With the signing of an historic power-sharing agreement between protest leaders and the Transitional Military Council in Sudan, the country is on course to hold presidential elections in 2022. Almost all of the new ruling body's 11 seats will be divided equally between civilians and the military and the remaining position will be jointly selected by both sides. The authority will have at its core a message of justice, equality and diversity, as well as guarantees of freedom and human rights, pillars which aim to stand Sudan in good stead for years to come. This is a promising step for a country that just over four months ago was still labouring under the 29-year dictatorship of Omar Al Bashir.
In December last year, protesters first filled the streets of Sudan in demonstrations against price hikes of basic commodities. These demands quickly morphed into calls for social and political change in a country that has been bogged down by corruption and mismanagement for decades. When Mr Al Bashir was ousted by the army in April, the protest movement did not dissipate. Instead, people demanded a voice in the corridors of power. The new deal aims to address that call for a greater say in how the country is run. There are many challenges ahead, among them how to address the injustices of the previous regime and the danger of Mr Al Bashir loyalists attempting to bring back authoritarian rule. The new body will also have to introduce economic reforms to fight poverty, corruption and involve all regions of the country in the political process to prevent the rise of rogue militias.
This is all the more crucial as this is not Sudan’s first attempt at democracy. The nation has a history of military coups, followed by failed democratic processes.
The recent power-sharing agreement, optimistically titled Joy of Sudan, has put Khartoum on the right path. We can only hope authorities will seize this opportunity to overcome Sudan’s challenges and give its people the stability and peace they deserve.