Khartoum Street Protest: Sudan popular uprising at crossroads

Posted: February 1, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers, Sudan

By Deu Lueth Ader, Juba, South Sudan

Friday, February 1, 2019 (PW) — It was on the 19th December 2018 that the group of youths in the Sudanese city of Atbara took to the streets complaining about the deterioration in the cost of living. This piece of writing sheds light on the overall situation in respect to the currently underway uprising which has entered its full one month so far and its future prospects.

These demonstrations were spontaneously triggered by the economic distress that caused severe scarcity in basic commodities and medicines, it was characterized by peacefulness and serenity from the onset until now. However; the excessive use of force and harassment introduced by the regime apparently provoked the demonstrators and have them responded in some sort of violence especially in Atbara where the demonstrations began.

These demonstrations as reported were spearheaded by the angry and hungry youths who have borne the brunt of unemployment over the years, they have decided to go to the streets demanding the change of Bashir’s modus operandiwhich has plagued the country throughout the years of his rule. It was until in the middle of January when the voices of professional groups began to chant slogans analogous to that of youths supporting and openly joining them up for the same cause. 

The later developments experienced the wave of resignations of some other opposition members taking part in the coalition government and forthrightly announcing their support to the public demand which basically calls the president to step down. A move which is deemed to have broadened the base of the uprising whose primary demand had not been politically driven from the very start.

The president has promptly doubled his visits in-and-out of the country to look for a saviour who can bail him out of such impasse but all promises so far have no instant cure to the chronic Sudanese crises which have accumulated for so long. And instead of finding possible avenues to contain the emerging crisis, the government has resorted to repressive behaviour to quell the protestors, a something which many believe would deepen the roots of uprising to the point of repelling any move that may suggest dialogues with the government in the future.

It’s incontrovertible that demonstrators have been killed as death toll is on the rise unfortunately, and the international community has already expressed its glaring concerns about the blatant human rights abuses committed by the government security agents, there has been a contradicted exact number, but Human Rights Watch (HRW) has recently reported the number to have reached 40+ while the government official sources slammed the HRW report describing it as exaggeration.

It should be noted that Bashir is one of the long standing president who has been clinging to power through fraudulent means for nearly 30 years. From my own perspective, this uprising wouldn’t produce its intended outcome and the simple reasons could be viewed through the following facts:

The National Congress Party (NCP)

The national congress party is an Islamic driven political party which rules the Sudan, its succinct background dates back to 1989 when the incumbent president staged a coup d’état ousting the civilian government of the then prime minister Imam Al Sadiq Al Mahdi. The NCP originally emanated from the National Islamic Front (NIF) after the split in 1998 leading to the formation of two Islamic based parties namely Popular Congress Party (PCP) and the National Congress Part (NCP).

Since then, the NCP party subdued the Sudanese people underthe religious disguise to the point of people becoming oblivion of their rights. This regime controls the state apparatus including the private sector, it devised strategies that would keep it in power when it took over for years by empowering its small clique and entrepreneurs who later became tycoons, and their simple task was to finance the programs aiming at spreading Islam across the country and Southern Sudan then in particular.

The reason was to quell the infidels and pagans who pose a threat to Islam and its spread, this mind-set has gravely reduced the Sudanese peoples’ thinking capacity from a free and vocal citizen to a mere watch-dog and guards of the religion. Now South Sudan has gone, there is no common enemy anymore which had of cause been South Sudan, a poor Sudanese who had been deluded to fight infidels are now finding it difficult to reinvent the wheelof the deeply entrenched Islamic regime that has squandered the state resources and ruthlessly turned against them. Looking at these apprehensions, the civil disobedience would not make it because the regime and its associates will use what they can by hiring even mercenaries to fight back the demonstrators.

The president has been finger-pointing at the groups he termed as infiltrators who have hijacked the peaceful demonstrations to have killed the demonstrators. These infiltrators are purported to have been trained and given necessary support from Israel to come and cause havoc, instability in the Sudan, these baseless accusations are used as pretext to justify any arbitrary killing and detention of the activists.

Albeit, the armed opposition groups have meticulously acted not to publicly support but distanced themselves in order to keep the peaceful trajectory of the uprising leaving the government’s excuse of using force against the demonstrators an act of cruelty. But despite the restraint; some of them still being branded and accused of having link with the armed rebels.

Sudan Opposition Political Forces (Non-Armed and Armed group) 

The regime seems to have emasculated the opposition particularly the conservative parties such as Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Umma Party. Most of these parties including popular congress Party among others have been paralyzed and inactive due to the continuous government interferences and restrictions on carrying out their political programs. Many people have run away and sought asylum in Europe and America, the voices of these political groups couldn’t be heard because there are no forums or platforms for them to sell their political agenda to the public.

And as clearly manifested from the onset, the basic demand of the protestors was just to improve the living condition, it didn’t go beyond that until when they were joined by the professional groups that the tonne of regime change surfaced. And therefore should the government does something about it perhaps they will go mute and forget about everything they have now called for. And that would definitely subject the lives of those who have so far been implicated as traitors to danger of being lynched in the regime’s secret detentions.

About the protestors

The intermittent nature of the demonstrations for the last two weeks reinforces my anxiety about the future prospects of the ongoing uprising. The number of demonstrators has declined in the last few days which could lead to capitulation of the protestors to the mercy of the regime in the long run. The regime has now intensified its crackdown on the activists and other influential members of professional groups, some have already been thrown to jail and others to unknown locations out of reach of their relatives.

The continuous targeting of protestors on the bases of ethnicities which has clearly been the order of the day since the outbreak of the demonstrations will compromise the active participation of non-Arab origins surely fearful of the regime’s reprisal. Hence; the government propaganda recently announced that the security organs identified the infiltrators sent from Israel where they got training and other necessary support to penetrate the protestors and kill them.

These Contemptuous and bogus claims are made simply to justify the killing of mainly ethnic Dafurians, Nubians and other marginalized groups taking part in the demonstrations currently. University students, doctors and journalists who hail specifically from those backgrounds are suffering in the hands of heartless government security organs on the false accusations that they are infiltrators. Pathetic!

About the army

From the onset of these demonstrations, the protestors continued to intercede the army intervention but the army couldn’t and will not do anything. The simple reason is the strategy put by the regime at the earlier days when it took over back in 1989, the idea was to make a kind of general overhauling in the ranks of the army to enable them plant their Islamic oriented recruits and which they have succeeded to do.

The old faces of national army began to vanish and the new faces appeared. The regime had introduced a system of retirement in the army on what was termed as “retirement on public interest’ this kind of retirement didn’t work in line with the rules specified in retirement age policy but was applicable solely to those deemed fifth columnists and non-loyalist. This policy, enabled the regime to purge the army from non-Islamist and impurities.

Today in Sudan, the whole military top brass are extremely Islamists only subservient to NCP and its Islamic ideology, in another word, army and the Islamic Front (IF) are faces of the same coin serving the same agenda. And therefore; the prospects of this uprising achieving its intended target depends essentially on how determined are the Sudanese people far from any expected intervention from the army.

Conclusion

These facts bring me to the final conclusion that the ongoing uprising will not achieve its objectives. The Sudanese political landscape has not been given a special attention by the international community, something which has empowered the dictatorial regime to abuse Sudanese people with impunities. This is evidenced in the manner in which the ongoing demonstrations are portrayed as internal affair, there is no clear position from the international community towards the demand of the Sudanese people.

The possible alternative in case the regime finds itself cornered could be to strike a friendly deal with the army and hand them over the power again in a manner which the Sudanese people may not be contented with. It could also be through a coordinated coup that brings in an army general to replace Bashir without any fundamental change in the national policy more specifically the demands that have triggered the ongoing public outrage.

This resort will be to avoid being handed over to the International Criminal court (ICC) if the non-loyalist group takes over outside the NCP’s clique. Bashir is indicted for the crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Darfur a something which for sure makes him hesitant to relinquish power fearful of being handed over by the successor.

You can reach the author via his email:Deu Arok <deu_arok@yahoo.com>

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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