Some Sudanese Oppose Idea of Military Council

KHARTOUM/WASHINGTON, (DAN JOSEPH-VOANEWS).- Some demonstrators cheering the fall of Omar al-Bashir in Sudan are condemning the military council set to replace him.

The Sudan Professional Association, a key organizer of the recent protests against al-Bashir, issued a statement rejecting the defense minister's announcement that a transitional, army-led council will rule Sudan for the next two years.

The SPA appealed for a "civilian transitional government" and called on people to continue the sit-in at army headquarters in Khartoum that began Saturday.

People celebrate the end of three decades of autocratic rule by President Omar al-Bashir, in Khartoum, Sudan, April 11, 2019.

Two protesters in Khartoum also objected to the army takeover.

"The army announcement was disappointing," Mohamed Ali told VOA. "Because it didn't fulfill all missions of the revolution, I ask protestors to sit-in in front of army headquarters till the achievement of Sudan's revolution."

Suha Ahmed said protesters will not accept two more years of military rule. "After 30 years of the rule, we'll still be at a sit-in, until our demands are responded to with a transitional civil government, for a free, democratic, stable Sudan," she said.

Professor Hassan Hajji, a political science lecturer at the University of Khartoum, said some opposition groups will refuse any proposal for a military government.

"They need a civilian cabinet to be formed and this would be a transition government that would prepare for the general election," he told VOA Thursday.

He also said Sudan's next rulers will face some major challenges.

"First we have the economy which has deteriorated in the last year or so. This is the main concern now for most of the Sudanese people, how to meet their minimum needs for the families," said Hajji. "The other challenge is... how to bring the military groups in Darfur and in the Nuba Mountains and in the Southern Blue Nile to the peace process. How to maintain peace in Sudan is also another challenge for the coming military rule."

Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region. But Hajji said he doubts the now ex-president will be sent abroad for trial.

"In Sudan, a large number of people, say they want other ways of settling the grievances that took place in the previous era," he told VOA. "Some people are suggesting that we should follow South Africa's path or the Moroccan, or perhaps Truth and Justice [Commission], where people will try to solve this by traditional Sudanese and African means."

Veteran Journalist Becomes South Sudan MP

JARTUM, (JOHN TANZA-VOANEWS).- A veteran South Sudanese journalist says he has joined the SPLM-in Opposition (SPLM-IO) Taban Deng faction to speak out on behalf of the people of Yei River state.

Alfred Taban Lo Gune, who was appointed a member of parliament in South Sudan's Translational National Legislative Assembly earlier this week, said he joined politics to bring about much-needed change for the people of Kajokeji.

He told South Sudan in Focus the country needed courageous leaders like himself in the national assembly to speak up for the people.

"It is my duty to do something about the situation," Taban said, adding that he could not stay aloof while his people were suffering, either in exile or in the bush.

Taban, founder and editor in chief of the privately run Juba Monitor, a daily newspaper, and a former BBC correspondent in Khartoum, said that while he was now a member of the SPLM-IO Taban Deng division, he did recognize factions within the SPLM-IO. "I have been a SPLM member for many, many years, and I still remain SPLM," Taban said.

Taban contended that the SPLM-IO was, at the moment, a unified body.

"The Arusha agreement of 2104 made it very clear that the SPLM is not under the state, so there is no SPLM former detainees, SPLM-IO or SPLM in government. It is now one SPLM," Taban told South Sudan in Focus.

Pact not implemented

Various factions of the SPLM and SPLM-IO have had their own spokespersons for the past several months. Taban said that was the problem in South Sudan.

"Even the peace agreement that we are now quarreling over, it is because the people have not decided to implement it," he said. "Likewise, the Arusha agreement has not been implemented, but it is there."

Taban vowed to continue fighting for the rights of the people of South Sudan, "the rights of journalists and the rights of the oppressed" as a member of parliament.

"In the media here, we were at the mercy of the government, but I still continued to struggle and I'm going to take the same struggle to parliament," Taban said.

On May 29, Taban declined President Salva Kiir's offer to sit on the president's National Dialogue Committee. Taban said he wanted no part in the dialogue steering team unless the president released journalists in prison and ended aggressive acts toward press freedoms in South Sudan.