The Sudanese revolution followed failed negotiations between protestors and the Transitional Military Council. Now it is time to establish a civil government, one the Sudanese can look up to for decades.
The Transitional Military Council (TMC) has followed in the footsteps of its predecessor and perfected the art of coordinated stalling and disappointment. However, unlike the previous regime, it has not been able to normalise its presence in the eyes of the Sudanese people.
My own reservations about the TMC stem from its familiarity. Although made up of loyalists of former president Omar al Bashir, the military junta have attempted to personify themselves as the leaders that will take the country into a new era. What they have actually achieved is the complete opposite.
The massacre on June 3 that claimed over 100 lives and destroyed the peaceful and unifying sit-in in front of the military headquarters in Khartoum, completely obliterated any chance the TMC had in persuading the people of Sudan that they are the saviors of the revolution. June 3, the most violent day since the protests began in December, was a painful reminder that the fight was not over.
Unsurprisingly, the negotiations that had been underway between the TMC and the people’s protest movement, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), came to an abrupt halt after those events. Even in the midst of the military junta’s imposed mass internet blackout, the FFC managed to organise a million-man march on June 30 to commemorate the lives of our martyrs. The millions that took to the streets across the country had two important messages to send to the TMC -- we are not afraid to stand face-to-face with the Rapid Support militias who were responsible for the massacre a few weeks ago and we will continue to call for madaniya (civilian rule). Shortly following the march, the FFC and the TMC re-entered the negotiations that had been prolonged since early April.
My own pessimism and mistrust in the military junta, feelings that have been shared by many young Sudanese people, has led me to remain extremely reluctant to celebrate the political agreement reached between the TMC and the FFC this Thursday. As I turned on my television and watched both parties shake hands while African Union and Ethiopian mediators commended them for reaching such a ‘historic agreement’ I could not help but ask myself some critical questions – does this agreement plan to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the June 3 killings? How much authority will the TMC have? Is there a plan in place to include those who have been historically marginalised and persecuted outside of the affluent capital?
To my expectation, the agreement proved to contain some extremely contentious points. Although it outlines the make-up of the Sovereign Council, the Council of Ministers and the Legislative Council and provides a time frame for the transitional period, it is nothing more than a framework that has remained silent on some of the most critical details.
The recent postponement of the arguably more important constitutional agreement, which will fully explain how much political power the military council will possess and whether their members will be immune to investigation for the crimes committed during the uprising, has led many to believe that the TMC has already walked away from the negotiating table with the upper hand.
Although there is still a lot to be determined, there is one thing that is certain – what will go down in history as the Sudanese Uprising that brought down Bashir is still unfolding. The pitfalls of this revolution will be the normalisation of the military’s authority – hence why myself and many other young Sudanese people refuse to place our trust in Burhan and his ilk.
If this upcoming constitutional agreement is to truly represent the youth who have been at the forefront, the marginalised who have been violently silenced and the martyrs who have fallen defending the right of the people to an honourable life, it must ensure that the transitional government is wholly and transparently civilian led.
Any veto powers given to the military council could be detrimental and bring them one step closer to normalising their political presence. It must also ensure that the investigation of the atrocities committed since the beginning of the uprising is transparent and independent, and that no member of the military council is immune. Finally, it must concretely and realistically lay out how it intends to address the country’s many economic and social woes, all while undertaking a crucial and lengthy process of dissolving any remnants of Bashir’s political presence.
As with any negotiation, compromises are necessary. The FFC has been leading the uprising, but what many forget is that they have been learning and growing with it too. The negotiations have been far from perfect, but I have not lost my hope in our fight for madaniya. The families and friends of those who tragically lost their lives deserve justice. Sudan deserves justice.
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