OPINION: Time is ripe for Sudan to establish a civilian authority

By Mwangi Maina | Wednesday, May 15th 2019 at 15:58
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On April 11, when news broke that Omar al Bashir had been cornered, rendered powerless by a continuum of massive protests, a battle had been won. But the war is far from over. For now, Sudan remains a protest zone.

34, the number of days that have passed since the people of Sudan, men and women, civilian and military persons marched to Khartoum and besieged a man who had years on end ruled with an iron fist.

This marked the beginning of an end to a three-decade repressive regime of President Omar al Bashir, who himself rose to power by successfully conniving with junior military officers to forcefully oust the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Sadiq al Mahdi.


The people of Sudan demand total liberation, they have solemnly vowed to continue with street protests until the military council hands over power to a democratically constituted civilian government. Will the powerful military rule finally be toppled?

Regrettably, the military council in Sudan has not found a resolve yet; Sudan’s Professional Association- an entity responsible for majority of the protests in Sudan hears none of that. The association has continuously urged Sudanese people to march the streets until civilian authority is installed.

As a Pan Africanist, my thoughts tell me it is ripe for Sudanese people to have a civilian constituted government, their own power, people’s power! President Omar al Bashir’s military rule reigned for three decades, his totalitarian government suppressed the most basic of human rights. 

The oil-rich nation is now tangled, their economy crumbled, peace is a luxury Sudanese cannot afford, perhaps they only hear of it, they have forgotten the sweet taste of freedom, their air smells blood and civil war, civilians have long been used to the sound of constant gun battles but they are not immune to them. They are tired. They must be emancipated.

Sudan military rule must end

A military council taking over Sudan for the next six months will turn Khartoum and its environs to theaters of war. For the prosperity of the Northeast-based nation, the military must surrender power to the people, a civilian authority must be established by hook or by crook and it must be done sooner rather than later.

The turnover in Sudan is very inspiring to many African states which may be thirsty for a civilian revolution. Libya's misfortunes can be traced back to Muamar Gaddafi's legacy of dictatorial rule where he created a personalized state and when he went down, the state collapsed with him, the rest is history. In Uganda, masses are yearning for political freedom, Bobi Wine is the face of what seems to be a massive revolution against President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power for three decades.

Back home here in Kenya, we have the Red Vest Movement, a group of young revolutionaries across the country who are advocating for accountable leadership. One of its activists, Betty Waitherero was arrested by the police for holding demonstrations in Nairobi, demonstrations against wanton corruption in government.

The way forward

Sudanese people need to ask themselves critical questions on how they will handle the quagmire staring at them. Do they really want to engage in a civil war? If yes, will they be able to sustain? ? How will a civilian authority get into power with a military council clinging on to it? Is it the right time for Sudan’s professionals, the face of the massive protests to actualize another new political strategy?

No other African can be able to answer those questions; only Sudanese people will and can. It is long overdue for the military council to hand over power to a civilian authority. My guess is only a new strategy will culminate tranquility, it will be an elusive quest for the Sudanese to try and normalize their dwindling economy if all the sit-ins continue.

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