Patience is no longer key to a successful political transition in Sudan

Patience is no longer key to a successful political transition in Sudan

by Byamukama Richard Bard

SUDAN — The developments in Sudan over the last few days are not good for the stability of the nation or its prospects for any transition to democratic rule. Such stakes of the current unrest could go beyond the immediate future of Burhan, Dangalo, and even the Sudanese nation. There is an urgent need to force civilian rule and subsequent democracy.

At least 413 people have been killed in fighting in Sudan since violence broke out on 15, according to the United Nations’ World Health Organization, most of them civilians. One United States citizen is among those who have been killed, the US State Department said on Thursday

Since the 2021 coup that ended the transitional government that replaced the long-time violent Sudanese military ruler Omar al Bashir in 2019, Sudan has been run by the army which the coup leader General Abdel Fattah Burhan as the ruler.

In the same way, General Mohammed Hamdan Dangalo, who is commonly known as ‘Hemedti’ the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) leader has worked alongside the Sudanese army to keep the military junta in power

We are talking about two men and two factions with ideological differences over the future of Sudan due to greed for power and more power. This should not be framed as left-wing or right-wing politics, nor a geo-religious conflict between the majority Muslim north against the Christians in the south. It is not radicalized violence like it was in the Darfur conflict between the self-identified Arab Janajaweed killing Black people.

Following Bashir’s ouster, the political transition was supposed to result in elections by the end of 2023, but it appears that neither Burhan nor Dangalo has any intention of relinquishing power and giving the people a break from juntaism.

The U.S. and a coalition of civilian groups in the country have called for an immediate halt to the violence but both factions dug in, and seem unlikely to give the people of Sudan their freedom. Similarly, the prospects of a free and fair election in Sudan seem way off.

The concern is that the fighting might escalate to destabilize the entire region or even spill over to the neighbouring countries of Chad, and Egypt, which are also under juntaism and limited democracy.

Ethiopia, Sudan’s neighbour in the East, is still reeling from a two-year war in the Tigray region, and the spread of unrest in Sudan should be a concern to those anticipating an easy peace and unbreakable peace deal in South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 and has been in ethnic politics and ethnic war ever since

The Sudanese people have vast experience in toppling military dictators through popular uprisings. Patience is no longer key to a successful political transition. Sudanese politics should break with the historical pattern of musical chairs and be able to overcome traditional political and economic exploitation of regions outside the cities by turning to more accountable civilian governance and democracy.

Byamukama Richard Bard is a lawyer and a student of masters in security and strategic studies, trained from Kabalye National Police Training School and Great Lakes Institute of Security and Strategic Studies 

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