23 Sep 2019

Beja Congress Party

(Mu'tamar al-Bija)

The BC is one of the oldest parties of Sudan with origins dating back to the times before Sudan achieved independence in 1956. It was formally founded in 1958 when educated professionals and notables of the Eastern Sudanese Beja peoples convened a congress in Port Sudan under the leadership of Dr. Taha Osman Bileya, a medical doctor. Emphasizing the marginalization of the Beja by the central government it called for autonomy in Eastern Sudan within a federal system, for industrial and social development of the peripheries and for the inclusion of Eastern Sudanese in the government. At the same time it rejected the traditional affiliations with sectarian parties. However, briefly after the founding congress the coup d'etat of General Abboud took place and the BC was banned like all other parties. After Abboud's downfall it won ten seats in the parliamentary election of 19653 and joined the first government of Umma's Mohamed Ahmed Mahgoub (1965-1966)4

During the one-party rule of Jafar Nimeri (1969-1985) the BC was again dissolved like all other traditional parties but kept on recruiting members. It resurfaced after the end of Nimeri's regime and entered into an alliance with the Nuba-based Sudan National Party of the Reverend Philip Abbas Gabboush . Its main objectives were the implementation of a federal system, the development of the peripheries as well as the struggle against the establishment of an Islamic state and the introduction of Sharia.

After the military takeover of 1989 the BC was again disbanded like all other parties but continued its opposition activities. In 1994 it decided to take up arms against the Khartoum government and joined the opposition umbrella National Democratic Alliance (NDA). In coordination with the SPLA/M its fighters conducted strikes against military installations and the new oil pipeline gaining control over areas in the Red Sea Hills and Kassala region along the Eritrean border. Unlike the SPLM/A the BC did not claim the right for self-determination but promoted a united Sudan which respects the rights of minorities. In 2005 the BC joined the "Rashaida Free Lions" to form the "Eastern Front". After the model of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) the BC signed in 2006 the "Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement" with the aim of power-sharing and boosting development in Eastern Sudan. In 2007 BC chairman Mussa Mohammed Ahmed was sworn in as presidential assistant. The BC continues to focus on federalism and development of the peripheries. In the field of foreign affairs it demands arbitration for the Halaib Triangle which is disputed between Sudan and Egypt.

Official website: http://bejacongress.com/

 

Information Source: www.electionnaire.org

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