ATBARA -RISING PRICE ISSUE
17, Apr 2019
Prelims level : International Mains level : GS-II (Important aspects of governance, transparency and IR)
Why in news:
- Protests broke out in Atbara in north eastern Sudan over rising prices of bread.
- President Omar al-Bashir, who captured power through a bloodless coup in 1989, first
- called the protesters “rats” and then declared a state of emergency. Dozens were killed. When none of these measures quelled public anger, Mr. Bashir sacked the Health Minister and the Prime Minister, and promised reforms.
- But the protests, led by the Sudanese Professionals Association, a new group, grew in strength. As protests reached the army headquarters, the military high command stepped in, deposing Mr. Bashir on April 11 and announcing a transitional government led by the military council.
- But even the fall of Mr. Bashir failed to calm the streets as protesters wanted “a revolution”. Over three decades, Mr. Bashir and his military clique had used several tactics, from aligning with Islamists and banning political parties to suppressing dissent and unleashing paramilitaries against defiant regions, to stay in power.
- But the recent economic crisis, especially after South Sudan split away with three-fourths of
- the oilfields, broke the regime’s back.
- The army seems to have realised it is facing the greatest challenge to its power in three decades. It has already made several concessions. Soon after Mr. Bashir was deposed, Awad Ibn Ouf, the chosen head of the military council, also stepped down. The much- feared intelligence chief, Salah Gosh, was fired.
- The new military ruler, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has ordered lifting of the curfew and freeing of political prisoners. But the problem is that the army is not ready to give up control. Its plan to be in charge for at least two years has made the protesters wary.
- They are afraid that the army, given its track record, will try to retain its grip on power through some means or the other
- . This is the current stalemate – the protesters want a break with the past while the army
- doesn’t want to give up its privileges.
- This conflict was visible in neighbouring countries where dictators fell amid public protests. In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak resigned as President in 2011, but the military never gave up its privileges. In two years, it was back in power through a coup. In Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down as President this month, but the army has retained power; protests still continue in the country. The Sudanese protesters say they want an orderly transition under a civilian government.
- It’s time to replace the oppressive regime he built, with a much more inclusive, responsive and democratic civilian government.
- Sudan shares its expansive border with seven countries: Egypt, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Libya. Sudan is a country located in Northern Africa bordering the Red Sea. The geography of Sudan is generally flat with mountains in the east and west and annual flooding in the south due to the Nile River system.