A month after the overthrow of Bashir, Sudan is still far from civilian authority

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
File AFP

SUDAN (VOP TODAY NEWS) — A month after the ouster of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, army commanders have shown no sign of transferring power to a civilian administration, while negotiations with representatives of the popular protest movement are faltering.

Despite temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius and the start of fasting in Ramadan, thousands of protesters continue to sit in front of the General Headquarters of the Sudanese Armed Forces in Khartoum, determined to achieve a civil order.

The protesters are planning to force the generals of the transitional military junta to withdraw, just as he did with the president who was removed a month ago, after 30 years in office.

“Either we get the civil authority we want or we will stay here,” said Iman Hussein, a regular participant in the sit-in since April 6 in front of the army headquarters.

After nearly four months of protests in the country, which began after an increase in the price of bread as part of an economic crisis and shortages of raw materials, protesters gathered first in front of the army headquarters demanding generals to end the Bashir regime.

On 11 April, the army forced the President of the country to hand over power.

But since then, army commanders who have been in power have hesitated to transfer power to a civilian administration, insisting they will not use force to break the sit-in.

The concessions made to the demonstrators did not ease their resolve.

Omar al-Bashir was arrested and placed in Kober prison along with other officials in his regime. The judiciary promised to prosecute those responsible for the deaths of people in the demonstrations that began on 19 December.

– Tugging –

At this time, negotiations over the transfer of power to civilians have been stalled for a period of four years.

The two parties disagree on the composition of the 10-member Joint Council. The generals want him to be under the control of the military as the demonstrators demand that the civilians be a majority.

“We are exerting pressure on us over time, but we will put pressure on them by maintaining our presence here,” said Iman Hussain. “One of us must win and in the end we will win.”

Last month, the Freedom and Change Coalition leading the protest movement presented the generals with his proposals for civilian authority. The military council replied that it agreed with most of the proposals but had “many reservations”. The Council accused the Alliance of not including in its proposals that Islamic law must remain the source of legislation.

The coalition responded accusing the council of “confiscating and disrupting the revolution.”

One of the leaders of the protests, Khalid Omar Yussef, threatened Wednesday with civil disobedience in the face of what the coalition saw as disrupting the transfer of power to civilians and “prolonging negotiations” by the generals.

They also face pressure from the United States and the African Union to move towards a smooth transition of power.

– US pressure –

On Wednesday, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan telephoned the head of the Transitional Military Council, Lieutenant-General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan.

He was asked to “move urgently towards a civilian-led transitional government” as well as reach an agreement with the forces of freedom and change.

Faced with these pressures, the generals can rely on the support of Arab regional powers such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have pledged $ 3 billion in financial support to Sudan.

Some remain optimistic. The leader of Sudan’s main opposition Umma Party, Sadiq al-Mahdi, said the military would “transfer executive power to a civilian government if we present a credible and viable civilian government.”

“It is because they know that if they eventually choose a military dictatorship they will be in the same position as Bashir,” he told AFP in an interview on May 1.

In 1989, ousted President Omar al-Bashir overthrew the elected Mahdi government in a coup backed by the Islamists.

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