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Competing visions about civilian rule make any agreement in Sudan unlikely

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Historians and political scientists who have followed recent events in Sudan closely will point to the irony of the current dispute between the military and protest groups over the definition of, and demand for, civilian rule. In 1999, a well-documented split between former President Omar Al-Bashir and National Assembly Speaker Hassan Al-Turabi emerged over the same question. Turabi insisted that Bashir should resign from the military and become a civilian president; the suggestion prompted the President to put Turabi under house arrest and resulted in a split in Sudan’s Islamic movement. Turabi formed his own political party and spent the years until his death in 2016 in opposition to Bashir’s rule. The question of the right of civilians to rule in Sudan remained unresolved.

In a press conference on Thursday, Transitional Military Council (TMC) spokesman Shams Al-Din Kabashi provided a distinctly different vision of the demands for civilian rule represented by the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) and the bulk of the Sudanese people. He suggested that it was the army’s right to be in control, and the TMC had already delivered on civilian rule. “There has been a deliberate campaign to distort the term ‘medania’ [civilian rule]; under the agreement, civilians completely control the ruling legislative and ministerial council, so why are people still shouting ‘medania, medania’?” he asked.


© Middle East Monitor