Why Sudanese coup would hurt Juba

Why Sudanese coup would hurt Juba
South Sudan President Salva Kiir (L) and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (photo credit: courtesy)

A South Sudanese civil society activist has said that the Tuesday move by the Sudanese forces to foil an attempted coup, blamed on the remnants of the past regime, was good news to its neighbor, South Sudan.

This is based on the fact that the two countries have renewed ties and the Khartoum administration is supporting South Sudan’s 2018 revitalized peace agreement. 

“You remember that Khartoum gave birth to peace in Juba and Juba was able to do the same to Khartoum,” said Edmund Yakani, Executive Director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO).

Yakani said the revived relationship between South Sudan and Sudan was unavoidable as there are officials who served in the then Sudan and are currently serving in the South Sudan government.

“The attempt to transfer power from one person to another in Sudan through a coup is not acceptable because it will have direct implications on the relationship between South Sudan and Sudan,” Yakani warned.

“One of the direct impacts [to be felt would be on] the security arrangements. You all know that Sudan is the deputy chair in the CTSAMVM and that will affect the Khartoum setup in the peacebuilding on the implementation of the peace agreement,” Yakani said.

The activist stated that any change in Sudan would directly affect the participation of Sudan in the ongoing implementation of the revitalized agreement.

“Secondly, we have the refugees in Sudan [and] whatever is going on in Sudan will affect our refugees that are hosted by Sudan. Then, in terms of peace and stability in the region between South Sudan and Sudan, any instability in Khartoum will automatically have a direct impact on Juba in terms of stability,” he said.

However, Yakani said he wished that the instability in Khartoum would not destabilize Juba and that there was an urgent need for Khartoum to stabilize itself.

“We hope that in this crisis there is no shared game of players between South Sudan and Sudan that may amount to an act of illegal transfer of power through a coup in Sudan.

He again warned individuals against the temptations of meddling in the affairs of the neighboring country.

“We wish that our hands are completely clean from any involvement behind the coup in Sudan because we have officials who are from South Sudan and they are in Sudan,” he said.

Yakani revealed that Sudan has the chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and therefore should quickly consolidate its internal affairs so that it can play its role in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.

He said what happened on Tuesday in Khartoum was a question mark towards the roles of IGAD in transforming the issues of governance in the region.

Yakani said in 2019 Sudan had a power transfer through popular uprising by the citizens which he said was later taken up by the current team.

“So, the current team is now under attack by the coup that wants to overthrow the current government. The citizens in Khartoum are discontented with the current government in terms of provision of services and that is the thing that Juba should learn out of it that governance is something essential to the citizens,” Yakani said.

Civilians blamed

Meanwhile, Sudanese military leaders on Wednesday blamed the civilian politicians they share power with for opening the door to a coup attempt by neglecting public welfare while they were consumed by internal squabbles.

The statement comes a day after the military in Khartoum foiled a coup to take over power from the Sudan Sovereign Council.

Military authorities said on Monday they had detained 21 officers who had attempted to take power in the early hours of the day. The threat appeared to have escalated the tensions between the partners.

Speaking at military graduation in Omdurman, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sovereign Council, and his deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo accused the civilian politicians of seeking personal gains and forgetting the aims of the revolution.

“The politicians gave an opportunity for the coup because they neglected the citizen and his livelihood and basic services and were occupied with fighting over seats and divvying up positions,” Dagalo said.

After the coup attempt, civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok had reiterated calls to restructure the military and bring its business interests under civilian oversight, a key source of dispute, in a speech that did not emphasize military-civilian unity as he has done previously.

Political parties called on citizens to reject military rule and protect the revolution. Burhan called such statements “unacceptable”.

“Who should they rise to protect the revolution against? From us, the military? We are the ones who are protecting it from them, the ones who want to steal it.”

Burhan said the military was the group most interested in the transition to democracy and elections, scheduled for early 2024.

“They are occupied with fighting and yelling and are directing all their arrows at us,” he said.

Both men said they felt their forces were unappreciated.

“The military is met with humiliation and insults day and night, so how can there not be coups,” said Dagalo.

The Sovereign Council in Khartoum has ruled Sudan under a fragile power-sharing deal between the military and civilians since the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir in 2019 but their relationship has remained fractious since then.

[Reuters contributed to this news report]