Socialist Worker

Military try to head off real change in Sudan

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2652

Building barricades in Khartoum

Building barricades in Khartoum (Pic: @arzool2007 / Twitter)


The Sudanese revolt is in danger. The ruling military council and opposition alliance have reached an agreement to form a new body to run the country until the next elections.

The deal was reached during a meeting last Saturday between the Military Transitional Council and the Declaration of Freedom and Changes Forces, an umbrella organisation of opposition groups.

Details had not been released as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday. But some reports suggested the army would have seven representatives and civilians eight.

This would not mean any sort of fundamental transformation.

Retaining massive economic power and state control, the military would still have effective control of the state.

Stability

The deal follows pressure from the US, Britain, Turkey, Russia, the Gulf states and others to bring “stability”.

Hope lies with the sit-ins and strikes that brought down dictator Omar al-Bashir and have kept up the pressure on the military. These continued in the capital Khartoum and several other sites at the start of this week.

On Friday of last week dozens of buses from Singa, the capital of Sennar state in south east Sudan, and from the neighbouring state of Al Jazirah, arrived in Khartoum. They came to support the protesters in front of the army command.

“They chanted slogans demanding the handover of power to civilians, arrest of the figures of the former regime, and calling for freedom, justice and peace,” one of the demonstrators told Radio Dabanga.

Workers in Port Sudan launched a four-day strike last week demanding better conditions as well as political change.

Recently hundreds of people arrived on what activists called the “freedom train” from Atbara to join the Khartoum sit-in.

Atbara, the city of “iron and fire”, is the historic birthplace of the Sudanese trade union movement.

It is where the uprising began last December.

Handover

Meanwhile, leading Muslim figures have split over the revolt.

In his sermon last week Dr Adam El Shein, imam of El Rahma Mosque in Khartoum, urged a rapid handover of power to a civilian government.

“We revolted for the sake of the truth, freedom, justice, and peace, and to stand with the oppressed,” he said.

On the same day, Muslims at the Anas Ibn Malik mosque in Khartoum demanded that regime supporter Naji Abdallah leave the mosque after he denounced the current protests.

The imam of the Kafouri Mosque in Khartoum was also pressed to leave the mosque after he criticised the sit-ins.

Only workers can ensure real change by using the power of strikes and, together with the sit-ins, setting up their own democratic organisations.

There must be no cosy deal with the military or their imperial backers.


Bouteflika’s clique in trouble

The noose is tightening around the corrupt clique that surrounded former Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Four brothers from the Kouninef family who were close to Bouteflika’s brother Said have been arrested over non-compliance with state contracts.

Former chief of police and Bouteflika ally general Abdelghani Hamel is also to appear before a judge this week.

“We want this system to leave and all the thieves to be judged,” said teacher Zohra on one of Friday’s protests.

The protests show no signs of abating despite attempts to stop people taking to the streets.

They must continue, along with the strike movement, to win real change.


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