Sudan’s Fifth Transition Period

Dr. Elshafie Khidir Saeid

Since its independence, 1st January 1956, Sudan has witnessed four transition periods, and now we are almost approaching the middle of the fifth period. The first transitional period was after the exit of the British colonizer, and the other three came after the overthrow of the dictatorial regimes, in October 1964, April 1985, and April 2019. Another one came after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Al-Bashir’s government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement of late Dr. John Garang.

All these transition periods are described as critical and crucial since they are supposed to deal with the grave and dangerous task of addressing and implementing the fundamental and foundational issues required for building and establishing the post-independence Sudanese national state. Those issues were reached upon through the fact that Sudan is a reality of diversity and plurality, being a multiethnic, multicultural, and multilingual country, with uneven economic and social development.

This reality was the decisive factor in the formation and formulation of those fundamental & foundational issues that include:

  1. Legalizing ethnic, religious, and cultural pluralism as part & parcel of the Sudanese laws & permanent constitution.
  2. Establishing an appropriate form of governance that can guarantee a fair sharing of power among the various national and regional components in Sudan, and can achieve a healthy political practice under the umbrella of a pluralistic civil democratic system.
  3. Equitable distribution of resources and wealth and implementing developmental plans in a way that elevates and removes the injustices, neglect, exclusion, and marginalization, while giving precedence to areas of ethnic, national, and social tension, within the framework of the scientific economic project that takes into account not to deplete the sites of the economic surplus production in the periphery, and the sources of the scientific expertise in the center.
  4. Resolving the relationship between religion and the state.

Unfortunately, all the previous four transition periods have failed to achieve this indispensable task of tackling & addressing these fundamental & foundational issues, so it has remained unresolved since the dawn of our independence till now. The transition period after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, 2005, not only failed to build our post-independence national state, but rather it neglected the unity of the country when the south of Sudan decided, in 2011, that the unity according to the terms of the Ingaz regime was not attractive.

Today, we are enjoying the fifth transition period. Yes, one of its main tasks is to address the tragedy inherited from the ousted Ingaz regime. But, the most important & crucial task is to answer that fundamental & foundation issues, to pave the way for an agreed-upon, unanimously, a national program that could resolve the chronic Sudanese crisis with its well-known manifestations, mainly the civil war & the instability of the country, and to start building the Sudanese national modern state. This is how all of the Sudanese various groups should deal with this fifth transition period. We shouldn’t limit the transitional measures to the mere superficial and formal change and summarizing them in just the redistribution of power seats among the forces that were opposed to the former regime.

The Success of the transitional tasks has nothing to do with quotas and acquiring this position or that. Rather, it is measured by its ability to preserve the unity of our country and to lay down the foundation of its progress, while failure is the basis of civil war and the fragmentation of the homeland. Any project for change, that does not set this vision in mind, will remain just an illusion plowing into the sea.

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