Sudan is back at the end. Two years ago dictator Omar al Bashir was expelled. Since then, a transitional government has been working on democracy. But instead military men were doing a coup today. Why do military men seize power right now?
According to Jan Pronk, who was present in Sudan as a UN special envoy from 2004, it was foreseen that it would happen right now. “Because the country is just before the transitional period. The preparation of a civilian regime would be started in November of this year. The military want to be ahead of that.”
Major demonstrations put an end to dictator Omar al-Bashir‘s reign in 2019. The military and civilian administrators were supposed to share power in the run-up to free elections. During the transition phase, the country was far from stable.
Pronk, who had been involved in the Sudan since 1973: “The transitional regime was a compromise. That compromise would last two years. After that, a civil ian regime would come after any elections. But: no one knew how much military would speak. So you could see this coming.”
Tensions arose more and more within the transitional government with military and civil ian politicians. Not just between the groups, but also among themselves.
Some of the so-called hardliners within the now oppose the arrival of a civilian government, says correspondent Bram Vermeulen.
“The country is not doing well economically. Military leaders say they’re the only ones who can save the country from the ravine. They are now calling for an end to that civil government, because they all think that is a weak bite.”
Footage from the Sudanese capital Khartoum earlier today:
In 2019, military personnel needed civilian movements to provide legitimacy and credibility, says Vermeulen. “Now they don‘t need that anymore. The need for the theatre game for the past two years has disappeared. That makes a situation very dangerous for the protesters. So they might as well open the fire.”
According to correspondent Koert Lindijer, the country struggles with the identity: “Is it an African country? An Arab country? Sudan is Africa’s most diverse country. There is a lack of unity, which causes a lot of conflicts. Only the military has a certain amount of cohesion.”
Sudan‘s indebtedness has only deteriorated further in recent years. That was the blame for civil politicians. It’s hard to tell who the blame lies with. It is certainly true that military personnel hold a large part of the economy, such as factories and the import and export of goods. The civil ian regime has no influence on that.”