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Sudan: “Our plans are to end the military coup and remove the armed forces from power” – An Interview

Sudan. Riot Turtle interviewed Karari Resistance Committees Coordination spokesperson Sajida El Mubarak about the ongoing revolt in Sudan.

Image above: Protests in Sudan on January 9, 2022. Image by Wikimomsd. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

Can you tell us something about the situation in Sudan before the October 2021 coup?

Sudan was in a transitional period led by the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) in an agreed power-sharing deal that stated a three years transition with elections scheduled on 2023. Before the October 25 coup, the military was supposed to handover the rule to civilians as declared in the constitutional charter signed by the military and the FFC.

How did people react during the first days after the coup?

Thousands of people demonstrated in the streets capital, Khartoum and in the other cities of Sudan such as Kassala, Sennar, Port Sudan,..etc. A civil disobedience and strike were announced in response to the military takeover. Internet services were shut down and calls were intermittently disrupted; despite that the protesters continued to hold demonstrations against the coup and demanding a civilian rule.

The military regime works together with the Russian state and mercenaries of the Wagner Group. What’s the role of the Russian state in Sudan and can you tell us more about the activities of the Wagner group in Sudan and the African continent?

It’s difficult to tell the extent of their involvement because we live in a dictatorship rule that we don’t have access to such information. But we know for sure that the military coup leaders would do anything to remain in power.

Are the so-called west, the USA, European Union and/or NATO, also playing a role in Sudan?

The international community is represented by the UNITAMS which launched an initiative which that we refused because it uses equity between the military and civilians. We have declared our stance from the military with our clear slogans; no negotiation no partnership no legitimacy to the military under any circumstances. We hope that the international community respect the  aspirations of the Sudanese people who aim for a Sudan of freedom, peace and justice.

The teachers’ strike is playing an important role in the ongoing wave of protests. Are they still on strike and what are their main demands?

The Sudanese Teachers Committee called for a strike as the political and economic situation has been deteriorating. There are massive increases in the costs of living. The STC submitted a memorandum for the ministry of finance including raising the minimum wages to 24,000 pounds and paying using the 2022 salary structure payment. They also organised protests and conferences to raise the public’s awareness about the goals and demands of the strike. Due to the ongoing pressure and all forms of resistance, the two month strike- conceded to achieve one of its main demands which is payment of wages using the 2022 salary structure. The STC announced that the strike is continued until all demands are met and conditions are improved for the teachers.

We have read several statements of Resistance Committees about the escalation of the revolution. Is the power of the resistance still growing?

The Sudanese people are in a revolutionary state since 2019; even during the transitional period protests were held to pressurise on the government to meet the demands and goals of the people in providing democracy and justice which was absent for decades due to the dictatorship rule in Sudan. As the military coup continues to be in power, the resistance power grows and different forms of resistance activities are taking place to overthrow the military coup. Demonstrations, million march rallies, one-day sit ins , establishment of the “People’s Authority charter “ …etc

A group of young protestors Arranging Barricades and burning tires became symbols of the Sudan revolution against the three decades ruler Omer AlBashir. Image was taken in Khartoum ,Sudan, on May 15, 2019. Image by Ola A .Alsheikh. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

There are many Resistance Committees across Sudan. How are they organized and what is their role in the current struggle in Sudan?

There are several resistance Committees with a large variety of members coming from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds united under a horizontally structure. Any group of local RCs in nearby neighbourhoods form coordinating bodies to coordinate, organize and support the resistance activities. The Resistance Committees continue to be a major part of the political scene not only by protesting against the military coup but also by releasing a political charter including  a clear and comprehensive vision of how civilian rule would lead us to the Sudan of democracy and freedom. Eventually, these objectives set the base to the ‘Charter for establishment of People’s Power’ which was released for public in February 2022. The charter expresses our clear stance from the current status quo and reveals our vision for the civilian authority.

What kind of society are the revolutionaries in Sudan exactly fighting for? Of course for the removal of the military regime, the putchists, but can you specify how the sudanese political and social landscape should look like when the military regime will be defeated? Social issues like for instance poverty, health care and people that are being exploited are also a problem in many democracies…

Sudan has been under dictatorship rule for very long years; and lastly being the former-regime lasting for 30 years before it was overthrown by a great revolution in December 2018. Even the previous democracies during the independence of Sudan did not last for a long time. Therefore, the people of Sudan have concluded that any change leading to a democratic and civilian government needs to put an end to the military interference in civilian life. The slogans of the revolution clarifies how we aim for a complete civilian rule based on the priority of Sudanese citizens in their right to access good quality health care and education; and lead to changes in the economy to improve the standards of living and remove the burden of the adopted policies from the individuals.

In the past years there was a wave of revolts across the world. Do you feel connected with the people on the streets in territories like Lebanon, Chile or for instance Syria (before the war in Syria)? Are there any similarities?

Revolutions contribute to changes in the culture, social life, economy and political power. They all vary in their approach but mainly agree on their primary cause which is the widespread frustration with socio-political situation. They all share similar goals in attaining democracy, economic freedom, regime change or human rights. People have the ultimate right to choose what they want!

What are your plans ( of the Resistance Committees) in the coming weeks and months?

Our plans are to end the military coup and remove the armed forces from power. The military should go back to the barracks and the power is to the people. We are working with our partners in Resistance Committees in other states in Sudan to combine the different political charters into a single, united form of declaration expressing the stance of Resistance Committees across Sudan.

A final question. Is there anything you would like to add what we didn’t ask?

I would like to highlight on our stance that clearly expresses the most important objectives we have declared which are: “the 3 No’s”

No partnership, No negotiation, No legitimacy to the military under any circumstances. We want to put an end to the military interference in civilian life. We aim for a civilian authority that leads us to the Sudan of freedom, peace and justice.

 Thank you for your time and this interview.

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