Insiders Insight: Change continues – incrementally – in Sudan – African Arguments

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Table of contents:

  • The follow-up
    • Fighting continues in Libya
    • In Algeria, echoes of Sudan
  • What everyone is talking about/Conflict Focus
    • Change continues – incrementally – in Sudan
  • What we are talking about
    • Jumia, the “African” startup
  • Health Corner
    • A DNA database
  • What else?
    • If you have time, read these!

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Free segment: What everyone is talking about

Change comes – incrementally – in Sudan

The essentials: The situation remains fluid – and tense – in Sudan, where protesters have managed to depose long-time leader Omar al-Bashir and his successor, Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf. The latter stepped down in less than 24 hours. But the military remains in charge, even as protesters continue to demand a transition to civilian rule and the African Union piles on pressure.

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The background: The military leaders seem to be continually surprised by the determination of the protesters to transition to civilian rule. With each concession the current military leaders make – arresting Bashir, Ibn Auf stepping down, the resignation of the despised intelligence chief Salah Gosh – the demonstrators refuse to be satiated.

Currently, General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan is serving as the de facto leader. He lifted the curfew and pledged to respect human rights, but also maintained a schedule of two years of military transition before new elections and transition to civilian rule.

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With protests continuing, though, the new regime will be under pressure to continue making concessions to the demands of the demonstrators.

The protesters are buttressed by members of the Sudanese diaspora, as well as governments around the world. That does not necessarily include regional governments, though, who – outside of Sudan – will be most affected by whatever happens. And they seem less invested in a wholesale change of leadership.

Egypt has already said it has trust in the military leadership. It will be interesting to watch how South Sudanese leaders respond. The Sudanese regime had a habit of interfering in South Sudanese politics, including supporting the rebellion, so a change in Khartoum will also upend politics in Juba.

This is also a test for the African Union, which adopted a resolution in 2000 that forbids military coups. In a surprise move, the AU threatened yesterday to suspend Sudan if Burhan doesn’t hand power over, but will the body follow through and are sanctions on the table as well?

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The good: Aside from the gradual dismantling of the regime, the situation has not been as violent as some feared. Though several dozen people have been killed in the last week, the military has not laid siege to the protesters. This probably speaks to a fracturing within the security forces, which means there are probably some factions who support a transition to civilian rule.

The bad: As the current leadership tries to slow walk reform, it’s still an open question how far they are willing to go. Without added pressure from regional leaders, they may hold fast to their current transition plan and hope to wear down the demonstrators – or worse.

The future: For now, protests continue.

Discuss with @_andrew_green on Twitter

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The Africa Insiders’ Newsletter is a collaboration between AfricanArguments.org and @PeterDoerrie, with contributions from @_andrew_green and assistance from Stella Nantongo. Part of the subscription revenue is funding in-depth and freely accessible reporting and analysis on African Arguments.

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