Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 26 June 2020

Sudan: Dynamics of change and resistance of political parties to change 


By: Hussein Arko Menawi

When we look at the political timeline in Sudan it gives us strong evidence, how the political future in Sudan is critical, bleak and confusing. It is also a good reference to understand to what extent our political forces are unable to accept and manage change. Change is something inevitable but if there is a resistance to that change, it would be uncertain how long the change takes place, what complications are in its process and how the process navigates to its final destination. Another important question is that who manage this change? As William Arthur puts" The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails", how and who adjusts the sails for the process of formation of Sudan is our major question of this topic. 

Due to wars in the margin, notably, there has been a big change in our political environment but to what extent the change is conceivable to our politicians and how far they are ready to respond to the change. 

If time went back, and there is a window was opened to view the political events that came within the period of independence or the generation immediately after the independence, surely politicians would discern clearly in what type of socio-political environment did they practice politics at that time compared to the new development occurred in many aspects of the current political environment in Sudan. The political interaction of several decades since independence has made the weight of political events change. This change happened in a very complicated political process. 

In fact, from the perspective of many Sudanese as well as outsiders, they see Sudan is a country in a process of formation but this process is crippled by huge distrust resulted from a long-standing conflict in which engaged all the diverse components of the society.

Politically the consequence of fierce long-standing military and political conflict is the new situation in which the balance of power has become uncertain and fluctuating. However within uncertainty there are many indicators suggest that the rules of the political game currently are not absolutely under the control of the traditional politics, rather, the rules are in a continuous shift in favour of the marginalised people. Undisputedly the process of change has been in a continuous evolution breaking the barriers of the conventional game of power manipulation exercised by the political leaders who tried to win the game or get access to power just for the sake of a small sector of the Sudanese at the expense of the large and diverse community of Sudan.
The game of political decision monopoly in the country by a minority after exiting the condominium rule from Sudan has gradually faced a pressure from active counter marginal political forces who have started to engage in confrontation with the central government since 1955 in Torit, Southern Sudan at that time, and this situation has created an atmosphere of no common loyalty among the Sudanese. 

The clear evidence to this allegation is that since the independence never happened throughout the history of Sudan all the Sudanese have come together to express their opinions in a shared loyalty on an issue whether a national issue or issues related to foreign positions. Although there are some factors have influenced the process, the war in the margin as changing instrument is the most influential factor that steadily making a very strong impact on the process of changing Sudan. When tracing the process back, it seems that since mutiny in Torit in 1955 the mechanism of war has proved to be an only invariable factor among many negative variable factors influenced the process, especially factors like sporadic coup d’etat, mismanagement of foreign policy and the policy of ideological-oriented intervention into our politics.

In spite of politics of gun mussel that made a great shift in the power balance in Sudanese politics, in addition to the catastrophic events that have coloured our political scene, it seems that the political parties in Khartoum still see politics in Sudan only within the conflict over their vested interests. It is really ridiculous when the political parties in Khartoum don’t consider political evolution that strongly in connection with the military violence overshadowed by the war in South Sudan, Darfur region and the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains where most populations categorized under marginalization.

 During this diabolical war environment of more than half a century, there a crystal political evolution or say the political process has been snaking its way to somewhere not clearly its destination is predictable, or in other words, where and when the process would be anchored. But what a predictable is that the old politics that dominated political arena for decades is giving way to dynamics resulted from the interaction of marginalised people in war-torn regions. 

The political development resulted from the wars brought political forces from the margin into a line of power conflict with completely different issues and different tools from that prevailed in the post-independence period until April 1985 uprising.
The political mobility that dominated the political scene in Sudan, whether during October uprising or during April 1985, was just a class struggle between political parties on privileges that can only be obtained through power manipulation and the nature of the conflict is not beyond common routine demands such as public service or basic needs or how to share in power and thus, the political elites were unable to address the roots of the Sudanese crisis, neither during October 1964 nor during April uprising 1985. Now, what a ridiculous is that the political scene after accumulated similar experiences that lasted for decades still the political parties are stuck in the square of 1964 & 1985, while the old political landscape of Sudan has shaken tremendously under the seismic of brutal wars in the margin. In spite of a change introduced by the conflict in the margin, unfortunately, what’s going on now is a feverish political competition over power privilege and social class interests and the competition is taking roots every day deeply to colour our political landscape with gloomy future. When we look at the political position of the traditional parties led by FFC particularly their resistance to peace whether, in Addis Ababa or Juba, the competition over narrow privileges has become more intensive than before Ironically, the power-hungry opponents of this competition are still the same political parties even if they are under new names. It’s also notable that the conflict still a copy of the old practices through a new dimension of Center versus margin has become dominant. Ie.there is still a high degree of hostility between extremist ideologies, especially between those of political Islam and the entire forces of the left. The growing tension between the two blocs now is about to reach the peak and every day there is enough evidence that their confrontation is imminent. After the collapse of the NCP regime, the tension has become more acute among the traditional political forces than the tension between the fighters in the margins and the central government.

The confrontation between left and right forces definitely will not exceed the limits of historic longstanding disputes between the two blocs and for that, they are now preparing for a final showdown and for sure the fundamental issues of Sudan, particularly the issues that ignited war in the periphery are not of their concerns.

 It is true that since the collapse of the NCP dictatorship nothing has been achieved. While many claim that the new government needs ample of time to eradicate the presence of NCP from the state organs, however, this is not an excuse for the government to focus on minor issues without giving a priority to peace and the current situation is a very clear indication that if the issue of peace not addressed, definitely it will lead to political chaos. Let’s say we need time to address the chronic and heavy legacy that Sudan inherited during the past decades, including the legacy of the 3o years of NCP regime, but what unrealistic phenomenon is that politics remains static and stuck on old practices and doesn’t respond to changes but continues to revolve within the orbit of the same old ideas. 

It is an extraordinary and a critical political situation, it is not a coincidence, it has been developed mainly by, the traditional political parties even if there are other suspects. It is so difficult to find out a safe exit when vision becomes very blurred and the main focus is how every political party to win the battle over power controlling without taking into consideration the issues of the margin and the size of the political change that has been brought by the margin wars into the political scene. What makes things more pessimistic is that, instead of directing the state’s capabilities to manage crises and address key issues, the political parties are now lining up for an imminent battle against each other and the worst is the one connected to components of transitional government both the military component and the civilian one. The differences within the government not only seriously affected the future of the transitional period and its interim government but it also particularly impeded the progress of the ongoing peace process in Juba.

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  • 7 July 2020 12:42, by Fathi

    What does the Mr. Menawi believe "the roots of the Sudanese crisis" to be? Even the armed groups disagree on the root cause, solutions, and demands.

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