Sudan: A Year After Bashir's Ouster, Sudan Moves Towards Civilian Rule Despite Problems

Celebrations in Sudan to mark the one year anniversary of the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir are muted amidst a country-wide lockdown to stop the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. The country is moving slowly towards civilian rule, struggling with a deep economic crisis.

The military has blocked streets around army headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, and banned public celebrations. The decision, as the country is in a state of emergency because of the coronavirus pandemic, has raised the concerns of protesters, who took to the streets against Bashir a year ago.

For Sudanese, Covid-19 adds complications to economic crisis

The military, responding to public anger, overthrew Bashir on 11 April 2019. He was arrested and held in a Khartoum jail and in December ordered to serve two years in a correctional centre for corruption.

Slow path to civilian rule

The political transition to full civilian rule is going slowly. In August last year a transitional government made of civilians and military officials took over the country, and the cabinet, headed by economist Abdalla Hamdok, was tasked with steering the country during a three-year transition.

Among the major challenges are soaring inflation and a huge public debt, along with negotiations with rebel groups.

Hamdok's administration is hoping that the lifting of US sanctions on 157 Sudanese firms in March will help attract foreign investment, but the economy is still fragile.

Power cuts are frequent, and some Sudanese still queue for hours to buy staple foods like bread, or petrol.

Bashir still facing charges

Besides the corruption charges, Bashir faces separate charges over the killing of protesters and the 1989 coup that brought him to power.

Authorities have also agreed that Bashir should stand trial before the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and war crimes committed from 2003 in the Darfur region, where the Arab-dominated government fought with ethnic minority rebels.

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