After former Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was ousted in April, Sudan was thrown into disarray. And things are far from settling down even now.
Violent clashes involving security forces, civilian protesters, and the military council have resulted in hundreds of deaths, triggering alarm bells. For now, Sudan’s military council and civilian protesters have reached a power-sharing deal that will install a transitional government until democratic elections can be held. However, experts question how effective this deal is.
Vox reports that under the three-year power-sharing deal, Sudan will be governed by a joint sovereign council that will be guided by a military leader from the Transitional Military Council (TMC) for the first 21 months and a civilian leader for the next 18 months.
The council itself will have onboard five TMC officials and civilian leaders each and one more civilian leader jointly selected by the two parties. After the last 18 months, this transitional government will conduct democratic elections.
The deal will also install an independent investigative body to look into all cases of violence and crime that have taken place since clashes erupted on June 3.
However, experts on the region have their doubts on whether this power-sharing deal will be successfully implemented.
Why the Sudan peace deal is at risk
A report in The National explains the number of ways the Sudanese peace deal could fall apart, namely an unstable economy, heavy dependence on the military’s goodwill, and domestic unrest.
Sudan expert Hany Raslan tells The National that the success of this deal is in the hands of the generals because Sudan will be led by the military for the first 21 months, as per the deal. He adds that the Sudanese military general wields significant power in the country and all democratically elected governments in the late ’50s, ’60s, and ’80s have been overthrown by military coups.
Sudan’s economy is also on the brink of collapse.
Reuters reported that months before Bashir stepped down, his government imposed an eight-fold increase in diesel prices to make up for scanty foreign reserves. Bashir also came under severe criticism over mismanagement and for turning a blind eye to corruption.
Raslan says it was under Bashir that South Sudan seceded with most of the country’s oil reserves, triggering economic decline. In Sudan’s volatile economy, even the price of staple foods, like bread, tripled, creating mass shortage of fuel and bread.
He adds that other Gulf countries will likely only promise financial aid and credit lines if the transitional government can uproot the “deep state” installed by Bashir. However, this might prove difficult because the civilian protest movement is leaning towards secularism, while the military council does not, says Raslan.
Sudan erupts in pro-democracy protests
On April 17, Bashir was overthrown after large-scale protests against him and his rule gripped Sudan. Following years of economic turmoil, famine, and geopolitical isolation, Sudanese people came out in droves to agitate for democracy.
What followed was 14 long weeks of sloganeering and demonstrations by civilians, workers, activist groups, and students. Sudan’s paramilitary forces known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) opened fire on crowds of protesters and killed hundreds, likely more.
Bashir is currently under house arrest.
The African Union has joined the protesters in spirit and advocated for a civilian democracy. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have pledged around $3 billion in aid, but the former’s support for the military has come under fire.
Other international actors like Amnesty International and the United Nations have called for violence targeting civilians to stop.
Many are hopeful that the peace deal will pave the way for a new era in Sudan, one that is less militarised and more globally integrated.
Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius.