Academics back revolutionary charter to end military rule

Sudanese universities and academics are supporting a Revolutionary Charter for Establishing People’s Power (RCEPP), which calls for civilian oversight of the army, police and security agencies.

Prepared by the pro-democracy movement called Sudan’s Resistance Committees, a 28-page political blueprint was unveiled on 5 October for the resumption of the country’s democratic transition, which was derailed when the military seized power on 25 October 2021, which halted a power-sharing arrangement between the military and civilians that had been agreed on after former president Omar al-Bashir’s overthrow in April 2019 and was meant to lead to democratic elections by late 2023.

RCEPP stated that the army, along with the police, security and intelligence agencies, must be placed under civilian oversight and subjected to restructuring supervised by the executive, the judiciary and legislature. RCEPP envisions no active political role for the military in the transitional period and beyond.

Besides proposing a “revolutionary” legislature of 2,398 members to be in temporary political control immediately after the military steps down, RCEPP has provisions for a transitional legislature, a mechanism for drafting a constitution and a transitional government which includes a ministry for higher education and scientific research along with prioritising spending in favour of the education sector, among others.

RCEPP also called for developing of curricula that reflect the diverse Sudanese civilisation and culture and enhance confidence and pride in the Sudanese identity to protect the Sudanese culture along with reviewing and abolishing Sudanese laws, educational systems, curricula and all related institutions that are devoted to discrimination, inferiority and self-alienation.

At the launch event, Sudan’s resistance committees called on other pro-democracy groups to rally behind it.

Support from the academic community

The Association of Sudanese Professors at Universities, Faculties and Higher Institutions issued a statement on 5 October welcoming the RCEPP.

“Now, it is our turn to preach and spread it among all the social forces that have an interest in change. Walk, and we are with you shoulder to shoulder; we will broadcast it in classrooms, streets and fields,” the association said.

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA) issued a statement on 5 October saying: “Let us declare and write a new history in which we are confident, and unite together towards completing the goals of the revolution, establishing institutions of civil governance, achieving the aspirations of the Sudanese people for freedom, peace and justice as well as … in establishing an authority of the people.”

The SPA is an umbrella group of independent professional unions, including doctors, engineers, teachers and lawyers as well as the academic staff association, which led to nationwide demonstrations against al-Bashir’s rule from December 2018 until his removal from power in April 2019.

The Sudanese Agriculture Association, an SPA member, issued a statement on 6 October describing the charter as a “milestone”.

Also, the Alliance of Forces for Radical Change (AFRC) issued a statement saying: “RCEPP has laid the cornerstone for building a new and deep political practice, stemming from the rules and expanding within the capacity of our country.”

AFRC consists of various mass organisations and trade unions, most notably SPA and the Sudanese Women’s Union, which includes academics.

The Alliance of Professors at Bahri University issued a statement on 4 October, saying: “We see in RCEPP a national step, and the seed for a great work that ends the country’s crises related to politics, society and identity.” It called on civil society to consider the charter and contribute to it to ensure its inclusiveness.

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