Articles and Analysies
Sudan and the Winds of Change; Lessons from Tunis and Egypt by Abdel-Rahman El-Mahdi
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Jan 28, 2011 - 9:51:08 PM

In the wake of the referendum in South Sudan and its foregone outcome which is the secession of the South, the Sudanese situation has never been more fragile and will not withstand similar upheavals as those of Egypt and Tunis. Time is rushing and not on the side of the nation. The winds of change are blowing across the entire region and sooner or later they will blow the way of Sudan.  The Sudanese leaders will need to work fast and brace themselves against the surge of upheavals taking place across the region.


The ruling party will have to change its stance by taking active steps towards forming a transitional government for the coming period with the primary mandate of keeping the country together and paving the way for parliamentary and presidential elections (real elections). The transitional government must also ensure that the current fracture points, Abyei, Darfur and Blue Nile State remain intact during this transitional period as well as overseeing the smooth handling and negotiation of the pending issues relating to the newly formed neighbouring country of S. Sudan.

Given the peaceful handover of Government by the ruling party the issue of the ICC and the arrest warrant on the former President Omer Al-Bashir are to be put in the backburner and negotiations with the Security Council and the UN body are to begin to find an acceptable solution which gives the Sudanese people the recognition that they are able to dispense justice and reconciliation by themselves.


The international community has a pivotal role to play during the transitional period by ensuring that peace is maintained in accordance with the CPA and that no party (SPLM in South Sudan, Drafur rebels in West Sudan, and the Blue Nile State) will try to capitalize on the opportunity to enforce a status quo on the ground. The international community will also be required to support the transitional government and assist it in meeting its mandate during the transitional period of 30 months.


Meanwhile the opposition alliance will need to immediately begin taking precautionary measures in the event that the ruling party chooses to maintain its stance and the status quo, thereby deciding to have the nation meet the winds of change head on the violence scenario. Precautionary measures must be taken, which might, if well negotiated, prevent the total fragmentation of the country and the inevitable chaos that will ensue, when the winds of change arrive.


Leaders from the opposition alliance will need to begin right away discussions with key entities that will be required to take a neutral stance and restrain themselves when the political vacuum that will follow the sweeping winds of change takes hold. Key entities with which discussions and coordination needs to take place to avoid a total collapse and disintegration of the country include talks with the SPLM in South Sudan, the Darfur groups SLA and JEM; the Governor of Blue Nile State and Leaders from the Misseriya tribe.


The SPLM in S. Sudan will be required to play an overall caretaker role with regard to the CPA and upholding the peace agreement. In Abyei, the SPLM must make assurances that with the possible political vacuum that will accompany a violent change of regime in Khartoum the SPLM will ensure that their troops in Abyei will remain in their positions and not try to exploit the opportunity to enforce a status quo in the Abyei region.


The Misseriya and any OAGs in South Kordofan will also have to restrain themselves and maintain equilibrium in their region. Misseriya leaders are to be identified and to be made responsible for upholding the peace with the Dinka and the SPLM groups nearby. Commanders from the SPLM in Abyei area must work closely with these Misseriya leaders when the vacuum in Khartoum sets in.


In Blue Nile State, the Governor Malik Agar to ensure that forces under his command in the state will be responsible for maintaining law and order.


In the process of taking these precautionary measures the opposition alliance must quickly work to gain the confidence of the people, because when the political vacuum sets in it is important to have the confidence of the people and thereby be able to quickly lead the angry masses into tranquillity.

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