Gorran should not let Nawshirwan Mustafa become another Talabani inside the movement

By Mufid Abdulla:  – Kurdistan Tribune – 25-12-2013 – The Gorran movement’s first conference opens tomorrow in Erbil, the capital of south Kurdistan. The main challenge facing Gorran is to limit the power of its leader, Nawshirwan Mustafa, Otherwise the future of this movement may be no brighter than that of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

Jalal Talabani, the PUK general secretary, did not appoint any deputy despite his ill-health for the last decade. Gorran should learn a lesson from Talabani’s departure from the political scene. The PUK could have saved itself from defeat had there been an effective, coordinated leadership in place – as with the BDP and PKK today in north Kurdistan, or Sinn Fein in Ireland. Yet not a single leader inside the PUK had the courage to talk openly about an alternative to Talabani.

It is possible that Gorran will suffer the same fate as the PUK due to the absolute power of Nawshirwan Mustafa. Several of the movement’s leaders have raised their concerns and withdrawn from the arena. Just recently, Rushdi Aziz resigned from Gorran: he was the head of the movement’s law department who ensured that the party was legally established. Another example is the resignation a few months ago of Ausman Haji Mahmoud, who was well known for his political integrity inside the PUK and Gorran.

This has been a year of triumph for Gorran, which is now the second biggest party in the Kurdistan parliament. At the same time, it is also a year to seriously consider all the challenges facing this movement. I was shocked to hear that some of Gorran’s founders have resigned. This is an indication that there are members who are profoundly unhappy with Nawshirwan Mustafa’s style of running the organisation. At Gorran’s conference is important to prove to the people of Kurdistan and the people who voted for it that the movement is not run by someone with the same totalitarian style and mindset as he displayed inside the PUK. It was noticeable recently, when he stood next to the younger Nechirvan Barzani at their press conference, that Nawshirwan Mustafa wanted to dominate the occasion and not let anyone else come forward. Gorran’s biggest challenge is to establish a collective leadership.