Sudan's Path To Democracy Poem by Yousif Ibrahim Abubaker Abdalla

Sudan's Path To Democracy

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Sudan's path to democracy has been a rocky one, and there are several key players who need to ensure it never returns to an autocratic state.

Now that the absolute power of autocracy has collapsed in Sudan and the people's revolution has succeeded in creating a power-sharing mechanism between the Transitional Military Council and the civilian Forces of Freedom and Change, the challenge now is for this Sovereign Council to successfully manage the situation until general elections are held in 2022. In the meantime, the council must prevent the repetition of the cultural and ideological warfare of the past that had prevented the country from achieving peace and security.

The Sudanese situation will prove no exception It will require patience, perseverance, and purpose to achieve equality, freedom, and social justice; despite all the provocations and atrocities committed by anti-revolutionary forces, the demonstrators remained peaceful throughout the uprising.

Continuation on the path to peace is the moral parameter that defeated warmongers and the forces of tyranny; with a civilian prime minister forming a diverse and inclusive cabinet, the odds of a successful transition are increasing day by day; the most important priorities for the Sudanese transitional government are peace, social justice, and economic development.

During this transition and afterward, respecting human lives and reversing the suffering of internally displaced persons and refugees across the country should be the tool for measuring the success of this transitional government.

The transitional government must also address the increasing discontent from decades of marginalization in Darfur and eastern Sudan; among the IDPs and refugee camps, there is an increasing fear that the same elites are applying only cosmetic changes to continue the old tactics of deception.

It is important that the entire transitional government visit these camps to listen to key stakeholders before taking any steps in the peace process; signing settlements with armed movements is necessary, but not entirely sufficient, to have peace.

The government should start first with the IDPs and refugees before taking steps to initiate the peace process. If achieving peace is the popular demand, then the government must listen and act; peace is not about creating positions and rewarding political leaders that would be a fatal exercise but about changing the dynamics of the power structure; this means establishing partnerships to empower the rural community and the marginalized sectors of society living in IDP camps and shantytowns.

Ruling a country like Sudan is challenging; it is too big to govern by force and the country is deeply politicized, beset by disparate armed groups, and burdened by an economic crisis; the new generation is non-ideological and deeply believes in the universal values of inclusivity and tolerance.

Slogans of freedom, peace, and social justice were the mottos of the revolution in the face of the autocratic norms of oppression; the regime as always played for time to allow the revolutionary wave to pass, but this was not effective this time; the youth were organized and mobilized to push for accountability, peace, and job opportunities.

Given the weakness of the political parties, they filled the political vacuum and are now shaping the future; equally important, these new institutions must have a mandate to control political behavior by determining the rules of the game, the strategies, checks and balances, and reward systems, to which politicians must adhere.

The accountability of the leadership will pave the road to creating a healthy environment and robust democratic institutions; in Sudan, not all leaders are corrupt, but corrupt regimes breed corrupt leadership; there is an opportunity for a new political system to cultivate and harvest quality leadership from this young generation of activists.

This is not without its challenges, however, as Sudan faces a national crisis in its multiplicity of political divisions based on familial, political, ideological, tribal, and regional affiliations; the fragmentation has increased political animosity and has bred incompetent, ineffective, and corrupt leadership.

To counter this, there should be a new set of public standards and litmus tests to determine who should be trusted to lead the nation as it moves forward; providing public service should be understood as a sense of duty and responsibility; public service is a noble purpose, it should not be associated with criminality and ineptness.

Today, the most capable people have fled the political scene due to decades of negative stigma; this plague needs to be addressed before the political process is to be initiated in order to have full democratic institutions, and before the capable members of society return to political life; the modernization of Sudan's political environment requires that more than 124 political and rebel movements be consolidated into five or six major entities led by competent leaders who will move the country forward.

In order to create this momentum, the country needs a real vibrant civil society and think tanks to enrich the policy debate on critical issues such as reforming labor laws, the pension system, education, healthcare, judiciary, security, agriculture, and government administration; applying these reforms will require professionalization or technocrat of politics and policies.

Technocrats should lead the reform based on evidence and away from politics to put the country on the path to success; civil society will set the agenda and participate as stakeholders to enrich and improve the policy process and its outcomes; the militants in the government have attempted many times to derail healthy political discourse; to ensure their efforts are thwarted, the new transitional government's role is to build consensus to ensure the political process leads to an elected government.

The transitional government should set the foundation for the separation of powers so that future elected governments have the capacity to generate policies without sharing power with non-elected bodies. In addition, there is an urgent need to have a national covenant to consolidate the political processes; this would ensure that no party is allowed to invest resources to create non-democratic regimes though military coups, or turn to violence and tribal domination.

The adequate safeguarding of these principles requires educating the public to recognize that democratic procedures and institutions are the most essential elements for governing collectively in a society recovering from civil wars and genocide; all are subjected to the mechanism of conflict resolution in accordance with specific laws, procedures, and institutions established to govern.

Civil society is essential for political society to implement its values; it is important to encourage the creation of social, cultural, and political associations to advance dialogue and for society to move beyond elections to a truly pluralistic society with effective policy debate; it goes beyond the formal political institutions in shaping agendas and influencing the decision makers.

It is incumbent upon society to put a high value on the core institutions of a democratic society, including political parties, elections, electoral rules, and political leadership; the percent of population is living in poverty or relative poverty, which means that democracy will have no value to the common man if the trickle-down economy ceases to work. Therefore, society's endorsement of the political system must be contingent upon the capacity of the system to provide opportunities to advance.

No one is demanding free handouts, but allowing for equal opportunity is essential; the transitional government, and the one which succeeds it, should ensure equitable access and rights to education and healthcare; economically, marginalized areas must be given priority access to education, healthcare, and opportunities to open businesses; all historical injustices must be addressed to chart a new beginning which entails the retirement of old political classes responsible for these atrocities and injustices.

The civilian and military leaders are more interested in business deals and promotions, or using their status to enrich themselves, rather than developing the nation. A great number of the military rank-and-file is incompetent and corrupt. They lost their standards by dealing in the money market; this all forms a considerable challenge for the new government, which now must realign the military institutions and restructure them to perform their basic functions.

Some actors in the bureaucracy, particularly in the army, should not be allowed any authority or influence that could lead to destabilizing the democratic state. The RSF and the rebel armies should be integrated into the Sudanese Army and their institutions should be reconfigured; a civilian-led government should have greater institutional, symbolic, and absorptive capacities than military leaders to advance the agenda for democratic transition. For the civilian leadership to advance, all forms of military presence in cities and villages should disappear.

Only the police force with a minimal security presence should be allowed. This will give the political society room to flourish and give the leadership the capacity to rebuild the state; previously, the outgoing regime represented by the TMC worked to derail the transition process; the civilian leadership needs the support of the key players and stakeholders domestically and internationally to thwart the military leaders who aim to split and undermine it.

The revolution was initiated by civilians, and they should lead the transition to undo the dictatorship and create an enabling environment of healthy and inclusive dialogue to resolve the critical issues they inherited from the previous non-democratic state.

A written poem on 3rd of February 2022. This poem is about protesters in Sudan continue their fight against military rule. The reign and downfall of Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's longtime autocrat. Like other autocrats, al-Bashir attempted to prevent coups against his rule by crafting a personalistic regime that weakened important political actors and tied their fates to his own. The renewed strength of the security forces continues to threaten the nascent democratization process ushered in by the popular uprising. Dictatorships around the world are becoming more personalistic. Leaders use state resources to buy loyalty, thereby enhancing their political power and weakening checks on that power at least for a time. But the Sudanese coup and its aftermath suggest that, under pressure, personalistic regimes may quickly evolve in a way that strengthens alternative power centers. In part, this is because different ways of providing patronage to agencies have different impacts on those agencies' institutionalization. The consequences of personalization, in particular its downstream effects on regime durability, turn out to be more ambiguous than commonly thought.
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