Conducive Environment for Peaceful Democratic Transformation (2)

By: Alula Berhe Kidani

The RCDCS (Regional Centre for Training and Development of Civil Society) organized for three days (29 April-1 May, 2019) a very important workshop on “Institutional and Legislative Reforms for Democratic Transformation in Sudan”. There is no dispute that this is a critical issue and challenge for the coming transitional period. The importance of the issues in the framework of this workshop theme goes far beyond the papers presented as naturally one workshop cannot cover them all. So, we hope and sure that the RCDCS is planning for more to shed light on the other issues. We have chosen to start our review of the workshop Six papers with the paper titled “Confidence Building Measures in Sudan: For a Conducive Environment for Democratic Political Transformation” presented by reputable lawyer and civil society activists Dr. Sami Abdel Halim Saeed.

Transitional Period

The paper stressed on that all the parties in the protests which called for Freedom, Peace and Justice should participate on equal footing in the deliberation to end conflicts and disagreements, attain sustainable peace, political stability and social welfare. Then add that the TMC (Transitional Military Council) must investigate the demands of the trade unions, the civil society, the political parties and the “military”. In addition to the civil society organizations that represent the whole Sudanese society. So, that the TMC can pin-point some measures needed to create a conducive environment for confidence building.

Editor Remarks

I have read the above para several times to understand fully the messages that the writer wanted to send in this particular point. Dr. Sami is a reputable lawyer and civil society activist so this para cannot have been written in a haphazard manner, so will be addressed as such.
The above points of paper in this context are totally rejected as it bellows from the ground the basic aim of the 19 Dec.2019 and the role of its representatives the FCF (Freedom and Change Forces) in the negotiations with the TMC to deliver power to a transitional civilian government. It is the role of the FCF and not the TMC to start the process of contact and confidence building and the process have already started and the arrival of representatives from some of the armed movements to Khartoum is proof of this. The other strange point in this para is the inclusion of the demands of the “military” if so then who is the TMC representing in the present negotiations process with the FCF.
So, we regret to say that Dr. Sami in this point has mixed the cards and given the TMC a mandate and role that is not in their domain. In addition the basic element in the 19 Dec.2018 is that the people don’t want any more political general but military general with the mandate to defend the country and not rule and 52 years of military dictatorships is more than enough.

Urgent Reforms

The paper called for a set of Urgent reforms: These bundle of reforms include legislations closely linked with the process of transformation to democratic civilian governance and represent a major concern for the political forces and the civil society.
These reforms should include, the cancellation or radical reforms of all acts that restrict the freedom of expression and assembly (Editor: the National Press Council Act, the Public Order Act, for example). In addition to the complete amendment of the Voluntary Work Act, the National Security Act, etc.
In addition to the complete freedom of political action to open the space for the holistic participation of all without restrictions or exclusion in the running of the country; this also means the cancellation or suspension of any sentences or arrest warrants against the leaders of the armed groups and in particular those who will participate in any coming peace negotiations.

Justice

The process should also include the start of serious and active measures to implement justice and prosecute those who aborted the democratic rule in June, 1989. As well as those accused of financial and political corruption. Such measures will build confidence between the transitional government and the stakeholders in the democratic transformation.
Also, humanitarian aid assistance flow must be allowed to reach the areas affected by armed conflicts and insure safe passages for humanitarian aid workers (Editor; in this context the negative role of the measures imposed by the NISS-National Intelligence and Security Services – and HAC (Humanitarian Aid Commission which is as a matter of fact administrated by NISS must be eliminated)
In addition the transitional government must create or reform several committees and commissions on the above issues in particular on the issues of humanitarian aid, dialogue and media and human rights issues.

Political and Armed Groups

The opposition and armed groups must take some measures on the road to confidence building, such measures should include;
1- Partial or complete cease fire or refrain from any military actions but in self defence (Editor; this measure have already been declared by both sides; the armed forces and the armed movements. What is needed the strict adherence to this public commitment).
2- Armed groups should release partially or completely all prisoners.
3- Stop all hostile media campaigns and change the political discourse language and terms and in particular in statements made by the official spokespersons of these groups.
4- Permit civil society organizations entry to areas under their military control.

Civil Society

The civil society organizations experience and interventions in after conflicts and internal wars in additions to the Sudan civil society national experience in building confidence during the conflicts, it can be summarized in: increase society awareness on the vital importance of peace; build a cooperation and solidarity culture in building peace, by provision of the social and political conducive environment and the use of non-violent means in the resolution of conflicts; perform activities that limits the scope and area of conflicts, implement initiatives to make the conflicting parties reach consensus on resolving the conflicts; conduct research on peace , conflicts resolutions and use the outcomes to promote the peace process; rise the parties awareness with the need to respect the International Humanitarian Laws and the International Human Rights Laws and lead initiatives to strengthen democracy, justice and political stability.
This work needs to be put in a strategic framework which support the work of the civil society organizations in the confidence building process in the framework of creating conducive environment for a comprehensive democratic dialogue.

International Community

The, International Community in this context mean the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union , the Arab League and similar other organizations. (Editor: think that in this regard the most important actors in Sudan have been the Troika (USA, UK and Norway) in addition to the African Union while the role of the European Union as an institution had ups and downs in the direct involved in the Sudanese issues).
These institutions the paper says that despite the long decades of conflicts in Sudan have not actively participated in trying to promote solutions in a real effective manner. This has led in turn to loss of confidence in them among a large number of the Sudanese organizations and the public. (Editor; this was reflected in many slogans in the 19 Dec.2018 Revolution and this was added to a large extent by the complete failure of the United Nations and African Union Mission in Darfur known as the UNIMID).
The writer proposes that the international community to regain the Sudanese confidence needs to take some measures that could include; incentives to the Sudanese stakeholders to cooperate in the attainment of sustainable peace and development in Sudan, accept the principle of democratic dialogue, and non-violence in conflict resolution; connecting the provision of aid for development and the relief from foreign debts with the progress in the peaceful resolution of all conflicts.
The third proposals in the paper in this regard said; that the Arab Countries which are interested in a peaceful political transformation in Sudan and in particular the rich oil countries must assist in pro-poor development projects in the rural areas and support political stability and peace in Sudan.
The Editor completely disagrees with Dr. Sami on the base of the political realities and policies of these rich Arab oil countries in the Gulf.
Then the paper fourth propose is that the African Union mediation should forward proposals for dialogue on the bases on inclusiveness, freedom, transparency in the framework and organization of the dialogue mechanisms.
The fifth point concerns the request that the United Nations to provide the technical support and the resources to attain justice and peace and support the human rights institutions in the country.
This is also an area on which the Editor has some remarks. The United Nations agencies work in Sudan during the last thirty year due to the nature of the dictatorial regime has been characterized by a lot of non-transparency and non-professionalism both in context and reporting ethics.
In the coming period there must be a radical change on this respect to gain first of all in the neutrality and professionalism of these agencies and before anything the highest degree of transparency in their work. Franklyn the UN Agencies credibility with the Sudanese public is very low and this trend needs to be reversed.
The last point in this part of the paper relate to the role of the USA as a member of the Security Council and the Troika, it demands that the USA work to remove Sudan name from the list of the countries that sponsor terrorism and provide the diplomatic and technical support needed to relieve Sudan from the foreign debits under the HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) Initiative.
The rest of the paper pages contain many technical details in the mechanism of confidence building which the space here cannot permit reviewing them.

 

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