Home | Comment & Analysis    Sunday 4 December 2016

Sudan’s Civil Disobedience, a model for political change


by Mahmoud A. Suleiman

According to Gene Sharp of Albert Einstein Institution in his masterpiece book from Dictatorship to Democracy, he quoted Civil Disobedience among the 198 Methods of Nonviolent Actions. The details of this documented in volume two of The Politics of Nonviolent Action as the Action number 141 under title of. Civil disobedience of “illegitimate” laws. http://www.aeinstein.org/nonviolentaction/198-methods-of-nonviolent-action/

Al Jazeera News reported that the people in Sudan are protesting against unprecedented price hikes and fuel subsidy cuts and questioned as to whether their civil disobedience would work?
Will civil disobedience work in Sudan? http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2016/11/civil-disobedience-work-sudan-161130180708687.html

Al Jazeera quoted a human rights activist in Sudan as saying, "Everything is bad," while describing life in the country. Furthermore, it added saying that President Omar al-Bashir has raised fuel prices across the country to curb inflation. Medicine and electricity costs have been on the rise for the past few years and people say they are fed up. Many have launched a civil disobedience campaign. Most of Sudan’s opposition parties have supported the civil disobedience protest, demanding President Omer al-Bashir to step down. Nevertheless, the government has responded by arresting more than a dozen activists and shutting down local media. Neighbourhoods across the capital Khartoum and other cities were said to be quiet as people boycotted shops and schools. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2016/11/civil-disobedience-work-sudan-161130180708687.html

Many political analysts considered the success of the three-day Sunday 27 November -30, November 2016 Civil Disobedience will motivate the Sudanese people to participate in further steps against this tyrannical genocidal regime that has ruined the country and impoverished and killed its citizens.

The success of civil disobedience of the Sudanese people is shown by refusal of the public to listen to the calls of security device of the NCP regime. The so-called National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) tried calling for trickery on the citizens to come out of their homes to protest with a hidden intention to open fire at them in the pattern of shoot to kill as happened in September 2013 uprising when the government allied militias and snipers of the regime killed more than 200 people in cold blood. This time the regime failed to fail the acumen of the Sudanese people.

Smartphone success
Smart mobile phone has been the game changer by using social media of twitter, face book, viber, WhatsApp and so on making the way for the anonymous youth to make Civil Disobedience a success!
Civil disobedience has many faces and multiple means of configuration and persuasion and implementation. According to Gene Sharp’s book, From Dictatorship to Democracy peaceful overthrow of repressive regimes involves the following:
• Strike action
• Stopping work performance for those who were forced to attend
• Sit at home and never go out unless necessary
• Raise of symbolic slogans of resistance
• Awareness leaflets
• Writing in the Newspapers, if possible
• Data distribution
• Solidarity with the parties resisting peacefully
• Talk through the means of social communication - Talk via social media
• Publish videos in the same media containing songs, poems or sayings
• Raising flages indicating resistance without violence of the totalitarian regime
• Upload pictures symbolizing resistance, such as images of the martyrs
• Issuing statements of parallel bodies of the organisations

In this widow of opportunity, we salute the young people of our Great nation of Sudan, which the National Congress Party (NCP) regime elements tried over the lean years of their rule to dwarf this giant country by the old outmoded obsolete tactics. We salute those who took civil disobedience logo to the ground, and scored a success, which i s unparalleled by what all political groups did throughout period of the 27 years of the rule of tyrant Omer al-Bashir and his entourage.

Many of those concerned with the Sudanese cause were worried about the possibility of entering the country Sudan into chaos in the event of a vacuum in the absence of a ready ruling power especially when the regime of Omar al-Bashir is ousted .And among those concerned is Ustaz Suliman Baldo, the Senior Policy Advisor to the Enough Project worried and said in his argument in the article with concern about the fate of Sudan in the event of a sudden collapse of the State of Sudan, due to one of the three factors. Moreover, he thought the cumulative effects of the war of attrition, the economic crisis or in the event of a health crisis that would suddenly remove President Omer al-Bashir from effective control in the absence of clear succession plan, given the deep structural damage that 27 years of the NCP regime had inflicted on the country. Baldo worried and pessimistically thought there is lack of preparation for an orderly transition would spell further destabilization for Sudan. In other words, Mr. Baldo seems of the opinion that he sees no alternative to rule Sudan in the event of sudden vacuum due to absence of the ruling regime of the NCP. It is unfortunate that the dialectic of the lack of an alternative to the rule of Sudan after the unexpected demise of the regime of the NCP firmly held by NIF/NCP elements remained prevalent amid other Sudanese intellectuals. This concept stems from the successive regimes ruled Sudan since independence in order to make the ruling Sudan as a monopoly and something privately owned and exclusively for the elite political class, the ethnic roots of which either from the centre in Khartoum or from the Northern Nilotic Sudan. In Sudan, we are sick and tired of the phrase "Alternative" / Democratic Alternative. This phrase remained to be repeated now again and again by political elites to intimidate others from stepping forward for the leadership of the country called Sudan. Furthermore, we the Sudanese also tired of another phrase referred to as “national figures” to fill the political functions of sovereignty. Such trickery takes place while there are members of the general Sudanese public qualified or more efficient for to take over the leadership of Sudan.

The talk about possibly feared destabilization for Sudan in case of a collapse of the regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) led by the genocidal criminal, fugitive from the international justice Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir is nothing but a scaremongering. In fact, that the causes of the collapse and fall factors for the (NCP)/(NIF) and its toppling remained embedded in the depth of the ruling regime since the fateful coming 27 lean years ago through military coup d’état on the night of 30th June 1989.

We can say boldly that the reasons for the success of a transitional government which would come after the overthrow and the demise of the ruling regime of the NCP are available and known for those at the distant and the proximal ones. Furthermore, Transitional Government.

This claim does not come from a vacuum, because this regime was part of the regime of Muhammad Jaafar of Nimeiri, so- called the May 25 revolution. The then National Islamic Front (NIF), which is the predecessor for both the nonpartisan National Congress Party (NCP) and the Popular Congress Party (PCP) , was staunch supporter and partner for the dictatorship of Nimeiri. Based on the foregoing facts, the Sudanese people and the opposition components both civilian political and armed opposition have taken the lessons from that past and will not be the reason for the failure of the transitional government. The Sudanese political class of the olden times namely National Umma Party (NUP), Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) need to take measures they could to ensure avoiding pugnacity. Pugnaciousness claimed the democratic system in Sudan and opened the doors wide open for three military coups. Military junta regimes carved out 49 years out of the 60 years following independence. Military coups begin by General Ibrahim Abboud in November 17, 1958 and Nimeiri in 25 May 1969 and Omar al-Bashir in June 30, 1989 to date.

Sometimes one of us would say as to how much today is like yesterday or the day before. This being said when people watch on TV screens Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir watching the rally car race in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as if he were preparing for requesting asylum, as did his ilk Jaafer Numeri seeking refuge in Egypt, a copycat example par excellence! Worse, Bashir would not care/give a fig as long as he is in the United Arab Emirates, where his money in the bank and away from the site of civil disobedience and the site of the conflict.

As to whether the civil disobedience a success in Khartoum, the ready steady answer is the it was a great success by all measures. Witnesses and newspaper reporters have recognized the success of Sudanese civil disobedience. The three-day civil strike was 100 per cent successful, thanks to the role-played by the social media and the public response to the civil disobedience calls. Many observers reported that they did not expect the civil disobedience action of the three day to be that successful. It remains to be reiterated that social media played an active role to attract a large response among the citizens in the three towns Sudanese Capital Khartoum.

Martin Luther King, Jr who was one of the pivotal leaders of the American civil rights movement and his efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech is quoted as said” “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/civil-disobedience

Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is an author, columnist and a blogger. His blog is http://thussudan.wordpress.com/

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