The Sudanese political crisis continues in the incessant confrontation between the organizations of popular protest and the governing authorities of the military junta, through the organization of popular demonstrations that the government tries to repress by limiting the use of violence, aware of the risk of a further and more serious escalation.
On March 7 a new massive demonstration was held in Khartoum and in the main cities of the country, following the calendar of protests that provides for the descent into the streets every Monday, while on March 8, during a funeral ceremony, the Sudanese police forces arrested Babiker Faisal, a politician well known in the country for having taken part in the investigation committee for the identification of assets stolen by the former regime of Omar al-Bashir, further fueling the size of the protest.
At the same time, the leadership of the military junta appears increasingly polarized around a dualism that has arisen between the president of the Sovereign Council of Transition, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the vice-president, General Mohammad Hamdan Dagalo, the expression of a long-term contrast between the regular armed forces and the militias set up in the past by former President Omar el-Bashir to manage the conflict in South Sudan and Darfur.
The country thus appears paralyzed in all its concrete and real capacity to manage the economy and national reconciliation, also putting at risk the difficult balance reached with the various components of the political and military opposition, which to a large extent accepted the compromise of collaboration with the government at the Juba conference.
No less complex is the situation on the popular protest front, where the compactness of the opposition to the governing military junta is contrasted by a multiplicity of initiatives and organizations that are struggling to define a unified synthesis of a political platform. In the face of an evident capacity for mobilization of civil society in the context of continuous demonstrations of protest, therefore, at the same time there has been a lack of an equally effective capacity for cohesion at the level of the political proposal, risking the frustration of the efforts of the protest in a dangerous climate of balance with the military authorities, which constantly risks resulting in open violence.
It is with growing interest, therefore, the announcement of the “Charter for the Affirmation of People’s Authority”, defined at the end of last February by some of the Sudanese protest movements, coordinated by the Committee for Resistance led by Zuhair Al-Dali, who, for the first time, intended to define a sort of road map for the practical return of a civilian political leadership of the country.
The charter document holds firm the values of the protest, reaffirming the will not to accept any form of compromise with the military ruling authorities in Khartoum, calls for the cancellation of the constitutional declaration of August 2019 and proposes the definition of a new constitutional charter.
Although of undeniable interest, however, the Charter proposal has raised numerous unknowns in the Sudanese political landscape, where there are well-founded doubts regarding the cohesion of the document’s promoters, as well as their actual ability to promote a shared document.
The Charter, then, is structured on 12 points, mainly focused on the opposition to any compromise formula with the military authorities, but also on the explicit refusal to a transition process coordinated by the United Nations, largely considered as supporters of the need to promote a transition that does not ignore the demands of the military apparatus. Elements that, according to many, impede from the beginning the possibility of an effective capacity of success of the project, feeding on the contrary a radicalization especially with a part of the military apparatus – the militia of General Dagalo in particular – which is offered no other alternative but the abdication of its political and economic prerogatives.
The promoters of the Charter, moreover, propose the launch of a two-year transition program led by the revolutionary committees, through the appointment of an interim prime minister in charge of guiding the transitional process towards the definition of a constitutional reform, free elections and the revision of the Juba peace agreements, for the definition of a new platform of national reconciliation managed only by the Sudanese parties.
The national security reform project remains central to the Charter, as much as it is problematic, hinging on the dissolution of the militias and the strengthening of a Sudanese national army subject to the legislative power and which is deprived of control over the huge economic interests that today constitute its main source of influence.
No less ambitious is the project of economic reform, based on a redefinition of the prerogatives of the Ministry of Finance, which would be entrusted with the management of Sudanese public business in order to prevent the peripheral management of national economic interests. A formula, also in this case, explicitly referring to the role and interference of the military apparatus in the control and management of a large part of the national economy.
A particularly important element of the Charter – and of great sensitivity in terms of international politics – is instead the definition of a new foreign and security policy of the country, which, in the intentions of the promoters, should be built on the assumption of a position of neutrality of Sudan with respect to the main dynamics of regional crisis (Ethiopia and Yemen in particular), on the suspension of the process of normalization of relations with Israel and on the definition of a framework of priorities of national interest established within a renewed political context expressed through the popular vote.