Sudan: ‘We are still struggling with the deep state’

Middle East Solidarity spoke to Dr Sara Abdelgalil, president of the Sudan Doctors’ Union, UK branch, about the ongoing struggle for peace, freedom and justice following the signing of an agreement for a transition to a civilian government earlier this year.

Does the agreement over the government during the transitional period meet the demands of the revolution? 

The new government at the moment, which is the Executive Council, is civilian-led, and its members were appointed on the basis of their commitment towards the rebuilding and reconstruction of Sudan. The main issue is that the Transitional Military Council (TMC), rather than handing over power insisted on sharing the power, therefore the State Council is 50/50 in the first 21 months, with the military leading the council. This is the main worry, and it doesn’t reflect what the Forces of Freedom and Change called for and it is not part of the declaration of Freedom and Change, but it is what was agreed on in order for the civilian-led government to start.

What are your areas of concern with the agreement? 

The main concern is in relation to the State Council, that has 50 percent members from the TMC. The other concern is whether transitional justice will be achieved, and whether we will be able to go ahead with establishing the people’s parliament, the Legislative Council, which is delayed at the moment awaiting the peace resolution.

People are still mobilising in the streets and workplaces, what kind of demands are they raising? 

On 21 October there was a call for a protest – people were calling for the dismantling and demolishing of the National Congress Party, ending the deep state, moving on to a civilian-led government and establishing the basics for achieving transitional justice and anti-corruption legislation.

Is the campaign still ongoing for justice for those killed by the RSF and police during the massacre on 3 June?

Yes the campaign is still ongoing, we have to continue with the fight for transitional justice and the investigation. This means preventing members of the TMC from claiming immunity: they should be subjected to investigation and the rule of law, including paying the penalty if they are convicted.

How will the popular movement take forward the struggle to root out the old regime? 

At the moment we are struggling with the deep state. There is a review of the structures at all levels across ministries, organisations and institutes. People have to be very vigilant, unity has to continue, working solely as political parties or civil society or unions will not be successful. There is another big struggle which is the fight for the return of the legitimate trade unions and their constitutions, as well as changing the unions’ registrar who was appointed by Omar el-Bashir. So there is a lot of work to be done, and it has to be done together.

General Abdelfattah al Burhan, head of the Transitional Military Council  and new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok recently visited Saudi Arabia and UAE – do you foresee any dangers or problems in relying on the support of the Gulf states to rebuild Sudan’s economy and create conditions for democratic rule? 

We do not want to go back to borrowing money and making promises to achieve other regimes’ mandates. We would like to be independent, we want any relationship to be in the interests of the people of Sudan, first and foremost. We all know the role that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have played to crack down on the revolution and we have to be very vigilant and monitor such visits and make sure on which terms they are going to help Sudan.

Read more: ‘The regime interfered with every aspect of university life’ by Dr Iman Hamza

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