By Elizabeth Chukwuma
With the downturn in the economy of many African countries, there are fears of a contagious effect of Coup de’tat that occured in Sudan which facilitated the overthrow of the government of Omar Al-Barshir, by the Army in Sudan , today (Thursday, April 11, 2019) in other African countries.
In announcing the overthrow of the former President, Awad Ibnouf, the minister of Defense , who has been having a running battle with President Bashir, over h his policies said a ”transitional military council, TMC, would replace Bashir for two years. As usual with all military coups, the cupists had suspended the country’s Constitution, dissolved the Cabinet , declared a state of emergency in the country in the country for the bextthree months , an indication of the return of the military back to power in the country.
. It was quickly followed with the closure of the country;s land Borders with other neighbouring countries . This is in addition to the closure of the airspace until further notice to forestall Commercial flights from coming in or going outside the country . Airline operators whose flights were caught up in the wake of the Coup were forced to land in neighbouring Southern Sudan or other neighbouring countries as they were not allowed to land in Khartoun.
Given out further information about the coup, Ibnouf, the minister of Defence said the former President has been detained in a ”secure place”. Perhaps to win the support of the political class, the Coupists had announced the freeing of all political prisoners under the regime of the former President. It was welcome relief to them as they threw their weight behind the country new leaders.
Trouble was said to have started for then President Bashir, last December, when he gave Presidential approval for the price of bread ,a amajor staple food in the country , to be tripled beyond the reach of ordinary Sudanese. The situation was so bad that the people mobbilised to protest against the increase to force the government to reverse the decision. But the government had responded with a crackdown on the protesters. .
Perhaps to force the protessters into sublic and abandon their sit-in protest, the government banned public gathering, thus making it an offence to protest. It also granted sweeping powers to the police to deal with protesters. Armed with such sweeping powers, the trigger-hungry security operatives moved against the people using tear gas and shooting into the crowd. Note that Sudanese protesters had paralysed economic and social activities in the country for the past four months by months .
Ibnouf and his his cohorts, may have taken advantage of the nation -wide protest and unpopularity of the government of Bashir to strike. He may have taken all the precautionary measures to avoid a counter coup by the former President’s loyalists in the Army by deploying Army vehicles carrying troops across the centre of Khartoun and other major cities in the country to protect the protesters. The Sudanese military loyalists were said to have raided the offices of the Islamic Movement , the Ideological wing of the former President’s ruling National Congress Party, NCP. The coupists may have feared that the Islamic Movement could mobilise their followers to work against the new regime which might lead to a counter coup as a religious body.
The popularity of the coup is evident going by the way the Army watched scores of protesters , climbed on top of landcruisers and Armoured vehicles that had been posted to protect them from intervenist forces and other security agencies personnel who were loyal to Bashir
Prior to the military intervention, Tens of thousands of the Sudanese had converged throughout the day at the protest movement’s main sit -in outside the military’s General Command Headquarters , cheering an, singing and dancing , until information filtered out this morning that the dictator, called Bashir, has finally been removed from office.
The people could not hide their feeling over the military take over as they shouted with joy: the ”oppressive regime has fallen”. But the protest leaders appear not take take chances as they were said to have sent a signal to the military leaders that they would not accept a full blown military regime , or they would continue their sit -in and rallies . The leader of the protesters were said to have made it clear to the Cupists that what they want is a” Civilian body controlled transition”. This may be difficult for Ibnouf, the former Defense minister to accept as he would want to test power in Sudan also.
Recall,that the Opposition political leaders in the country had invited the military to step in to save the situation from degenerating by forming a ”transitional government.
Bashir came to power in 1989 and had ruled the country over an uninterupted thirty years. He is described in political circles one of the oldest Presidents still attending the African Union, AU, Heads of State and Government meetings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
It was not surprising why the people were very happy at his fall. This is a lesson to other sit- tight African leaders who pursue unpopular policies to have at the back of their mind there is a limit to suffering as people’s power could force them out of office through mass protest.
He becomes the second African leader to be swept out of office through people’s protes in the last one montht. The first was Addelaziz Bouuteflika, the President of Algeria who bowed out of office due to mass protest as the Army stepped in forcing him to resign to avoid throwing the country into Country into Constititsutiional crisis after 20 years rule.
The Coupists were led by Awad Ibnouf, the country’s minister of Defence. ”I announce as minister of Defence the toppling of the regime and detaining its Chief in a secure place”, Ibnouf had said.
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