With more than four months gone since the putsch by the military in Sudan pressure on the rulers to go back and engage in a political process is mounting.
The so-called Friends of Sudan group of nations on March 3 published a statement on the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) report. UNITAMS reported on the consultations it held with Sudanese stakeholders about a possible way forward and out of the stalemate.
It cited the unwavering commitment of civil society groups to finding a way back to a democratic and peaceful Sudan and mentioned a number of key findings which the groups had rallied around. Number one priority for the participants in the consultation process was the installation of a transitional cabinet of civilian technocrats. Also, they urge a reduction in size and powers of the transitional sovereign council, a body that had become synonymous with conflict over how to proceed between civilians and military representatives.
Free and Fair Elections
The civil society groups also want a civilian transitional parliament as well as an electoral body capable of delivering free and fair elections. Other areas of agreement include the need for the establishment of judicial accountability and the equitable inclusion of women in the political process and its institutions.
At this time of political tension, it is important to note the will of civil society to keep the process Sudan-led and not to pass responsibility to some outside actor. The Friends of Sudan said in their statement that they welcomed the commitment of UNITAMS, the African Union, the League of Arab States and Inter-Governmental Authority on Development to support the process.
The UNITAMS report stated that there was consensus on the need to stop the violence and killings, and to lift the state of emergency and to uphold the right to free expression and assembly. “The Friends of Sudan call on all relevant Sudanese stakeholders to engage in the next phase of a political process to resolve the political crisis in Sudan.