CAIRO: Sudan’s transitional government announced on Friday that it has overturned a moral policing law and moved to dissolve the country’s former ruling party, fulfilling two major demands from the country’s pro-democracy protesters.
Rights groups say the Public Order Act (POA) targets women and is a holdover from the three-decade rule of toppled Omar Bashir.
“This law is notorious for being used as a tool of exploitation, humiliation & violation of rights,” Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok tweeted in reference to the overturned law. “I pay tribute to the women and youth of my country who have endured the atrocities that resulted from the implementation of this law.”
The authorities have also slapped a ban on any “symbols” of the former regime from taking part in political activities for 10 years.
The new ruling sovereign council and Cabinet led by Hamdok passed the decisions under a law named “Dismantling of the regime of 30th June, 1989.”
“The National Congress Party (NCP) is dissolved and its registration is canceled from the list of political parties in Sudan,” the decree said, adding that a committee would be formed to confiscate all its assets.
Bashir’s NCP condemned the new “illegal government” for ordering its closure and the dismantling of his regime.
The NCP accused the authorities of trying to confiscate its properties and assets to tackle Sudan’s economic crisis which it said the new government had failed to tackle.
“To rely on the assets of the party, if there are any, is nothing more than a moral scandal, an act of intellectual bankruptcy and a total failure on the part of the illegal government,” the NCP said on its Facebook page.
“The party is not bothered by any law or decision issued against it as the NCP is a strong party and its ideas will prevail.”
Hamdok however said the law to dissolve the party and dismantle the regime was “not revenge” against the former rulers.
“But it aims to preserve the dignity of Sudanese people which was crushed by dishonest people,” he wrote on Twitter.
“This law aims to recover the plundered wealth of the people.”
The sovereign council grew out of a power-sharing agreement between the country’s ruling generals and protesters demanding sweeping political change.
Under the deal, the council and the civilian-led Cabinet share legislative powers until a new Parliament is formed.
Pro-democracy groups in the country have also held fresh protests demanding the former ruling party’s disbandment and the exclusion of all its remnants from different state institutions.
Hamdok tweeted that the bill dismantling Bashir’s party is not the outcome of “a quest of vengeance but rather to preserve and restore the dignity of our people who have grown weary of the injustice under the hands of NCP, who have looted & hindered the development of this great nation.”
Sudan’s Justice Minister Nasr-Eddin Abdul-Bari announced that the law passed by the interim government on Friday would transfer all assets and funds of Bashir’s party to the state treasury.
“With this law, we will be able to retrieve a lot of funds that were taken from the public treasury to create institutions that acted as a parallel state,” he said.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, which spearheaded the uprising against Bashir, hailed the move as “an important step” toward the establishment of a civil and democratic state in Sudan. Bashir was arrested after his overthrow in April and is currently on trial for charges of corruption and money laundering.