By Magdi El Gizouli
Obviously challenged by the stubborn show of anger against their long rule in the heartland of the country the high priests of the National Congress Party (NCP) shifted gears from unashamed dismissal to defensive posturing with sharia. “What is happening is a struggle between the camp of sharia and the camp of secularism”, said Nafie Ali Nafie, the deputy chairman of the NCP last week. He was addressing a religious function in Khartoum to mark the holy night of mid-Sha’aban in the Hijra calendar hosted by the followers of the late Sheikh al-Burai in Khartoum. President Bashir had the same to say on Saturday to an impressive crowd in Wad al-Fadni, a centre of Sufi preaching east of the capital. President Bashir borrowed class categories to buttress his message. We come from the people, the normal masses, not from the big families or the palaces, he yelled, a reference I presume to Sudan’s pseudo-aristocracy, the Mahdi and Mirghani families, and the Khartoum establishment of old.
The author is a fellow of the Rift Valley Institute. He publishes regular opinion articles and analyses at his blog Still Sudan.