Unpicking Sudan’s Revolutionary Upheavals

On 22 June ROAPE hosted a webinar on Sudan’s revolutionary upheavals. There was a wide-ranging discussion on the revolutionary struggles in the country, and the current efforts of the transitional government. The full video of the e-meeting is now available.

Just over one year ago, Sudan’s revolutionary movement silenced its nay-sayers and successfully brought down the 30-year regime of Omar-al-Bashir. Sudan’s revolution matters to people all over the world. Its movement overcame intense state repression and defied all expectations from outside. And it seemed to succeed, offering inspiration to a whole generation of young people frustrated by the direction global politics was blowing across the world.

The new transitional government, led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, was immediately confronted with high expectations and immense challenges. It needed to somehow resolve ongoing conflicts and bring justice to the many victims of state violence, and to restructure its economy in ways that would deliver real economic change to its people. These challenges have only been compounded by the current global health and economic crisis, which has de-prioritised Sudan’s political transition within the eyes of some of its most important external relations.

Since last year the transitional government has maintained the same approach that Bashir had pursued with such brutal indifference, yet with a new language. So, the transitional authority has repackaged the ancien regimes prescriptions into the language of international development. We have seen food staples like bread and fuel having their subsidies slowly phased out while means-tested cash-transfers for poor families advocated by the World Food Programme (WFP) are being implemented in the second half of this year.

Though demonstrations and protest continue to face a crackdown. Protests on 30 June were called by the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, and the Resistance Committees, both organisations that were active in the movement against al-Bashir and the generals who imposed themselves on Sudanese society after Bashir had been deposed. The demonstrations were called to demand a ‘speeding up’ of the reforms, and to urge further and more radical action (including open trials of al-Bashir and his cronies). Banners on the protest repeated the slogan of the revolution against Bashir: ‘Freedom, Peace and Justice.’ Still urgent needs of the renewed struggle.

For the webinar, we had four speakers:

Salma Abdalla is a political scientist whose research focuses on the relationship between religion, politics and violence. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Norwegian University of Life Sciences working on research project examining ideological and religious motivations that lead youth to join violent extremism. 

Magdi el Gizouli is a researcher and fellow of the Rift Valley Institute who writes regularly on Sudanese affairs, often on his blog StillSUDAN and for roape.net.

Kholood Khair is a British-Sudanese political commentator and managing partner of Insight Strategy Partners, a think-and-do tank based in Khartoum. Through her current work, she has been working on supporting state and nation-building efforts through the transition period. 

Zuhair Bashar (PhD) is a freelance researcher and consultant with extensive experience in conflict resolution and reconciliation at the grassroots level and regional initiatives.

Featured Photograph: Despite the lockdown tens of thousands protest for a deeper and more thorough-going move towards democracy in Sudan (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah, 30 June 2020).


  1. Dear Dr. Mann
    It would have been more useful for the discussion had the speakers been representatives from different geographical regions of Sudan, including from war-torn and marginalized regions, i.e. Darfur, South Kordofan, and the Nuba Mountains. The role of people in these areas is important in building peace and contributing to the political transformation of Sudan despite the fact that they are most affected by the economic crisis and the deteriorating health infrastructure. These people are most concerned with transitional justice, sustainable peace, and sustainable livelihoods, and they are the main pillars of Sudan’s transition and transformation into a democratic country advanced in its economic growth and social reintegration. People from these areas don’t want to see themselves behind the scenes while others are speaking on their behalf wherever they go!
    Thank you


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