Sudanese military and protesters sign power-sharing deal

Agreement dismissed as not fit for purpose by some pro-democracy protesters

Sudanese deputy chief of the ruling miliary council Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (R) and protest movement Alliance for Freedom and Changes leader Ahmad al-Rabiah shake hands after signing an agreement before African Union and Ethiopian mediators in Khartoum early on July 17th, 2019. Photograph: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP/Getty Images

Sudanese deputy chief of the ruling miliary council Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (R) and protest movement Alliance for Freedom and Changes leader Ahmad al-Rabiah shake hands after signing an agreement before African Union and Ethiopian mediators in Khartoum early on July 17th, 2019. Photograph: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP/Getty Images

 

Sudan’s opposition leaders and military council have signed a political accord committing them to share power, but some of the country’s pro-democracy protesters say it’s not fit for purpose.

Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti” Dagolo, the deputy head of Sudan’s ruling military council, said signing the agreement after all-night talks was a “historic” moment.

Details are to be debated on Friday, but it is expected the military and opposition leaders will agree to share control of Sudan’s sovereign council, a governing body, for the next three years, ahead of elections.

The council would be made of five military representatives, five civilians from a coalition of protest groups, and a sixth civilian to be chosen by the other ten council members. The ministers of defence and interior would still be appointed by the military, which owuld also lead the council for the first 21 months.

The latest announcement comes after lengthy protests, which started late last year.

Long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April, with the military seizing power. However, Sudanese civilians resisted calls to leave the streets, saying the revolution wasn’t over until the remainder of Mr Bashir’s regime was gone.

Protestes say that on June 3rd more than 120 people were killed when a mass “sit-in” was brutally dispersed in capital city Khartoum. The military puts the death toll at 61, including three security men.

For more than a month after the brutal dispersement, the internet was shut down across the country, preventing survivors from sharing evidence of what had happened.

Muzan Alneel, a Khartoum-based activist who has been involved in the protests since the beginning, said the latest agreement was highly flawed. “It seems to me that the mediators just wanted something signed even if it is missing critical points, with no regard to how it negatively affects the near future of Sudan, ” she told The Irish Times.

Missing from the deal, for example, was any agreement around how parliament would work, while the Sudanese security apparatus was being charged with reforming itself with no say from the civilian government. “It’s obvious that it cannot be called a civilian government if it has no control over its security forces,” she said. “This is a military government with civilian garnishment.”

The 33-year-old also complained the agreement was never presented to the general public officially, saying there was a growing disconnect between opposition leaders and those they were claiming to represent, leading to confusion among Sudan’s civilians, who had sacrificed a lot to get this far.

“A lot of work was put to hiding it from the public actually,” Ms Alneel said. “This is an insult to the Sudanese public who marched and died on the streets for this revolution.”

Like many other Sudanese citizens, Ms Alneel was detained by security forces for her involvement in the protests. Other protesters who were also held said they experienced torture and sexual violence.

“It’s shameful, [it] does not serve any of the goals of the Sudanese revolution, and it enforces military ruling rather than ending it,” Ms Alneel said.