By Salah Shuaib
The overwhelming desire to change the miserable situations created by the Islamic regime in Sudan should not make us forget the necessity of planning for a firm democratic transition, which some expect to happen soon. One of the biggest obstacles that ended the consolidation of change after the success of the October 1964 and April 1985 revolutions was the narrow, personal and partisan agendas that prevailed then over the national ones.
Indeed, in the aftermath of the fall of these aggressive military dictatorships, our political elites focused on inheriting the two regimes’ governmental assets and positions without thinking about reviewing the structure of the state itself, and subsequently these acts had clearly contributed to undermining the October and April democratic processes.
Since democratic politicians sank, during the democratic processes, in reliance on election outcomes as a means to control and then monopolize the achievement of their raw programs, major political mistakes emerged to pave the way for military officers, with an ideological background, to retake power.
Most of the Sudanese influential politicians assume that societal reform could only be achieved through political tools or procedures, such as creating a new democratic order, parties, newspapers, an election committee, and institutions that deal with judicial, executive and legislative issues. However, the real reform of the country’s historically miserable situations would be essentially achieved through cultural, enlightening and educational policies.
In analyzing Sudanese politicians’ discourses and behaviors, one, unfortunately, would notice that they neglect, or not realize if you will, the contributions the democratic figures had historically provided to reform Sudan with enlightened works during the democratic and authoritarian periods alike.
There are significant and magnificent legacies of a number of national reformers who have played a better role compared to top political leaders to bring us to this stage of enlightenment, in which we are now aware of the meaning of freedom and democracy, and how we should consider adopting a just and workable reform.
In fact, those national figures who have introduced enlightenment helped the country’s activists now have a national sense that will inevitably make Sudan recover. Such a national sense is due to the enormous sacrifices made by democratic elites in the whole spaces of enlightenment, and it is not made by those initiating political thought only.
To be sure, the political schemes applied by Sudan’s military regimes and democratic governments were responsible for the great tragedies that befell the country. Undoubtedly, political mistakes may vary among Sudan’s national and ideological components, and military plots may still coincide with each other regarding their policies or acts against democratic transparency across this party or that party, but democratic contributors in the fields of enlightenment, media, and arts have consistently been - during promising and frustrating moments – accumulating tremendous efforts to educate the Sudanese people on the importance of achieving democratic governance.
The current efforts that the country witnesses to change the brutal, Islamic regime have to be associated with intellectual insights of how the coming transitional period can learn from the past mistakes, which included ignoring the restructuring of the state methodologically, culturally and administratively, linking religion with the state, and insisting on isolating multiculturalism from various national activities.
I believe that changing the brutal regime in Sudan, without changing the structure of the state that has helped the country’s dictators to produce such egregious massacres, will not end the governance crisis of the country.
The writer is a Sudanese journalist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org