The Sudanese army and politics (4)

Dr. Elshafie Khidir Saeid
In our previous articles, we said that the nature of the socio-economic structure of the Sudanese reality has given the Sudanese army’s relationship with politics a complex character, and made it one of the pillars of contradictions inherent in the Sudanese political practice since independence. These contradictions have been manifested and embodied in several forms, most notably what is known in Sudanese political literature as the sinister or devil circle, i.e., the succession of military coups and popular uprisings. It is clear, and as our experience since independence always says, that these contradictions intersect here and there with the role of each component of the Sudanese society in the course of the country’s political and social development. These components include the party institution, the military institution, and the trade unions/civil society institution. Actually, this analytical fact was the main motive that prompted the leaders of the Sudanese political parties, who were detained in Kober prison following the coup of the National Islamic Front on June 30, 1989 and while they were in search of a new path that could correct the negatives of the past history of the Sudanese political life and prevent the re-production of the crisis, prompted them to agree on the charter that later resulted in establishing the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the umbrella of the political and military opposition to the National Islamic Front, or the Injaz, regime. The NDA concept and structure emerged as a formula based on an equilateral triangle where the three equal sides are the party institution, the trade union institution, and the military institution.
In light of the above-mentioned formula and analytical fact, I do believe that the marginalization of the army and the complete negation of its role in Sudanese politics is not wise. But this role be played positively and effectively only in a democratic atmosphere, and should be controlled by set of rules and measurers. On top of these measures is the security and military sector reform.
It is very common and widely believed that security and military sector reform is mandatory at the junctures of change and upheavals. But there are more other several reasons for such reform in Sudan, the most important of which is the sabotage and distortion of this sector at the hands of the defunct Injaz regime, which worked hard to liquidate any national content of the Sudanese army, and to obliterate its patriotic in favour of transforming this national institution, as well as the police, the security and the intelligence services, into institutions affiliated with the ruling party ideology. The party believed that this could perpetuate its authority and solidify its grip all over the country. But the military/ security sector reform cannot be reduced merely to a bureaucratic administrative measure which is based on sacking some officers and soldiers and appointing others. Of course such measures are important and needed to purifying the military and the security sectors from the corrupt, unqualified and those who are motivated by the partisan agendas and loyal to their political institutions rather to the military or security institutions commands.
In my opinion, the military/security and the civil service institutions reform in Sudan is strongly and firmly connected to the issue of building the post independent national state that observes the complete democratic transformation, the rule of law, the good governance, and the non-submission of any of these sectors to the will of the ruling party, whichever this party is. Such state is built on the basis of a national project that is unanimously agreed upon by the all political and social components of the country.

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