More than a month after the Sudanese Armed Forces deposed president Omar El Bashir, the ruling military council and opposition groups are yet to reach an agreement on the composition of the transitional government. While opposition groups and protesters want a swift transition from the council to a purely civilian rule. The military on its side wants half or majority of the transition cake. The stalemate grinds on and now there are incidences of use of live ammunition and injuries outside the military headquarters in Khartoum. A revolution of a lifetime faces the danger of amounting to nothing in the end.
The military is the custodian of the constitution and a country’s territorial integrity, and as such, they want to have a say in government so that rulers do not take steps that end in chaos. The world military history may be more of brutality, but troops do like order, which is why curfews are imposed after most coups. Civilians on their side know the dangers of having soldiers in government, top among them being perceived brutality. It may not be realistic for Sudan to immediately have a seamless transition, considering that power had not changed hands for three decades, but both sides must sober up and take steps that will guarantee peace and stability.
When the military council starts issuing restrictions to the protesters and those protesters dedicate themselves to defying them,it is a clear indication that chaotic scenes are not that far off. When spent cartridges are collected on the streets and shown to the cameras, bloodshed drums are beating. Instability will make the country ungovernable, therefore making transition more difficult. Peace will protect the reputation of the defence forces and safeguard the civilian lives. Hardliners can never make peace because peace require compromises. No matter how dear ideals are held and how strongly a group believes in them, truce calls for mutual compromises. It may looke like a lose-lose situation, but if the end product is peace, is it not win-win?
Unless the feuding sides take a long look at themselves and each one takes a step back, in realization that Sudan is bigger than all interests combined, a new era, worse than Bashir’s may be ushered in. The power ultimately belongs to civilians, but care should be taken to ensure that demands for full transition are not laced by unrealistic demands tied to impractical timelines. The military on its part must display good faith and take genuine steps towards full democratization, and always ensure no part of the system ever grooms and harbours a dictator again.