Shortly after the April 1985 uprising that led to ouster of the Ja’afar Al- Numairi regime, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Suar Al-Zahab chaired the transitional military council, and he was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. Suar Al-Zahab promised to hand over power to an elected government within one year, and he actually fulfilled his promise to be the first Arab leader to hand over power willingly. He later resigned from political work and chaired the Islamic Presentation Organization, which selected Sudan as headquarters.
Later on, the elected government was deposed through military coup orchestrated by former President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir who took the power by force. Once again, Sudan was back to the military regime but this time with an Islamic face. An ally between the officers and Muslim cleric Hassan Al-Turabi became dictatorial and again ushered Sudan into a military regime, which caused serious deterioration of the country’s economy amid worse living conditions with many negative implications.
In this governance, Sudan was accused of supporting terrorism and the 30-year regime witnessed outstanding incidents during the period, including the Darfur War, humanitarian crises, troubled relationships between the Government and Sudanese politicians as well as political parties that ended with a truce supported by Al-Bashir for the separation of South Sudan, resulting in the birth of a new State.
Al-Bashir committed a huge mistake when he sought protection for his rule by abandoning a large segment of the country. He actually failed to accomplish any of the two objectives since he neither protected the unity of his country nor managed to preserve his power as the President of the Sudan. All of a sudden, the world was surprised by the Sudanese Army’s support for demonstrators. Not long after that, the Army announced ouster of Al-Bashir and termination of his government. The Army took over power.
This scene is a copy paste of that which occurred few years ago in Egypt through continuous action of the civil movements. It was clear that the newly birthed military council decided to deal peacefully with leaders of the demonstrating civil blocs. In a civilized scene, Sudan witnessed negotiations between the Military Council one side and leaders of the civil blocs. After exerting a lot of efforts and long negotiations, the two parties reached an agreement, including approval of the Military council for Sudan to be ruled by civil government. There was a big celebration of this success with official delegations representing Arab and friendly countries.
Now, after handing over the power to a civil elected government, the most important question remains: will the civilized cooperation between the two parties (the Army and civilians) continue in a big country like Sudan without troubles? Actually, history does not give us glad tidings in this regard. After examining the history and diagnosing the political situation, I dare say that Sudan has not experienced civil leadership and it’s proven efficient or not.
The important question is: Do the officers of the Army have sincere intention to cooperate with civil parties or they only used this card to get out of the current situation and portray positive image of the military council? Will they plan a coup against an elected government and drag Sudan back to Military governance after achieving some goals?
We have to keep in mind that the coup against al-Bashir was orchestrated by members of his own regime. The ruling government has not changed. It is only the head of institution who is being pursued in a trial that seems to be formal. Lastly, I wish nothing for Sudan but the best of wishes. Balance in the administration is very important. I mean balance between the military council and the civil government.
To avoid any possible crisis, a smart leader with deep political experience is needed. Perhaps, the current Prime Minister is a historical choice. Will he manage to form a government capable of lifting a politically and economically tired country or the episode will come to an end with the lifting of international sanctions leading to a different scene? There are plenty of questions.
The Sudan is facing a serious test. Is the agreement signed between the military council and the civil blocs as a result of honest persuasion of the officers to share the power with civilians or they are only using them as a bridge to cross to a new session? Everything can happen and time will tell.
I have nothing to give to the people of Sudan but my prayer for continuous reform and progression. The Sudan no longer has anything to lose after its series of failures. We only have to remain optimistic and leave the questions for the future to answer. We hope the answers carry glad tidings!
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By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi