Sudanese may be looking at the certain return to a civilian rule, after pro-democracy forces, who had held hard-line stances, announced that the country will have a new administration by April.
This came after the final agreement paving the way for the transfer of power to civilians was signed by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) at a joint meeting on March 18.
According to Khalid Omer, the political process spokesman, the meeting approved the formation of an eleven-member committee to draft the final agreement, including nine representatives of the signatory civilian forces, a representative of the national army and another of the paramilitary forces.
“The transitional constitution will take place on the sixth of April, while the formation of the institutions of the transitional authority will be on the 11th of April,” he said in a statement.
The signatories to the framework agreement met twice on March 18. The first included the SAF and RSF commanders, the political signatories, and tripartite facilitation mechanism. The second included the RSF commander, the civil forces, and the Trilateral Mechanism — the AU, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development and the UN.
Army supports democratic rule
According to Yasir Arman, a Sudanese politician and a leading figure in the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North, the forces for freedom and change have started discussions about who is appropriate for the prime minister post.
He maintained that the transitional constitution is expected to be finalized and signed in the next few days after the completion of the final workshop on security reform scheduled for the end of March.
However, there are still concerns that the military remains divided over the transfer of power to civilians following the October 2021 coup. While Sudanese Deputy Head of the Sovereign Council General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo has been calling for the immediate implementation of the Political Framework Agreement (supposed to return the country to civilian rule), his boss Gen Abdel al-Fattah al-Burhan has been campaigning for a gradual process that includes even those that didn’t sign the agreement.
Gen. Yasir Al-Atta, a member of the Sovereign Council, announced on March 18 that the army has no desire to rule and does not wish to hold on to power and instead, chooses to support the revolution and people’s preference for democratic civil rule.
Transitional government essential
According to Hala Al-Karib, the Regional Director of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIWHA), the agreements between the military and political elites appear to be a positive move on the surface but will not help Sudan achieve peace and stability in the near future. “What Sudan needs is a new political arrangement that centres as well as invests in the pro-democracy movement and works to help it build democratic leadership capacity,” she said.
While briefing UN Security Council on March 20, the US Representative for Special Political Affairs Robert Wood said that reaching a final political agreement on a new civilian-led transitional government is essential to end Sudan’s political crisis and address urgent political, economic, security, and humanitarian challenges.
“We acknowledge the significant work done in Phase 2 of the Framework Agreement process and urge the parties to capitalize on it by swiftly finalizing agreement on a new civilian-led government and interim constitutional arrangements that allow Sudan to resume its democratic transition,” he said.
However, Wood acknowledged the fragility of democratic transitions and that for the process to succeed, the parties must foster an environment conducive to the participation of all stakeholders so they may freely express their views without fear of retribution.
“We note that the security situation remains extremely volatile in Darfur and increased tensions and violence in other regions. Chronic violence highlights the urgent need for Juba Peace Agreement implementation, including the full deployment of the Joint Security Keeping Forces in Darfur, inclusive security sector reform, and comprehensive, inclusive, and transparent transitional justice processes,” he told the Security Council.