Who is to Blame For The Sudanese Street Crisis?

Published January 11th, 2022 - 07:31 GMT
Protester in Sudan
Sudan protests (AFP File Folder)

Sudan is in the doldrums. It is facing problems right, left and center. The street won't give up, the military won't give up, the power-sharing deal is in tatters because of the resignation of its civilian prime minister and the country might be on the brink of more unrest and even civil war.

Without mincing words the blame must be laid on the doors of the military whose leader Abdul Fattah Al Burhan, and at full-swoop, arrested Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok and most of his civilian government in a coup orchestrated last 25 October. Today, he is paying the price through altercations and recriminations.

While he was released one month later on 21 November and reinstated as a primer in a deal that was best described as a fig-leaf for military control, the Sudanese street literally went wild in protests, up-in-arms ever since what has been termed as the outright callous and naked putsch, a power grab attempt by the army.

Although, and subsequently, Al Burhan denied he instituted a coup, and what he made was to "rectify the course of the Sudanese transition" for full democracy to be cemented by elections in 2023, this is no longer believed. Thus, the popular street has been up in a state of havoc since the effective takeover. 

Popular nationwide wide protests have continued gripping the country, north, south, east west. There was a new boil starting from Khartoum, Omdurman, Port Sudan, Atbara, Wad Madani, Bahri and in many more towns and cities. And it continues till today, which puts Burhan, the president of the Sudan Sovereign Council, and which he broke up last October, in a deep fix under the guise of the international community that continues to watch and lament. 

Off course, the situation gets worse because he now faces a "civil cauldron" on his own following the resignation of premier Hamdok on New Year Eve after he was reinstated.  But Hamdok, who was appointed in a power-sharing deal in 2019 had no longer had his heart in governing because of what happened and knew that the military wouldn't relent and hold democratic elections in July 2023 nor would the street give up in its rallies and demonstrations. It was a deadlock situation because the people want the revolution they started three years ago to succeed.

Its gets worse still because the protests have been turning violent as thousands continually turn up on the streets to oppose the military. Already 63 have been shot dead since 25 October and the number continues to rise on a daily basis. This is not to mention the hundreds that have been injured and put in jail. It seems this situation is not going to stop for the street will continue to be bloody as "happy-trigger" security forces fire at protesters to contain the situation.

The street is not relenting because of the different political forces that continue to have a major influence among the people when demonstrations first erupted in 2019 to remove Omar Hassan Al Bashir - the long-time strongman of Sudan - who ruled the country for 30 years. After he left, a power-sharing arrangement deal was reached between the civilians and the military - an alternating transition of power - that would lead to full elections in 2023. 

However, this has today become unstuck  with the Sudanese military taking the upper-hand with the country becoming polarized. Al Burhan and the rest of the military generals like General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, widely known as Hemeti, and head of the Rapid Support Forces, are facing a well developed civil society. 

This is led by the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), which  joined Hamdok during his civilian rule and the Sudanese Professional Association. What they now want is for the military to step back, go to their barracks and let the civilians rule. There is, especially after the coup, a "crisis of trust" and great many of people no longer believe in what is Al Burhan is now uttering about the democratic transition.

Hamdok is saying Sudan is at the point of a "dangerous crossroad" with neither the military nor the street giving up with viewpoints at the opposing end of the scale. Internationally as well the world is watching. Whilst many are criticising the Americans for not being forceful enough the UN is seeking to step in to serve as an objective mediator between the street and the military. But as yet swords are not being turned into ploughshares and the situation is not likely to get better before it gets worse.

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