The military junta and protest leaders in Sudan have finally signed a power-sharing deal into law. The agreement will establish a transitional government and outline who will make key decisions over the next three years. For the people of Sudan, the deal ushers a period of renewed hope after decades of unrest and oppression. And if all goes well, it also paves the way towards elections and civilian rule. Under the agreement, mediated by the Ethiopians, the military, sits at the helm of the sovereign council for 21 months, and the civilians take the top seat at the table for the remaining 18 months. While Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti” Dagolo, widely regarded as Sudan’s most powerful man, has pledged to abide by the terms of the agreement, the world and the people of Sudan have every reason to be queasy.
After all, Sudan has been ruled by a brutal dictator for much of its recent history and his remnants are still functional. The next three years will be critical for the new transition team, given that Sudan will always be one misstep away from its next round of military dictatorship. The long list of challenges for this new setup includes keeping the power-hungry military within its limits, delivering on the many promises made during the protests, being able to scrub the remnants of Bashir’s rule from the system of government and refraining foreign states from intervening in Sudan’s domestic affairs.
None of this will be easy, knowing how revolutions and agreements have failed or backfired in the past. Nevertheless, this is a new beginning for Sudan, its people, and those making decisions for the survival of the fragile state. Wasting this unique opportunity is not an option for Sudan or its people because this might be the only chance to undo decades of misrule — that has crippled the state.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2019.
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