By Paul Ndiho
After weeks of violent protests and difficult negotiations, Sudan’s protesters and ruling generals signed a deal that aims to install a civilian administration, a key demand of demonstrators since president Omar al-Bashir was deposed in a coup three months ago.
Sudan’s ruling military and the pro-democracy movement on Wednesday signed a political document that’s part of a power-sharing deal meant to end the country’s deadlock after weeks of stalled talks.
The two sides – representatives from the military council and the forces for declaration of freedom and change – signed a so-called political declaration, one of two documents that are part of the deal, at a ceremony in Khartoum.
The other document, a constitutional declaration, is likely to be signed within days, perhaps as early as Friday.
The signing is a key step in Sudan’s transition after months of street protests that prompted the military to oust autocratic ruler Omar Al-Bashir and take over the country in April. Mohamoud Dirir, Ethiopian Mediator.
“It is a great moment that the people of Sudan have reached this historic moment the parties, I would not say different entities of Sudan, but a unit a united front that represents the gallant army of the Sudan, the transitional military council and of course the revolutionary youth, intellectuals who have taken to the streets to stand for democracy.”
Sudan has endured a wave of protests over the deteriorating economic conditions and price hikes of essential commodities since mid-December 2018. Long-time President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in a coup by the military in April. He tightly ruled Sudan for 30 years.
In the days following the coup, the military generals announced that they would set up a transitional military council to run the country for up to two years — but pro-democracy demonstrators firmly rejected that plan.
In early July, the Transitional Military Council and the coalition of pro-democracy groups called the “Forces for Freedom and Change” reached an agreement, ending the dispute between via a joint sovereign council with power shifting between military and civilian leadership.
Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy chairman of the Transitional Military Council and chief of the Rapid Support Forces, says the agreement covers everybody.
“The deal that we have been waiting for a long time has been agreed on, and this agreement needs unity and purity of intent.”
The African Union and Ethiopian officials also assisted in mediating the deal.
Omar al-Dkir, a representative of the Forces for Freedom and Change, says the government now has its eyes clearly on the peace deal.
“This agreement opens the way for the establishment of institutions of Transitional Authority, which will carry out reform programs in the political, economic, and social fields. One of the priorities of this government will be to focus on the cause of peace.”
A lot of mistrust surfaced between the two sides when government security forces killed dozens of people when they broke-up a sit-in demonstration in June. But with the help of mediators, the two parties ironed-out their differences to establish a sovereign council, rotating between the military and civilians for three years.
After the agreement was announced, thousands of people took to streets in jubilation, waving Sudanese flags, dancing and embracing each other.