Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Telling Move

After its jailing of opposition leaders Ali Mahmoud Hassanain and Mubarak Al Fadhil Al Mahdi for dubious reasons, the Sudanese government recently carried out a crackdown in the capital city Khartoum against its own partner in the so-called unity government, the Sudanese People Liberation Movement, or SPLM. The government claimed in wanted to collect unauthorized weapons in the city, a step many would have applauded it for doing. But instead of discussing the matter with its SPLM partners, a move that would have actually helped the collection run smoothly and be more effective, the government decided to do it on its own. SPLM offices were raided without permission, and SPLM documents and equipment were confiscated. Reports indicated that the government apologized a week later, apparently under pressure, which shows the apology was not sincere and the raid was not a mistake, but rather planned.
This is the kind of things that makes efforts to keep Sudan a unified country more difficult. It sends the wrong message, not only to Southern Sudanese, but also to the Northerners. With national parliamentary elections coming up in two years, hopes that the "unity government" would pave the way for democratic change, and the ruling National Congress party would accept election results, are now in doubt.

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