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Can Upspring in Sudan End al-Bashir’s Autocratic Rule?

Last updated on February 4th, 2019

The embalming autocratic reign of the Sudanese President, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has ruled the country for 3 decades, and has seen at least 45 people being killed by security forces, is facing peaceful protest to leave his throne.

The protests started in mid-December in Atbara, a city in River Nile state, as a reaction to the rising prices after al-Bashir decided to end fuel, and wheat subsidies. The move was recommended by International Monetary Fund (IMF).

At the time when uprisings began, inflation in Sudan was recorded at 72.94%, second highest in the world after Venezuela.

Al-Bashir and his government blamed inflation and the falling economic status on the United States sanctions since 1997. However, after the US removed sanctions in 2017, the conditions did not improve instead further deteriorated.

The government accepted the IMF’s advice to remove wheat and fuel subsidies and devalue the Sudanese pound. However, the impact of the move was largely felt by the poor, especially as the government earlier failed to implement the IMF’s other recommendations to use the funds from the African Development, and World Bank to support the poor families.

The nation’s economy has already seen the loss of 75% of its oil revenue, with the severance of South Sudan. The budget that the nation remains in charge of is mostly spent on the military and security sector. In 2018, only 3% of the total budget was allotted for education and lesser for the health sector. Over and above all, is the widespread corruption, adding salt into the wounds.

In an attempt to end the brutal reign of the President people have begun peaceful protests to protect the falling economy. The uprise is duly supported by the Sudanese Professional Association, under which the doctors, engineers, and university professors have come together. They are further supported by Sudan’s Call, the largest opposition bloc, the National Consensus Forces Alliance, another major opposition group, that even asked its members to join the protests in their ode to abdicate Bashir.

Though al-Bashir has firm control over the proceedings in his country, but the protesters are not willing to take no for an answer. People have broken all the barriers and are reportedly also confronting religious, leaders and institutions that deem the move as unethical.

Religious leaders who support Bashir’s doctrine have also tried to magnetize people during the Friday sermons., However, the devotees have responded by protesting inside the mosque instead.

The protests inside the mosque have sent a strong message to religious leaders that people are not willing to tolerate any nuisance now. The gambit looks really strong at this time, and with the protests continuing despite major efforts to stop it, Sudan is certainly moving ahead to restore the real meaning of democracy.

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