A Voice of Reason

When the popular protests erupted on 19th December 2018,the demands of the protesters were limited and seemed to be focused on rejecting the hike in prices of food commodities and petrol. Such demands were legitimate and could be easily met and listened to on the first days of the movement. There were no political agendas involved in the demands. However, the government’s slow response in addition to saying that the movement had been infiltrated and hijacked by foreign influences (Israel) and people with “agendas” (the opposition parties) added fuel to the fire. The demands of the protesters escalated and became more overtly political, calling on the president to step down. Thus, the protesters and their demands were held hostage to the opposition parties. Even the parties who were once partners in the government deserted the ship one after the other and took to the streets. They rode the wave of demonstrations sweeping the country in order to secure their places in the coming government. If the measures taken by the government to tackle the problems had been effective, all that wouldn’t have happened. The political situation became more complicated and volatile. The government’s supporters, who had been keeping their mouths shut for several days, held a rally under the slogan “Just stay in power” in reaction to the protesters slogan “Just step down”. Both of the two slogans are characterized by exclusion and foster fanaticism and non-acceptance of the other. Therefore, neither of them is acceptable to peace-and-equality-loving people as they will lead the country to chaos and unrest. Open and honest dialogue is the only solution to all problems and grievances. There should be no room for extremism, and no group or individual empowered to confiscate the rights of the other to freedom of opinion and choice.
The smooth transition of power keeps the country from falling into a cycle of civil war and ultimately disintegrating as well as it blocks the way to any form of foreign intervention in our domestic matters. What is going on in Yemen, Libya and Syria is an example of what is going to happen, if political rivals do not sit together to find a way out to the crisis and challenges facing Sudan. Rivals have to remember that the broad majority of people are now sitting on the fence. They have lost confidence in everything and everybody! The widespread apathy among them towards politics is a natural result of decades of wrong political practices. Over sixty years of complete political independence have passed, still the politicians are playing fast and loose with the public’s feelings and their hard-won independence. The military and the political parties are always at loggerheads over power. In fact, the military are at odds with the political parties on the question of multi-party democracy. They don’t believe in it on the grounds that the political parties can’t establish a true democracy that keeps the dignity and defends the sovereignty of the people. And hence, in their opinion, these are reasonable justifications for seizing power in a military coup. The first statement of the coup plotter usually promises to restore democracy as soon as threats to national security are over. It seems that the military are waiting in the wings for their opportunity to take over power, although they deny that.
From their part, the political parties point the finger at the military for undermining and overthrowing democracy on unfounded fears. Thus, the silent majority are tired of all this political buck-passing. They just want to know who is responsible for all these troubles into which they are falling. The need is strong and pressing to overcome these obstacles. Yes, as I said in the first lines of this article, the protests were spontaneous ,lacking in leadership, and were only sparked by a sudden and huge increase of prices of food and other everyday items. But they were sponsored by the opposition parties under the cover of “The Professional Union”. The opposition and the government now have a great and historic responsibility to prevent the country from sliding into the abyss of chaos and disintegration. When chaos reigns in the country there will be no winners or losers. The country will then become a breeding ground for armed groups, extremists, criminal gangs and drug traffickers. There are many enemies who do not want Sudan to enjoy stability and play its pivotal role in building the bridge of communication between Arabs and Africans. Finally I would like to draw the attention of the government and the opposition to their common responsibility to preserve the rights of ordinary citizens to live in dignity, security and stability, after they have given up their rights to seats and positions.

Abdul Ghani Yusuf Abu Waad

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