Sunday, December 5, 2021

Massive pro-military sit-in undermines democratic efforts in Sudan

On Monday, as thousands of protesters linked to the Sudanese military remain outside the presidential palace for a third day, analysts warn that the civilian-led interim government is facing an escalating crisis that could topple his rule.

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As unrest escalates across the country, government leaders must find a way to “defuse polarization” and “reach a compromise,” political analyst Hassan Haj Ali said.

FILE – Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok holds a press conference at the Council of Ministers in the capital Khartoum on August 15, 2021.

Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok should “make partial changes in his cabinet and appoint new ministers” or increase the number of ministers in the transitional government, Ali said.

Sudan faces its biggest political challenges as it has formed an interim government from rival factions since the fall of ex-President Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

After a coup attempt was thwarted in September, al-Bashir’s supporters have intensified their opposition and are demanding changes in the civilian cabinet and the shaky coalition leading the government.

“The crux of this crisis … is the failure to reach consensus on a national project among the revolutionary forces and the forces of change,” Hamdock said in a televised address last week.

People participating in a massive sit-in at the presidential palace in Khartoum are demanding that the government be dissolved and replaced with technocrats.

Sudan will never have a stable government if only a small group of people continue to make decisions, protester Ibrahim Ishaq Yusif said.

“The situation is getting worse every day, people cannot find bread, and life has become difficult for everyone in this country,” he told South Sudan in focus. “The government is dominated by only four political parties and there is nothing they can do to change the situation.”

Supporters of the interim government say members of the military and security forces are driving the latest protests, involving al-Bashir’s counterrevolutionary supporters.

Some protesters blame the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) political parties for excluding them from political processes in the country, and argue that the government is not doing enough to achieve the goals of the Sudanese revolutionaries who sacrificed their lives for the cause.

Hamdock should consider dissolving the cabinet and expanding political participation in the FFC coalition, protester Omer Yusif said.

Hamdock should “change this cabinet not from parties, but from professionals from among the common people,” he told South Sudan in focus. “The entire infrastructure will soon be damaged. Therefore, we are focused on changing this regime for the better. ”

Sudanese protesters took to the streets of the capital Khartoum during a demonstration demanding the dissolution of the transitional government on October 18, 2021.

Sudanese protesters took to the streets of the capital Khartoum during a demonstration demanding the dissolution of the transitional government on October 18, 2021.

A Khartoum-based analyst Ali said the government must make changes quickly.

“Now the trend or compromise is probably for the prime minister to make a partial change in his government to please those who demand change, while at the same time keeping his own coalition intact by allowing members to remain on the council of ministers. Ali said South Sudan in focus.

Ali also recommends setting a timetable for the composition of the legislature and taking steps to organize a general election, tentatively scheduled for late 2023.

Protesters launched a sit-in on Saturday, chanting “One people, one army” and pitching tents in front of the presidential palace. They say they won’t leave until their demands are met.

“The country is eager, and the people are tired,” said protester Muhiddin Adam Juma, a member of the Sudan Liberation Movement faction. “People need to move towards true democracy and prosperity.

“But few political forces want to govern this county’s politics in the same way as the previous administration,” Juma told South Sudan Focus. “And this policy will never get us anywhere.”

Hamdock, in his televised address, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to dialogue and finding a solution to any political dispute. He also guaranteed the safety of people taking part in peaceful protests.

“We respect the right of our people to peaceful democratic expression,” he said. “They got this right through their continuous struggle, and we will work to protect this right.”

VOA’s Nabil Biaggio contributed to this report from Washington.

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