AU Panel headed by President Mbeki met with 14 parties in a public hearing in Khartoum and visited Ain Siro, N. Darfur
The national Sudanese political parties active inside the country rarely meet together in the same forum. I asked a number of Sudanese political leaders when it last happened: some said not for twenty years. Earlier today, fourteen parties met together in a public hearing in Khartoum convened by the African Union Panel headed by President Thabo Mbeki. It included every party in the National Assembly and several others too. Parties that had boycotted the Sudan People’s Initiative last year, such as the Popular Congress Party and the Sudan Communist Party, participated. The fact that so many parties turned out, discussed the whole day until nightfall is a testament to the sense of urgency shared across the political spectrum over the Darfur crisis. Full story .
Photo: Four members of the Panel visited Ain Siro. They included, former presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Abdesalam Abubaker of Nigeria [shown above], and two distinguished lawyers, Justice Florence Mumba of Zambia and Mohamed Kebir of Nigeria. Rakiya Omaar also visited last month. Former President Pierre Buyoya of Burundi sent his regrets, as he was attending the funeral of President Omar Bongo of Gabon today. The Panel asked the community to address four themes: peace, reconciliation, justice, and how Darfur relates to the Sudanese nation. Full story
Photo: After the prepared presentations, lucid and comprehensive, the villagers had a free-flowing discussion with the panel members. Hundreds of people turned up, crowding round the discussion, which was held in the shade of mango trees. Many Darfurians were IDPs, refugees or lived in rebel-held areas such as Ain Siro, and had not been counted in the census, and expected to be excluded from voting and other citizenship rights. (Source: Alex de Waal, Making Sense of Darfur, 17 June 2009)