April 17th, 2020
Sudan: One Year On
A year after the Sudanese revolution, much has changed in the country. Perhaps the most significant impact has been the removal of President Omar al-Bashir by the Sudanese Armed Forces on 11th April 2019, after 5 months of social unrest. The army also ordered the arrest of all ministers of al-Bashir’s cabinet, dissolved the National Legislature and formed a Transitional Military Council.
At the time of his arrest, al-Bashir had ruled Sudan longer than any other leader since it gained independence in 1956. He ruled for nearly 30 years. He is currently facing multiple charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court for the crimes committed in the Darfur conflict in 2003.
Much progress has been made since al-Bashir’s removal. Since August last year, an interim government comprising of civilians and military officials has taken over. However, there are still steps and measures to be taken to produce real change. Within the new government, there is a lack of a common vision for the future of Sudan between ruling parties.
Khartoum-based political analyst, Osman Merghani recently told Al Jazeera that “even though al-Bashir was removed from power, his regime still lives on.” Work is needed to break the corrupt networks that still exist throughout Sudanese culture, affecting business and industry as well as politics. For example, within Bashir’s own family, one of his brothers controls the nation’s cement industry and two others are reportedly majority shareholders of a firm that owns shares of over twenty of the largest subsidiaries.
A further concern and cause for ongoing tension in Sudan’s transition to democracy is the fact that the Sovereignty Council is almost completely male, with only two female members: Aisha Musa el-Said and Raja Nicola. The Sudanese Women’s Union (SWU) argued on 18 August that women played as significant a role as men in “the revolution” of 2019 and that Sudanese women “claim an equal share of 50-50 with men at all levels, measured by qualifications and capabilities.” However, these demands have been all but ignored.
An additional concern is the need to stimulate Sudan’s struggling economy which, already suffering from long-running US sanctions, was badly hit in 2011 when oil-rich South Sudan broke away. The cost of living is particularly high due to the continuing weakness of the Sudanese pound against the US dollar. Currently $1 is the equivalent of 55 Sudanese pounds.
Therefore, whilst we can celebrate the effects of the coup one year on, much work still remains to be done.
By Abbie Brooks, Fundraising Intern
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