The latest attempt to quell nationwide protests sees Sudanese President Omar al Bashir impose state of emergency and dissolve government
Amid the rumours that he will finally step down in face of ongoing nationwide protests, Sudanese President Omar al Bashir appeared on national TV last Friday and declared a national emergency.
Announcing a year-long nationwide state of emergency, Bashir also announced the dissolution of government at both federal and provincial levels.
In a televised speech to the nation, the veteran leader pledged to form a government of technocrats to address Sudan's chronic economic woes, which have been the driving force behind the protests.
Sudan has been rocked by more than two months of daily protests across the country, which erupted over soaring bread prices. But once frustrations exploded, they extended to the demand for an end to Bashir's iron-fisted 30-year rule.
Sudanese officials say at least 31 people have died in protest-related violence, although Human Rights Watch says at least 51 people have been killed.
The new emergency cabinet announced by Bashir shows his apparent trust and reliance on the country’s military, which first helped him into power in a coup in 1989.
Sudan's defence minister, General Awad Ibnouf, has been given the additional role of first vice president, after his predecessor Bakri Hassan Saleh was sacked by Bashir.
The former governor of the agricultural state of Jazeera, Mohamed Tahir Eila, was sworn in as the new prime minister at a ceremony in the presidential palace.
In addition, 16 army officers and two officers from the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), dressed in military uniforms, were also sworn in as new governors for the country's 18 provinces.
"Today, a new chapter begins in Sudan's history," said Bashir at the ceremony, appearing dressed in military uniform.
Analysts called the state of emergency an act of desperation in the face of public anger.
"The declaration of emergency powers only makes it less likely that the economy can be revived," said Eric Reeves, a senior fellow at Harvard University, who has tracked Sudan's politics and economy for two decades.
"The regime has never understood economics... that's why they are in the mess they are."
Sudan has been hit by a chronic shortage of hard currency to pay for imports which has worsened after nearly 75 percent of all oil reserves became part of South Sudan.
The resulting shortages in basic goods have fuelled spiralling inflation which has devastated the purchasing power and living standards of ordinary Sudanese people, from agricultural labourers to middle-class professionals.
The trigger for the demonstrations was a government decision last December to triple the price of bread, but the protests swiftly mushroomed as they fed into wider grievances.
"The imposing of emergency, unfortunately, suggests that things will get worse before they get better," said Murithi Mutiga of the International Crisis Group think-tank.
"It concentrates powers in Bashir's hands and sets the stage for a confrontation with the protest movement, which may become more violent than it has been," Mutiga said.
During the ceremony, Bashir warned that the protests against his rule would create chaos, pointing out the Arab Spring uprisings that were followed by civil war in Libya and Yemen.
“You can look at what happened in Libya,” he said, referring to the country that has been in a state of turmoil since a 2011 civil war led to the overthrow of longstanding dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
“Nothing to satisfy people...except the overthrow of this regime"
But the new chapter Bashir announced does not seem to have echoed in the streets of Sudan.
Soon after Bashir’s address, protesters were again on the streets in Omdurman, the twin city to capital Khartoum, demanding Bashir step down. Repeating the same pattern of the past two months, protesters were quickly confronted by riot police and tear gas.
But the protesters are determined and say they will not to leave the streets until Bashir steps down.
“The demands of this revolution are crystal clear,” said a statement from the Sudanese Professional Association, the organisation that is spearheading the country’s demonstrations.
“The regime and its head must step down.”
Sudan’s main opposition National Umma Party also refused to recognise the state of emergency and vowed to keep up their campaign until Bashir’s three-decade rule was ended.
"Dissolving the government and imposing a state of emergency is nothing but a repetition of this regime's failures," the party said in a statement.
"Nothing will satisfy the people who are taking to the streets except the overthrow of this regime."