Sudan: Journey to Hope

Sudanese pro-democracy supporters celebrate a the signing of a final power-sharing pact with the ruling military council on Aug 17, 2019, in Khartoum.
1 August 2019

Gradually Sudanese people are making their first steps towards the much deserved, costly civilian-led rule. It took more time of intensive peaceful pressure and almost double casualties that were endured to oust former President Omar Al-Bashir from power.

Today the first step to implement the Constitutional and Political documents will be taken by appointing the sovereign council. It will start its duties with appointing the designated Prime Minister Dr. Abdallah Hamdok, who in a week's-long time should present his pick for ministers to be appointed and have the first joint meeting between the two councils on September 1.

The final signature on Saturday was held under the banner "Sudan Joy" and with that the journey to hope started despite the daunting tasks ahead on every front. The new government is expected to fight on three tough fronts at the same time: to dismantle the Ingaz institutions, improve the daily life of ordinary people mainly through a quick fix programs to harness the run-away inflation and break up of security, while at the same time reach out to rebel movements to have both peace and democratic transformation go hand in hand and then lay the foundation for democracy.

Unlike the two previous uprisings in 1964 and 1985, the December-April revolution has two main characteristics mainly both women and youth have played a significant role throughout the eight months duration of the uprising. More important and unlike what happened during the two previous uprisings is that people were not only satisfied by the mere change at the head of the regime. Rather this time people were around insisting on the civilian nature of the new regime through continuing peaceful pressure of demonstrations and sit-ins. The June 30 march that was joined by hundreds of thousands was a real achievement given the fact it took place in less than a month from the day of the bloody break-up of the sit-in and in the midst of a complete internet blackout.

This resilience constitute an insurance policy for the new regime that it has a solid popular backing to forge ahead with the tough reform program and prepare the country for its first multi-party, free elections in more than three decades. The hope is that the expected elections in 39 months will lay the foundations and strong infrastructure for a sustainable democratic change.

The Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), which has been spearheading the uprising faces the difficult task of maintaining the unity of its components and at the same time to deliver and show those who created a new world during their two months sit-ins that their world can find its way into reality and that hope is not just a pipe's dream, but a potential reality that could be achieved in real life.

However, in addition to the expected difficulties in running the state, the new regime faces a different challenge of how to channel the energies of the youth, who have been the driving force behind the uprising and turn it into a political force. The bulk of these youth are in their 20s and are the product of the Ingaz 30 years rule and as such they have a negative impression about political parties, if not outright rejection as they see that their ineptitude and inability to block the way before Ingaz or challenge it makes it equally responsible.

That is a long shot to take and with freedom of expression and association guaranteed in the new regime, it will be free competition even for new forms of political association that may bypass conventional parties.

The uprising has highlighted the country's strategic position. The fear that it may disintegrate or fall into a cycle of violence pushed regional players with some international backing to push both the Transitional Military Council and FFC to work together to strike a deal.

Equally the success of this deal is of paramount significance. The prestigious London-based the Financial Times editorial board ran an op-ed piece saying that, "what transpires in Sudan is of huge importance throughout Africa." It concluded by warning and hoping that," Much hangs on a positive outcome. It is a long shot. But if Sudan can transition to better rule, others could follow."

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