In power changes in underdeveloped countries where the changes are cyclical between civilians and military rulers, there are two means of change: Either a fully fledged coup where part of the military officers takes power with specific objectives, in most case ideological. At the onset of the success of the coup they start implementing radical changes which include cleansing of the civil service, army, police forces and security personnel of all who are not affiliated to the ideologies of the leaders of the coup. They form a council of ministers within days of the coup whose members are closely linked or affiliated to the ideology of the coup.
So, military coups achieve goals quickly by the prompt formation of the relevant governing institutions.
The other form of power change is when the armed forces align with popular demonstrations and streets upheaval. When the resentment and rallies swell to a critical level or life comes to standstill by strikes and civil disobedience, the top army brass seize power declaring that it did so to align with the demands of people and to observe peace, security and safety of people.
In Sudan fully fledged military coups happened three times:
1. November 1985 coup of General Abboud: In the first day they banned all political parties, imposed martial law and curfew. In less than a week a technocrat government was formed mixed with some military top brass. They ruled for 6 years by iron-fist governance. They were patriotic non-partisan. They did landmarks in industry, infrastructure and agriculture. They were removed by a popular uprising on October 1964. This was followed by a one-year interim governance of civilian rule. No military council was formed. 5 civilians were chosen as a rotational head of state on monthly frequency. Council of Ministers mostly leftists technocrats because the October revolution was led by the communists and leftists of Khartoum University. This is because the spark of the uprising was the killing of student in a rally about the conflict of South Sudan inside the campus of the University of Khartoum. In this change and interim period the leftist leaders of the uprising lost the whole game to the traditional parties – Umma, National Democratic Parties and the then nascent Islamic Brotherhood Movement.
2. 1969 – 1985: May 1969 coup let by General Nimeiri. It was entirely leftist – communist party, Baath, Nassirites. In the first week Sudan was 180 changed to communist slogans, purging of civil service and army, police of all rightists especially Islamic. Council of Ministers was formed in 3 days headed by Mwlana Babikir Awadallah, Nassistist and cabinet of communists and other leftists.
3. 1989 – 2019: Salvation coup. It was a fully fledged military coup staged by the Muslim brotherhood. In the first week they did everything to change the life of Sudan to strict Sharia laws, unprecedented purging of army, police and civil service of tens of thousands of persons not Muslim brothers. The worst governance was in the 30 year rule of the Salvation. Economy reached the threshold collapse, strategic scheme in agriculture and infrastructure collapsed, hardship to 90% of the population reached the critical point. The regime ended by a unique tactic of protestors who started wide spread demonstrations for 4 month till they staged on April 6, 2019 a three million sit-in around the army HQ which led to the downfall of Al Bashir on April 11. So the two events when the army aligned with the uprising was on April 1985 after ousting General Nimeiri and the second is the current stalemate after ousting Al Bashir. The first interim was a mix between a military council of the top brass and a civilian cabinet. In that period the military council played unfair game which seriously jeopardized all plans and objectives of the leaders of the uprising who were the Trade Unions of Professionals (TUP), almost lost complete control of the interim period which was carefully and maliciously tailored by the council to the advantage of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement. They won in a hurriedly conducted elections more than 50 seats and became number three after the two historic old parties of NUP and DUP. The surfacing and shinning of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1985 was a prelude of their coup of 1989.
Now the history is repeating itself – The army aligned with the Sudanese Professionals Alliance (SPA) – ousted Al Bashir only and the salvation regime is deliberately left intact because most of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) were part and parcel of the ongoing regime, so they cannot be of any use to the youth who took to the streets for 4 months and staged a meaningful unique sit-in and after families lost dear loved ones.
The only weapon left is to bolster the sit-in around the army HQ, and stop all negotiations, then calling for a general strike and disobedience. They are protected by army also and the international community.
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