After 800 Days, People in Sudan say “Kiizan” and “Qahata” are the Same!

Why did the revolutionary change turn to the state of “equilibrium of ugliness” between Bashir’s regime and the newcomers?

Mekki ELMograbi

The confirmed situation in Sudan now is the state of equilibrium or balance of ugliness between the former regime of Bashir and the newcomers who belong to both sides of the transitional government; military and civilian.

During the days after 11th of April 2019 – when the Sudanese military had ousted Al-Bashir – the expectations were very high and the only party that was unpopular and extremely ugly in the eyes of the majority of Sudanese people was his regime.

After the tension started between the military and the civilians, the supporters of the civilian side – mainly activists and leftists – did not spare any effort to portray the military side as uglier than Bashir’s regime.

Other political parties, even the moderate forces from the right and the center, all joined the anti-military campaign to strengthen their position in the negotiations of the “Constitutional Document”!

The civilian government launched in August 2019, but their performance became very bad.

The ruling parties failed to agree on a plan of economic reforms that can make the difference. The military has no interest in intervening in the executive side of the transitional government because the deal was to exclude the military completely from the executive and the economy.

The generous Arab donors changed their position; the international financial institutions could not help the civilian government because of its total failure in economic reforms or even reaching a minimum level of agreement between socialists and other parties.

The civilian side of the transitional government became as ugly as the military side and Bashir’s regime; here, Sudan again reached “the balance of ugliness”, the same situation that followed the two previous Sudanese revolutions; October 1964 and April 1985.

Two of the most important words to know and to understand, after 800 days since the start of the Sudanese revolutionary change, are “Koaz” and “Qahati”.

I stated before, and I say it here again; I use the term “the revolutionary change” instead of “the revolution” to describe what had started on the 19th of December 2018, and is still going on.

From the first days, I realized that what is happening in Sudan is not putting an end to a regime and establishing a new one or a new democratic government in Sudan; the change is still happening.

In December 2018, it was clear that the process of the reform within Bashir’s regime had failed. Then, the door to a process of change was widely open. The process was not “only one step” to the new world of democracy and prosperity, but one that will continue for a longer time.

“Koaz” and its plural “Kiizan” refer to Islamist/s, more specifically “Muslim Brotherhood”.

Koaz means mug or traditional metal water cup. Some claim that Hasan AL-BANNA, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, said if the “Deen” – the religion- is a sea, then we are the “Kiizan” (the metal cup that people use to take water with).

Others claim that it was said by Hasan AL-TURABI and not Al-Banna of Egypt.

Traditional Sudanese “zeer” (pot-in-pot refrigerator) with a metallic “Koaz” atop of it/courtesy of Sudan Guide Facebook page

The word “Kiizan” began with acceptance from Islamists themselves. Then, after the Islamists’ experience in Sudan, people began to use it as a pejorative. Hardline Islamists are still however proud of their moniker.

Anti-Islamists have widened the term’s usage to include all Muslims who are conservative, traditional, or those who want to defend Islamic orientation. Among bloggers and activists, trying to criticize the revolution, the change, or the government by presenting ideas of reconciliation or settlement with all political parties, including Islamists, will render said critic as being an Islamist and branded as a “koaz”!

 The word “Qaht” appeared as an abbreviation for “Forces of Freedom and Change” with three Arabic letters; two letters of the three don’t exist in English but could be pronounced like strong “Q” as in Iraq and strong “H” as in hut, the third letter is akin to a “Taa” with .

The funniest part of the abbreviation is that when you make the sound “T” stronger, the abbreviation will turn to the Arabic word “Qaht” which means drought or aridity.

Unfortunately, the economic deterioration that happened after the civilian government launched made most people link the ruling civilian alliance with drought and aridity.

The person who belonged to the parties of “Forces of Freedom and Change” was now referred to as Qahati; plural Qahata.

It is very common in Sudan now for people to say Kiizan and Qahata are the same entity.

Some accuse the Qahata of being worse than the Kiizan, while others still view the Kiizan as the worst people in Sudan.

Mekki ElMograbi is a press writer on African affairs. He can be reached through his email (elmograbi@gmail.com) or his contact number +249912139350 (Whatsapp and Telegram)

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