Sudan’s Military Rulers Refuse to Allow a Civilian Majority on Transitional Council

Photo credits: AFP

Persistent protesting, political disagreements, and a wide range of other communal uncertainties continue to rule the day in Sudan.

Military rulers who seized power since the recent fall of former Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir express a strong desire to maintain control. Lt Gen Salah Abdelkhalek, a ranking Sudanese military official, told BBC News in a recent interview that Sudan’s transitional military government does not want a ruling civilian majority officiating the nation’s supreme council.

The supreme council will assume a complex role at this particular juncture. As the nation takes its next steps towards governance after the end of Al-Bashir’s highly controversial 30-year rule, the supreme council’s job will involve managing the appeasement of different warring factions of Sudan’s power structure.

However, the military rulers who have taken over the country disagree with the demands coming from protesters. Different Sudanese opposition groups have clearly stated that they reject the two-year timetable military leaders have proposed for handing over control to a legitimate government body.

Opposition groups have also said they want to see civilians with a majority of the seats on the forthcoming supreme council. But Lt Gen Abdelkhalek said in his BBC interview that his interim government leaders and military comrades may consider a 50/50 split between military and civilian rulers.

“[This supreme council issue] is a red line. Maybe half and half,” the military officer told BBC.

An influential Sudanese opposition bloc called the The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) sent the military rulers a draft constitution archive this past week. However, the seven-member ruling Sudanese military council did not respond to the constitutional proposal sent by the DFCF.

The military rulers biggest fear is that Sudan will descend into a downward spiral that will wreck national security if they have little to no control of the government. However, world history has shown in many cases time and again that chaos ensues when military or civilian rule is overthrown.

Before Al-Bashir took power in 1989,  Sudan’s former civilian Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi faced turmoil. The Al-Bahsir and Al-Mahdi eras both existed during Sudan’s second catastrophic civil war, which claimed the lives of millions.