KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - Three issues had captured the interest of press editorials and commentaries last week. These were: The repercussions of PM Abdalla Hamdok’s initiative for political and security reform, the hostile shouting by some police personnel while the Minister of the Interior was delivering an address during an inaugural of new police vehicles and equipment and the mass demonstrations to commemorate the massive protests on 30 June 2019, when Sudanese went out into the streets to press the military to succumb to the public wish for civilian rule.
On PM Hamdok’s initiative for political and security reform in which he cited inter and intra conflicts within the civilian and military components of the government which Hamdok warned could disintegrate the country, wrote Prof. Abdellatif Albooni in the daily newspaper Alsudani (The Sudanese):
The initiative was like a stone thrown in an already rough lake. But, in spite of that, it caused an effect. The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) - the civilian political forces behind the government - have departed from their insistence that everything was all right and all that happens was a noisy movement by the remnants of the defunct regime and the deep state.
The FFC has felt the critical situation the Prime Minister’s initiative had recognized and approached their partners in the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) whom they used to see as a rival, forming a front with them to defend the transitional period, or rather, to protect the government. The National Umma Party has moved closer to them after a long isolation. And the military component, lead by the Army and its associate the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the next day held a meeting of their senior commands and declared that they were a coherent, united body under one leadership. More than that they criticized the initiative, saying they reject “any rumor” or “the casting of doubts” that there is a conflict between the two of them.
Here Hamdok and those standing by his side on the initiative’s platform should consider what is happening is a positive reaction towards the initiative. They should also welcome the unity of the military component which constitutes a security valve of the country, irrespective of what was said in the initiative that the relation between the two military components was not all right.
Now that the military have declared the absence of any discord between them, we should go forward and unify the civilian front and then proceed to find a suitable military-civilian formula for the completion of the transitional period.
One of the important effects of the initiative was the closed meeting the Cabinet had held for three days in a bid to turn the initiative into a working plan. It was noteworthy also that the ministries’ undersecretaries were part of the meeting. There is no wonder in that. They are the leaders of the country’s civilian work, a signal that the meeting was a working and not a political meeting.
The white smoke from the meeting was seen in the form of economic decisions related to the living conditions of citizens and also political decisions relating to the completion of the transitional period legislative and judicial institutions. And it was also for the same time that we got a mention of the general elections in government decisions. It is obvious that the government, and Hamdok himself, have accepted the challenge of this initiative.
On cries of protest from a group of police personnel that interrupted the Interior Minister’s address on the inaugural of newly procured vehicles and logistics wrote Dr. Zuhair Alsarraj in the daily Aljareeda (The Newspaper):
It was absolutely no wonder for the police to go on mutiny or shout condemnations of the Interior Minister at the Liberty Square Yesterday, confirming their commitment to their declared walk out of 30 June, in coincidence with the mass demonstrations marking the watershed marches that convinced the military to share power with the civilians. We have been writing and criticizing the clear police laxity in dispensing their duties towards crime and criminals. We have also been scathing the, famous un- disciplinary expression “You have said you wanted civilian rule” with which some unruly police officers replied to citizens reporting an offence. That was as if the civilian state called for by the citizens was in contravention with the noble duty of the police of protecting and serving the citizens -not as the deposed regime wanted them to do, to protect the regime.
It is still in the minds of some police commanders that the job of the police was to protect the regime, rob the citizens from their rights and freedoms without any accountability. The same applies to the incumbent police chief who wants his forces to have full immunity for them to be able to control the security. He (the police chief) had earlier grumbled from what he called “the citizens’ excessive feeling of freedom after the revolution.”
For his part, the former Khartoum police chief had revealed an odd understanding of the nature of the police work (jumping over his prerogatives and powers) when he called for the reinstatement of the cancelled public order law enacted by the defunct regime to undermine the freedom and pride of the Sudanese women and chasing them in the streets, marketplaces and outside the universities campuses and schools for “wearing indecent clothes”, and dragging them to the courts and whipping them.
It was natural for this odd understanding of the nature of the police work on the part of some of its senior commanders to create a continued laxity in police work and for the crime to spread and for the criminals to get the nerve to commit crimes in open daylight.
Things developed until when some of the police personnel called for a general police strike on Wednesday, setting the security, safety, life, properties and businesses of the citizens in danger. (From the editor: The declared police strike did not take place and all police personnel were on duty that day and continue to do so now).
It is high time for the creation of a professional, qualified and dedicated police force to serve and protect the citizens and not to slander them and the civilian government they call for.
That would never take place unless a comprehensive reform is carried out in the police force from top to bottom and unless the police force is not purged from the adherents of the deposed regime and the recruitment of new elements who believe in the values and principles of the revolution.
On the mass demonstrations celebrating water-shed 30 June 2019 massive protests that ended the military’s ambition to take power all by themselves, wrote Mr. Yousif Alsondi in the electronic publication Altahreer (The Liberation):
The messages sent out by the 30 June marches were varied.
The first of them had landed in the mailbox of the Islamists who came out with clear, frank statements from their dissolved party (the National Congress Party) calling for demonstrations to topple the government. The message they should have learned was that the public has done away with them, and the only option for them, if they want to return to normal political life, is to exercise self-criticism and apologize to the Sudanese people for their 1989 military coup and the tragedies it brought upon the nation.
In addition, this government has canines and is not easy prey. Example of this were the successive blows inflicted upon the so-called Islamists by the commission charged to retrieve the money and properties they stole.
Further, the early preemptive raids carried out by the commission and its police force on the dwellings of the remnants of the deposed regime were decisive and had directly neutralized them and foiled their designs of creating havoc on 30 June. Pictures in circulation of those detained showed a number of well known leading Islamists from the second row. It is common knowledge that the defunct National Congress Party is a legally dissolved party and has no right in political activity during the transitional period and, accordingly, their arrests were lawful.
The second message was for the Sudanese Communist Party. It reads: The Sudanese People would not permit anybody to exploit them to achieve narrow, ideological, partisan agenda which have nothing to do with the nation. The objectives and slogans put forth by this Party and called its followers and the Sudanese people to walk under them like: We will not be ruled by the World Bank, are but ideological slogans very similar to the slogans used to be uttered by the Islamists when they were in power. For anyone who wants to change the government policy, he should wait for the general elections when, if he wins, he can apply his economic perceptions. But to exploit the masses to ascend to power is forbidden.
The third message is to the partners of the transitional government. It reads that the country is still in tension. And if the transitional government does not correct this miserable economic-political situation through the unification of the ranks of the revolution through the creation of a new power base that embraces all the revolutionary spectrum, and agrees on the formation of the legislature and the commissions, things will not go forward.