What's Happening in Sudan?
A dictator responsible for the deaths of 300, 000, overthrown after 30 years now leaves a Sudan yearning for democracy.
Months of civilian sit-in camps by the opposition, known as "The Forces For The Declaration of Freedom and Change" (FFC) outside the military headquarters in Khartoum led to the top generals leading a coup against Al-Bashir. Although this began with jubilation amongst the Sudanese people, unfortunately, this quickly ended with the massacre of the Sudanese people by the same military who had supposedly understood their need for democracy.
Image Source: https://www.voanews.com/africa/sudan-police-ordered-not-shoot-protesters
Bashir was overthrown on the 11th April 2019 and replaced by the Transitional Military Council (TMC). The 2 top men in the TMC are Lt Gen Burhan, an officer in the army and Lt Gen Gagalo who commands the "Rapid Support Services" (RSF), a force outside the regular chain of command. It is this Transitional group that killed their very own Sudanese people during peaceful protests weeks after Al-Bashir had been overthrown. It is said by the Opposition that on the 3rd June 118 people were killed, 500 plus were injured and many were raped by the Transitional government, the very same people who had moved into power in support of the Opposition. The only crimes of these people, protesting peacefully, was that they wanted a civilian government.
The TMC claim that there have been 60 deaths, covering up what has been a worldwide condemnation of innocent civilians. The TMC has taken to using the RSF to control the streets in an effort to control the civilian population from any further unrest.
Without the escalation of further violence, the TMC and the Sudanese people via the FFC, with international mediation from the African Union and Ethiopia on the 5th July, have come to a power-sharing agreement. The parties have agreed on a way going forward for governance, with the detail of this to be negotiated in time. An agreement has also been reached that an independent investigation will look at the violence that has taken place. Another cause for celebration is that after months, the internet was restored across Sudan by order of the court on the 9th of July.
This is undoubtedly the best way forward for the people of Sudan. Currently, the Opposition wants to choose a prime minister and supreme council. They would want the prime minister to then choose the cabinet from a list they would provide. Time will tell whether this will be agreed by the TMC as inevitably they will want to choose people from their own ranks. An issue not being reported widely as this is prevented by the TMC is the corruption and financial excess under the Al- Bashir regime. The TMC is being selective in who they chose to hold to account as many of the TMC members were also part of the Al-Bashir regime. It is likely that much of the money invested abroad by al-Bashir and his closest aides in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia will never be recovered by a new government.
The process of democracy in Sudan as in other countries is dictated to not only by pressures internally but also from external players and their interests in the politics of the region. Although the USA had condemned the attacks on the civilian population and they say they would want power-sharing between the TMC and the FFC, they are supportive of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, who want the TMC to remain in power.
The USA amongst others continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia in support of their war in Yemen. The top 2 men in the TMC, Lt Gen Burhan and Dagalo work closely with Saudi Arabia in their fight with Yemen. Saudi Arabia has the finances to outsource troops and uses Sudanese soldiers in Yemen.
It is a well-known fact that many of the Sudanese soldiers are children. The USA and others are well aware of these facts and it is likely that they will want members of the TMC to continue in any new government that is formed as they are likely to support Saudi Arabia in the region. It remains to be seen what formation a Sudanese government will take and whether this can be achieved peacefully.