“We Are In The Next Phase Of The Struggle”
Above Photo: Activist and journalist Ahmed Kaballo and his father Dr. Sidgi Kaballo. Taken from Ahmed Kaballo’s Twitter account.
Activist and journalist Ahmed Kaballo spoke to EL UNIVERSAL in English to address the current political situation in the northeastern African country
The negotiations between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the opposition in Sudan—interrupted after the crackdown on protests in Khartoum on June 3—will resume towards the establishment of a civilian government, said activist and journalist Ahmed Kaballo.
“For many of us involved in the revolution, this is stage two and we are certainly in the next phase of the struggle,” he remarked.
Born in Leeds, England, from a family of Sudanese origin—his father, Dr. Sidgi Kaballo, is a member of the Central Committee of the Sudanese Communist Party,—Kaballo spoke to EL UNIVERSAL in English to address the current political situation in the northeastern African country.
He stressed that at least a three-year transition period and an independent investigation into the killings of June 3 are needed before a free and fair election can be held, in order to avoid the reinvention of the deep state.
What is your opinion about Sudan’s prospects after the fall of President Omar al-Bashir and the repression launched against the opposition movement in Khartoum?
Ahmed Kaballo (AK): Of course, the actions of the so-called Transitional Military Council have caused anxiety amongst the Sudanese citizens and the Sudanese diaspora. My relatives in Sudan are visibly frightened but we have to be optimistic. We got rid of Omar al-Bashir after 30 years and e was possibly even more ruthless and brutal than the leaders of the TMC who are now in charge. Thus,
for many of us involved in the revolution, this is stage two, and in Sudan, there was never any illusion that the battle was won and over when Bashir resigned and we are certainly in the next phase of the struggle.
It is still possible the negotiation between the TMC and the main opposition groups represented by the Sudanese Professional Association, in order to establish a transition towards a democratic, civilian government?
AK: Ultimately negotiations will resume, I am sure of that. However, it’s important that none of the previous agreements are compromised. There needs to be at least a three-year transition period, a civilian-appointed Cabinet, and a civilian-majority legislative body. Moreover, and this is key, there needs to be an independent investigation into the killings and the TMC cannot be part of that
process as their own investigation shows signs of a whitewash attempt to blame low-ranking officers when clearly it came from the top.
There cannot be true and sustainable peace in Sudan without justice for the martyrs killed. Otherwise, it will seem nothing has changed. As things stand the protesters have the upper hand because of the international attention and pressure is on the TMC after the killings, people on social media have en mass being turning the prole pictures blue in solidarity with Sudan, the African Union has suspended Sudan and the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom have been forced to put out statements condemning the violence.
What are the problems that the Sudanese democratic opposition is facing in order to create a united front? Do you agree with observers arguing that the opposition lacks a clear leadership?
AK: The protest movement may have its divisions like all coalitions of people have, but they are united in their aims and objectives and they have a clear understanding of the obstacles that will prevent a true transition to democracy. For example, the reason they asked for the 3-year minimum transition model is that they want to learn from the mistakes of the Egyptian revolution where an election was
held too soon and the deep state reinvented self to take back power in two years.
In Sudan, it’s clear that can’t happen and you need time before a free and fair election can be held. Secondly, in Sudan, we have a history of peaceful revolutions—it is in the collective consciousness of the people. We had a peaceful protest in 1964 and 1985 and we have seen in neighboring countries how dangerous it can be when the protests are not peaceful and when protesters lobby for western military intervention.
There is a concerted effort to keep the protests peaceful and ensure that western powers remain at arm’s length, we only ask them to put pressure on their allies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt to stop facilitating the brutal crackdown on unarmed protesters.
Is there a risk of internal feuds in the TMC, composed by high ocers from the Rapid Support Forces, the regular Sudanese army, and the National Intelligence and Security Service?
AK: There could be a division between the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned members of the TMC, the the TMC who basically instigated the coup against Bashir. At the moment the Brotherhood is weak and appear to be waiting for their moment to try and regain power.