Finally, wisdom has prevailed. The Sudanese military has walked back on the politics of brinkmanship and reinstated the civilian government led by Abdalla Hamdok. This puts an end to a period of uncertainty and unrest created by the ouster of the transitional government on October 26 by the military under the leadership of top general Abdel Fattah Al Burhan. Sudan has been going through a fragile transition process ever since long-time ruler Omar Al Bashir was dethroned after a wave of protests in 2019. The arrangement put in place has provided for sharing of power between civilian leaders and military authorities until the country makes a full transition to democracy. It was seen as the only viable and practical way to run Sudan in the interim period. The military has been a source of stability in the north African country and its support was perceived as vital to any transition process. But as the process unfolded, tensions surfaced between the civilian and military leadership leading to the ouster of the government and the arrest of the civilian leaders, including Prime Minister Hamdok. This sparked fears of return of erstwhile dictator Omar Al Bashir whose long rule had left behind a huge welter of resentment. People took to the streets in a big way to foil the coup in which over 40 had been killed.
Military boss Burhan, who was running the show after the coup, came under intense pressure to restore the civilian government. Streets in Khartoum and other cities were seething with anger with near-daily protests held to reverse the actions of the military. The international community led by the US orchestrated a campaign to make the military undo the retrograde coup. They threatened to restore sanctions that were imposed on the country during the rule of Omar Bashir. The UAE also played a no mean rule in making the military see the wisdom of restoring the civilian government. Popular protests, coupled with international diplomacy, finally helped arrest the slide into dreaded military dictatorship.
What awaits Sudan in future? Nothing can be said with certainty with many seasoned observers of the country saying the military is unlikely to give up its decisive role in running the affairs of the country. The generals may breathe down the neck of Hamdok whose authority appears to have been reduced under the post-coup arrangement. But the international community fervently hopes the military will honour its word and allow the civilian government to function. Let us hope the generals will rein in their instincts and allow the country to become a fully functioning democracy in 2023 when general elections are scheduled to be held. The country deserves a popular rule after languishing for decades under the diktats of a dictator.