When two years ago the Sudanese people bravely organized a spontaneous revolution that ended three decades of brutal dictatorship led by Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir the global democratic community heaved a sigh of relief that another barbaric bloody dictator (wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court) had fallen by the way side. The glory of that revolution was however stolen as it were by the military (much like in Mali) that helped in achieving a protracted gory civilian insurrection that lasted for weeks culminating in loss of precious lives and destruction of properties.
Following the deposition of Gen. Bashir a power-sharing arrangement (diarchy) was reached between the Generals and the triumphant civil society groups. Abdallah Hamdok was appointed the Prime Minister and he formed a transitional government comprising of the military and civilians. The power-sharing pact specified the roles to be played by each party with the ultimate goal being the organization of a credible free and fair general election.
The signed document equally made it clear that the Generals would lead the transitional government for eighteen months and the remaining 18 months are to be led by the civilians. Under normal circumstances the military led by Abdel Fattah Abdelrahmane al-Burhan ought to hand over the presidency of the transitional sovereign government to the civilians by November 17th. The process ought to conclude in three years period.
Shockingly however, the Generals, last Monday, moved swiftly against the Prime Minister and the other civilian executives by arresting all of them in a dawn military operation. Lo and behold chaos had set in! The Internet and other communication networks had been shut down.
Gen. al-Burhan appeared briefly on the state television where he imperially declared the end of the diarchy decreeing a state of emergency. It was a bombshell! The Head of the military junta had claimed in the national broadcast that the Sudanese politicians were divided and this division led to the dissolution of the transitional government.
Reactions from the international community had been pouring in, most condemning in strong terms the glorified coup d’etat. The US announced that it had put on hold the millions of Dollars destined for Sudan. And it called for the immediate unconditional release of PM Hamdok and other government officials arrested and detained.
The UN, EU, AU were all united in condemning the putsch imploring the Generals to free their executive hostages and arrange for a dialogue.
The streets in Khartoum and other cities in the country had witnessed demonstrations with protesters chanting ‘No Return To The Past!’ Close to dozen of them had been killed and hundreds more wounded! The Sudanese army and the militias loyal to the Generals were shooting protesters with live bullets!
And in a press conference that followed his first public intervention after the coup d’etat Gen. al-Burhan hd announced that the deposed PM Hamdok was safely in his (al-Burhan) residence for his own security. He equally claimed that the PM shared the fears of the military over the threat to the national security.
Describing the military action as “rectification” of the transitional trajectory the strongman was obviously under intense international pressure to be conciliatory in his rhetorics and act responsibly to avoid the worst scenario playing out.
Breaking news had since reported that PM Hamdok had been brought back to his house in what amounted to a house arrest. He had since spoken on telephone with the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken.
The diarchical transitional system put in place post-Bashir was bound to produce friction and tension. It was akin to negotiating a leadership of the jungle between lions and sheep. Alas, the lions have taken over their jungle by feasting on the sheep!
The apparent naivety of the international community in negotiating the cohabitation is deplorable. An impressive interposing counter force should have been arranged to accompany the process protecting the civilian transition team till full-blown democracy is eventually restored.
Condemnations, threats and sanctions may not do much to bring down the Jackboot. What might work remains a coordinated global military intervention led by America and her European allies.
The days and weeks ahead would be crucial and decisive for the future of Sudan. The civil society groups have called for general strike, civil disobedience. And roads and highways are blocked. Sudan is currently paralysed. Saturday is slated for a million-man march across the country.
The notorious allies of the Generals in power (notably Egypt and UAE) must be called upon to apply pressure on the coup plotters to negotiate their exit from power. Otherwise another violent revolution is imminent! And this time Generals al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (alias Emety) would be victims.
In a country where economic hardship has been accentuated by the secession of oil-rich South Sudan following years of bloody conflict and war thereby shrinking the oil and gas revenues it is only a sound democratic leadership that is capable of offering lasting solution to the deteriorating social conditions under which the Sudanese live.
We, therefore, call on the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, the African Union and other regional bodies to unify their forces and efforts to end the military nonsense in Sudan. Democracy (and not diarchy or despotism) must be made to prevail in Khartoum.