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A power-sharing deal in Sudan paves the way for civilian rule

Sudan is entering a new chapter, and the trial of Mr Bashir is only part of it. A day earlier, after months of negotiations, the military junta that has run things since the coup agreed to share power with civilian leaders. A transitional government led by Abdalla Hamdok, an economist,

It was a stunning sight for many Sudanese. For nearly 30 years Omar al-Bashir led a crooked and genocidal regime in Sudan. On August 19th, four months after being ousted in a coup, Mr Bashir sat in a cage in a Sudanese courtroom. It was the first day of his trial for corruption. When asked where he lived, Mr Bashir seemed amused by his comeuppance. “Formerly the airport district, at army headquarters, but now Kobar prison,” he said with a laugh.

Sudan is entering a new chapter, and the trial of Mr Bashir is only part of it. A day earlier, after months of negotiations, the military junta that has run things since the coup agreed to share power with civilian leaders. A transitional government led by Abdalla Hamdok, an economist, is expected to take over on September 1st. If all goes well elections will be held in 2022. News of the deal caused the streets of the capital to erupt in celebration. But many of the democrats rejoicing were also nervous about the path ahead.

Lt-Gen Burhan (R) will be in charge of the Sovereign Council for the first 21 months

He will lead a group of six civilians and four other military officers as part of a planned 39-month long transition to democracy.

There will also be a prime minister and cabinet.

The new government comes after Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April.

He had been president for nearly 30 years but was removed by the military after months of protests.

On Saturday, the TMC and civilian leaders signed a deal that should pave the way to a new democratic dispensation

Under the agreement, Gen Burhan will be in charge of the Sovereign Council, which replaces the TMC, for the first 21 months; a civilian will then take over until elections in 2022.

The other 10 members of the council were also sworn on Wednesday.

In addition, respected economist Abdalla Hamdok, who was nominated by civilian protest leaders as prime minister, is due to be sworn in.

The ministers of defense and interior, who will be part of a cabinet, will be chosen by the military.

We are positive that we are together as Sudanese, a government and people that will together push forward to improve the level of our economy, improve the level of our health system and our education. Gen Mohamed Hamdan

How did the crisis unfold?

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It can be traced back to December 2018, when then President Bashir’s government imposed emergency austerity measures.

Cuts to bread and fuel subsidies sparked demonstrations in the east over living standards, and the anger spread to the capital.

The protests broadened into demands for the removal of Mr Bashir, who had been in charge for 30 years.

In April, the president was overthrown by the military after sit-ins outside the defence ministry, but demonstrators then wanted to ensure authority was swiftly transferred to a civilian administration.

A council of generals led by Gen Burhan assumed power, but it has struggled to return the country to normality.

The army is not a unified force in Sudan; paramilitary organisations and various Islamist militias hold some sway.

The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Hemeti – which grew out of the notorious Janjaweed militia that was accused of carrying out a genocide in the Darfur region of western Sudan – have been blamed for recent abuses.

These include the 3 June massacre.

RSF leaders have denied planning the killings, which they say were carried out by rogue elements.

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