By Prince Kurupati
Everyone closely following the current ongoings in Sudan has at one point or another come across the words ‘civil disobedience’. Generally, speaking, when citizens are against the government, they take to the streets to demonstrate often leading to (inevitable) clashes between them and the government forces. To ensure that this does not happen in Sudan, protest leaders in Sudan have come up with what they call civil disobedience, a new form of protesting.
What really is civil disobedience and how does it pan out in the real world
When one starts to talk about a protest without violence, the notion of values and idealism come of the fore. This inspired by the simple ‘fact’ that its difficult to fathom a scenario in which thousands of people take to the streets but not a single one of them steps over the line. Against this background though, let’s get to understand how Sudan’s civil disobedience has been planned.
Civil disobedience according to the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the protest leaders is a peaceful act capable of bringing to its knees the most powerful weapons arsenal in the world. From this, therefore, we note that there is an absence of violence.
Civil disobedience can be equated to Mohandas K. Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance. According to Gandhi nonviolent resistance meant placing one’s own body in harm’s way, open to the possibility of injury, imprisonment or even death. And that is what made it such a powerful political tool.
Taking a cue from Gandhi therefore, SPA wants its members (protesters) to stay indoors but when they find themselves in need of moving out, they need not engage or confront government forces. If they come in the line of fire, they need not run but instead place their bodies in harm’s way.
While SPA does not explicitly spell out how civil disobedience will bring ‘the most powerful weapons arsenal in the world’ to their knees, it can be argued that civil disobedience is a mind game meant at destabilizing the opponent psychologically.
Why Civil Disobedience
SPA has just one reason to support its decision to engage in civil disobedience i.e. it wants Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) to relinquish power and hand over to a civilian government.
When will it stop?
In a statement, SPA said “The civil disobedience movement will… end only when a civilian government announces itself in power on state television.”
What political actors say concerning civil disobedience’s outcome?
Waleed Madibo, from the Sudan Policy Forum, says “By using violence as an imperative, it [the military] left the civic society no option but to go through with civil disobedience. They’re already rounding up political dissidents, they started assassinating leaders of the sit-in, and by doing so the Transitional Military Council has totally eliminated any chance of a political outcome.” Essentially, civil disobedience according to Madibo is unlikely to bring down the TMC, but it could divide its leaders.