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Cablegate: Ncp Sounds Campaign Themes at Party Congress

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SUBJECT: NCP Sounds Campaign Themes at Party Congress

1. (SBU) Summary: The National Congress Party (NCP) held its third
party congress in Khartoum October 1-3. In the opening session, NCP
hardliner and party Deputy Vice President for Political and
Organizational Affairs Nafie Ali Nafie extolled the party's
financial, numeric and organizational strength. In remarks at the
opening and closing sessions, President Bashir rehearsed his stump
speech: NCP is the party that brought peace to Sudan via the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA); the NCP is unjustly accused of
fomenting the conflict in Darfur; oil has helped Sudan break free of
the West's hegemonic designs on Sudan; the NCP will continue to
strengthen ties with China and Russia, but maintain relationships
with European nations and the United States. However, he stressed
in both speeches that these countries must avoid dominating or
dictating policies to Sudan. He also emphasized that the NCP will
hold free and fair elections and a referendum open to all
southerners. The party rallied other political parties to their
anti-hegemony theme, notably the National Umma Party's (NUP's)
Chairman Sadiq Al-Mahdi who urged Sudanese to forget their
differences in order to resist "hegemony and penetration," and
prominently celebrated delegations from China, North Korea, Africa
and the Middle East, including Hezbollah/Lebanon. Yasir Arman, the
sole Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) representative to
attend, provided the only counterpoint to NCP claims, noting that
the CPA had been the work of all Sudanese, and that the NCP failed
to attend the All Parties Political Conference in Juba. Arman, who
as SPLM northern sector representative, is outspoken and often
criticized by the NCP, was heckled when he came to the podium during
the closing session. His brief remarks also met with studied
silence when he finished.

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2. (SBU) (Summary Cot'd) During its convention, the NCP strove to
prove that it is well-funded, well-organized in both the North and
the South, growing in numbers and poised to win the elections, which
it promised would be held pursuant to the CPA. The party's second
key message, that the NCP is a bulwark against Western economic and
political domination, was clearly intended to provide a narrative
explaining the ruling party's failure to provide the populace with
promised peace dividends, and to inspire people to rally around
their embattled president and return him to office. While that
narrative may have resonated with the party faithful at the
convention, it is unlikely that many outside the party will find it
compelling. (Septel) End Summary.

--------------------------------------------
Nafie Describes Party's Successes, Strengths
--------------------------------------------

3. (U) The National Congress Party (NCP) held its third general
party congress in Khartoum during October 1-3. Presidential Adviser
and NCP Deputy Vice President for Political and Organization Affairs
Nafie Ali Nafie told the group that businessmen contributed SPG 15
million (approximately USD 6 million), and said that the NCP's
membership had reached more than 5 million. NCP is reaching out
through what it claimed were democratic means such as the 108 state
assemblies, attended by more than 127,000 NCP members. He attributed
the shooting death of the NCP Secretary General of the Women's
Section of the party in Western Equatoria State to her effectiveness
as a party organizer. Nafie detailed the party's successes at
state-level conferences held in the southern states of Central
Equatoria, Western Bahr al Ghazal, Warrap, Northern Bahr al Ghazal,
Unity, Upper Nile, Lakes and Jonglei States, which he said had
garnered support from women and youth and drew participants from
among state government officials and SPLM representatives.
Additional sectoral conferences on the economy, and on cultural,
women's, student and youth affairs attracted the participation of
10,500 party members, he said. (Note: Embassy received no
invitations to these conferences, and has no way of verifying the
veracity of the numbers presented. End Note.) Nafie also stressed
that the election will take place in April 2010, and that the NCP
will accept the results.

---------------------------------
Bashir Rehearses His Stump Speech
---------------------------------

4. (U) In opening remarks, President Omar El-Bashir reminded the
group that it was the NCP that had succeeded in signing the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which had stopped the war in
the south. He called the accusation that the NCP was somehow
responsible for the war in Darfur unjustified, and urged the Darfur
rebels to return to the country to serve their fellow citizens and
to participate as part of the government, as had the National
Democratic Alliance (NDA), which is now a part of the Government of
National Unity (GONU). He said it was the NCP that had succeeded in
using oil to break free from western hegemony, and to take its place
as the third largest economy in the sub-Saharan region, sixth
largest on the continent. He told the group that the election will
be conducted on time and transparently; that the referendum is a
right stipulated in the CPA, that it will take place as scheduled,
and that all southerners have the right to participate in it. Sudan
is building its foreign policy on respect, and hoped to strengthen
the country's relationships with China and Russia, as well as to
establish understanding and friendly relations with Europe and
America based, not on hegemony, exploitation and injustice, but on
joint values.

-----------------------------------------
Al Mahdi Asks Solidarity Against Hegemony
-----------------------------------------

5. (U) Former Sudanese Prime Minister and Chair of the National
Umma Party (NUP) Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, who was overthrown in a
bloodless coup by Bashir in 1989, addressed the opening session,
thanking the NCP for the opportunity to attend, and calling on
Sudanese to forget their differences so as to better resist hegemony
and penetration. He blamed the diversity of ethnicities within
Sudan for the country's "chronic problems", including delay in the
implementation of the CPA, the Darfur crisis, and various regional
disputes. In the name of the National Umma Party, he called for a
national consensus to solve Sudan's problems. He expressed the hope
that the NCP congress would result in a clear policy supporting
democratic transformation, and either a just unity or a brotherly
neighborliness should the south decide to secede.

--------------------------------------------
Ismail Chairs Third World Solidarity Session
--------------------------------------------

6. (U) In a breakout session, captioned, "Peace and Development:
The Twin Pillars of Stability in the Third World", Presidential
Adviser Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail shared the stage with a senior
member of Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), the political
party of Robert Mugabe; the Former Defense Minister of Austria, the
Chairman of the Indo-Arab League Partnership and the Chief of the
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Mission in Khartoum. Other
participants in the the audience included a large, high-level
delegation from the Chinese Communist Party; a delegation from North
Korea; representatives of Hezbollah and of the Palestine Liberation
organization, the President of Niger and Samuel Haj, identified as a
former Guantanamo detainee. Remarks by most panelists followed an
already familiar pattern: Sudan has suffered from colonial rule and
intervention by the first world has hurt Sudan in many ways. The
participants discussed how they could better cooperate to fix common
post-colonial problems, and urged the western press to be more
balanced in its reporting on the third world. One speaker singled
out the United States, which he said unfairly interfered in Third
World countries.

7. (U) The closing ceremony, held Saturday October 3, repeated
familiar themes. In his speech, President Al Bashir characterized
the NCP as "centrist", seeking to reach across party lines to
include the full political spectrum ranging from the Communist party
to the far right-wing Shura at the congress. He called the CPA one
of Sudan's most important national achievements, and claimed that
the NCP had come to power to "solve the problems of the country,"
and stressed that stability was key to addressing the "problem of
Darfur." Bashir said that Sudan's Constitution mandated that
elections take place as scheduled, vowing that they would be "fair
and transparent" to win the confidence of the Sudanese people.
Although "Unity is (our) destiny," and the NCP and Sudan People's
Liberation Movement (SPLM) must work together to make unity
attractive, the people of Southern Sudan will not be denied their
right to self determination. Sudan will continue to reject attempts
by other nations that seek to dictate policies to his country and
subject it to foreign domination, he said. In other remarks,
speakers expressed appreciation to the African Union (AU) and League
of Arab Nations for opposing the International Criminal Court (ICC)
indictment against President Bashir.

----------------------------------
Not Even Polite Applause for Arman
----------------------------------

8. (U) While participation of all political parties was stressed
by the NCP throughout the congress, one incident threw the NCP's
much trumpeted "inclusiveness" into high relief. Following remarks
by representatives of Sudan's Communist Party, and the ultra
conservative Shura party, SPLM Northern sector head Yasir Arman
spoke briefly. Arman, who as SPLM northern sector representative is
outspoken and often criticized by the NCP, was heckled as he entered
the hall. He told the group that the CPA was the achievement of all
Sudanese citizens, and provided the way forward for Sudan's
democratic transformation, culminating with the 2011 referendum on
self-determination for the South. Arman stressed that the SPLM
supports the 2010 general elections, which he said must be fair and
transparent if they are to be accepted by all Sudanese citizens, and
called for a fair, comprehensive solution to the conflict in Darfur.
In conclusion, Arman said that he appreciated the opportunity to
address the NCP Congress, but regretted that the NCP had not
participated in the recently-concluded All Political Parties
Congress in Juba. The hall was silent as Arman, the only speaker
not accorded even polite applause, left the podium.

9. (SBU) Comment: The NCP convention was clearly organized to
deliver two key messages. In the first, the NCP strove to prove
that it is well-funded, well-organized in both the North and the
South, growing in numbers and poised to win the elections, which
will be held as promised pursuant to the CPA. The second message,
that the NCP stands firm against Western economic and political
domination, appears intended to deflect the blame that many Sudanese
place on the ruling party for its failure to provide tangible peace
dividends or other development, and to inspire them to rally around
their embattled president and return him to office. While that

narrative clearly resonated with the party faithful at the
convention, it is unlikely that many outside the party will find it
compelling.

ASQUINO

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