to another polarization, therefore this is a counterproductive program. Through coup d’etat, any people who succeed in making a coup d’etat for change will find themselves with a new regime that will clone all the authoritarian tactics and techniques of government. It is possible; we had twice in our country, for popular uprising to take place,  however, particularly  the lessons of the Arab Spring  have shown that after the revolutions and the uprisings in the different Arab countries, the different regimes have prepared themselves to oppose, to stand up to such uprisings, that’s why we have had in Libya for instance, the revolution was only successful through NATO’s support , we see  scenario now in Syria, the regimes that have prepared themselves for the eventual uprising, have prepared themselves therefore to oppose them and the countries concerned have been divided to no end. Yes it is true that if we cannot produce the type of nonviolent resolution to the conflict, the different failures could lead to a massive breakdown and chaos, therefore we think that he most telling important and safe nonviolent means of resolving this conflict and creating a regime change is to some extent to learn from the lessons of the twentieth century, particularly the lesson of  theCODESA.

People ask, we are most concerned with this change through a CODESA type of agreement, is the Regime serious, When it says that we accept dialogue to lead to change? We say: the regime may not be serious, or be serious, this is something we cannot enter into this kind of psychoanalysis, but what we can say is that the objective circumstances are pressing for change. The economy cannot be resolved by a partisan program, it has got to be tackled with a national program, the current war fronts cannot be resolved except through a kind of national resolution. The country is facing numerous external surrounding pressures; the country’s leadership itself is under some very important external pressures, the ICC indictment, the Terrorists description, the economic sanctions, the position of the EU, which will not do economic business with us without accepting the ICC statute and so on. There are several such external that also besiege our country. Again we cannot hope for any kind of positive deals with the International financial intuitions without a resolution of the national conflicts. The ruling party itself similar to what was faced by the national party in South Africa, is now subject to so many internal aspirations and callings for change, and then with the limited freedom that has now been accepted, all the different corruption charges that have been swept under the carpet have come out of the carpet , and are now like mushroom growths seen to want to be addressed, all such pressures are there, no one in the regime can hope to marginalize them or to sweep them under the carpet, therefore we believe that the  situation of the regime, is similar to that of regimes in the same predicament in the places where issues were resolved peacefully. Therefore we who represent the aspirations for regime change, and the regime itself, we believe are both now in the kind of position to look up to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Therefore, we very much welcome to Sudan the visit of Mr. Roelf Meyer, because he and Mr. Cyril Ramaphosawere the architects of the CDESA and therefore we think he has got many many insights and lessons to impart to us, and from this stand point we welcome his visit to Sudan, because we think that not only the situation or the position of South Africa, which has  become a beacon to many countries in our continent, but also because of this experience of the CODESA. It is very interesting that the situation has so many similarities. When the late president Mandela began the talks, he was suspected by many radicals of a sellout, he was suspected of being not that patriotic, he resisted of course and continued, persevere. But, the same kind of accusations to any people now, who speak strongly about this transition, the same kind of accusation is being repeated. Again, at the beginning of the talks about talks, many in South Africa have boycotted, and only joined later, particularly people from the left: the Pan African National Union and the rightists conservative South African Party have resisted, boycotted, the initial stages of the talks that led up to the CODESA.

Not only that, the right and the left have tried by several means to obstruct and stop the talks and to stop the change.

And of course in this respect, the assassination of Chris Hani, and the attempt by one of the radical rightists’ white people who came with armored car and occupied the venue of the talks , all of this means that there were many who were trying to obstruct the talks about the change. The same now exists in our country, for instance, I am one of the people who may be described as the most zealous person for this change, and being accused now of criminal charges, because I have said something about certain developments. The people who did this are part of those who want to obstruct the change. There are many who want to obstruct the change, but of course the change will take place, it is inevitable, because all the objective forces internally and externally call for that. There will be the same kind of obstructions that took place in South Africa here, but we will persevere until we effect the Regime change through nonviolent means.

This is what we think is a situation where the CODESA will encourage us to perseverein this struggle to the end.

Of course when anyone speaks about what are the results of the CODESA itself, we think that the results do now shine, and if we head what Jesus Christ have said about this: that by their fruits you shall know them,then the fruits have been very importantand very peaceful and very historic: the elections and the coalition and the constitution and the whole experience,which has been a transformation from monopoly of power to participation in power, from the denial of rights to the spread of rights and the establishment of the current situation in South Africa.

From this perspective, Mr. Meyer, we have invited people who do not represent any particular party, they represent a cross-section of Sudanese opinion, to listen to what you have to say, and we very much thank the South African Ambassador for this initiative, and also for the timely initiative, because then we can consider whatever you say part of the software export of South Africa. Welcome Sir to our country, I hope that you will find in this country many people listening tothe lessons you may want to give.