After meeting for two days in Khartoum last week, Sudan‘s Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) civilian umbrella on Friday Jul 5 announced that they had reached an agreement to end the deadlock in their country.
According to a Reuters witness the streets in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city across the Nile River erupted in celebration when the news broke. Thousands of people of all ages took to the streets, chanting “Civilian! Civilian! Civilian!” There was banging on drums, honking of horns and women ululating in jubilation.
The two parties agreed to:
- share power until elections through the creation of a sovereign council that will rotate between the military and civilians for a period of three years or slightly more. (The TMC will rule for the next 18 months, after which the civilian council will govern for the next 12 months.)
- end the standoff that has paralyzed Sudan since April when former President Hassan al Bashir was ousted.
- form an independent technocratic government made up of 11 members, five from each group, and the last person agreed by both parties.
- launch a transparent, independent investigation into violent events in recent weeks.
Following the signing of the agreement, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and head of the notorious Rapid Support Forces (RSF) said, “We would like to reassure all political forces, armed movements and all those who participated in the change from young men and women … that this agreement will be comprehensive and will not exclude anyone… We thank the African and Ethiopian mediators for their efforts and patience. We also thank our brothers in the Forces for Freedom and Change for the good spirit.”
Omar al-Degair, a leader of the FFC said, “This agreement opens the way for the formation of the institutions of the transitional authority, and we hope that this is the beginning of a new era.”
Despite the optimism from the negotiators, there is some scepticism by observers over the readiness of the TMC to rule fairly in the absence of a legislator (also given their involvement in the human rights abuses in Sudan up to this point), and whether they can be trusted to hand over power to the FFC after 18 months.
On the other hand, there is also doubt over the ability of the FFC to transition from a protest movement into a political force that can govern the country well in the absence of strong ideological basis that binds them together.
Another concern is the uncertainty over the role Islamists would play in the future of Sudan. A partner of the TMC, Islamists have been seen as mostly radical. Sati’ Al-Haj, spokesman of the National Consensus Forces, which is part of the FFC told VOA earlier that the “Islamist groups in Sudan view themselves as intermediaries between God and Sudanese people. They genuinely believe in re-imposing sharia law on this country…”
FERVENTLY PRAY FOR SUDAN
An Open Doors researcher commented, “In the past, successive military juntas systematically isolated and attacked the Body of Christ since independence. Even in the years of relative peace, believers faced various challenges from the Muslim community at large. Church leaders seized that opportunity with both hands. Now they remain hopeful for the future but ask for continued prayer for positive outcomes on the long term.”
- Thank the Lord for the breakthrough reached last week. This is an answer to pray.
- Pray for all involved in implementing the agreement. Pray for good governance and wisdom.
- Pray that Sudan Church will continue to have wisdom and contribution on this important changes in Sudan.
- Pray for firm involvement from the international community to keep all parties accountable.
- Pray that the FFC will not back down on their demands for religious freedom for all in Sudan and find the wisdom and courage to counter pressure from Islamists to have Sudan under sharia.
Source: Reuters, VOA, Al Jazeera, AP
In cooperation with local churches and partners, Open Doors supports the persecuted church in Sudan through:
- Discipleship training
- Trauma counselling
- Theological training
- Community development projects
- Christian literature distribution
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