This speech today (April 21, 2019) by Military Council chief Abdel Fateh al-Burhan is carefully crafted to be praising of the uprising even as it concedes nothing to it. The people demanding freedom, peace, and justice must continue their struggle:
[Confidential translating source; lightly edited for clarity—ER]
The role of the military council is complementary to the blessed uprising to hand power over to the people. We appreciate the role of young people in sacrificing for this revolution. We value their peace, and we affirm and believe that we will hand power over to the people. We affirm that there will be no exclusion of any category of people so that the state does not enter into sedition. We are not opponents of anyone and we will not stand with any side against the other.
[“We will stand only for ourselves!” – ER]
We have divided the Council into several committees: economic, security, political and social; they are performing their duties and roles throughout the country.
[This strongly suggests that the Military Council is preparing to govern Sudan indefinitely—ER]
The Political Committee met with all the political forces except for the National Congress Party. I asked for a vision for the solution. We have received more than 100 visions, and we are studying them and we will respond by the end of this week.
[If we assume that “visions” means plans, then it is ludicrous to suggest that 100 plans can be adequately assessed in a week. Such cursory assessments can mean only one thing: the Military Council already has its plan and is simply appeasing civil society and those who have been in the forefront of the uprising—ER]
Most political forces are compatible with a military council and a civilian government, and there is no great difference in vision.
[This is crucially and deeply false: ultimately authority must rest either with a Military Council (junta), or with true civilian government, with the power to make decisions even if military officers disapprove. There could be no clearer indication that the Council either does not understand—or chooses not to understand this fundamental fact of governance—ER]
The appropriate option is to extend the period of the transitional government, according to experience, for two years; but if the political forces agree, we will hand them over tomorrow if necessary.
[I for one simply do not believe this claim, and there is nothing in the record of this Military Council to date that suggests we should believe it—ER]
Most visions are compatible at the sovereign, executive and legislative levels. No political forces have nominated any names for any positions; and if they agree to a vision, we have no objection, but it would be better to be a technocratic government. Restructuring is a long and thorny issue, and we are dealing with a corrupt system; it will take time.
[The vagueness of this statement is alarming, particularly with its declaration that “it will take time”—presumably the “time” the Military Council intends to enjoy absolute governing authority in Sudan—ER]
We have begun the restructuring of the army, the police and the national security; and we have abolished many shadow units such as the Martyr’s Organization, and will demobilize the Popular Defense and the Popular Police. Regarding the security apparatus; we formed a committee to study the national security law that affects the freedom of citizens.
[This likely means nothing more than that members of the PDF and “Popular Police” are being recycled into other armed bodies—as was the case when the RSF incorporated a great deal of what was formerly the “Janjaweed”—ER]
We formed another committee to restructure the apparatus, and a committee to investigate the assets and the companies of the security apparatus.
[This is where civilian oversight is of particular importance, even as the Military Council is here announcing that it has already formed a “committee” to investigate what is a staggering amount of money and corruption—ER]
A number of offices of the senior ranks of the leadership of the security apparatus have been earmarked for the youth; and they are to be given the opportunity to take control of the body.
The names of a number of wanted persons from the former regime, has been published; and is present at all the airports and the ports of exits of Sudan. Their assets, and assets of those that are wanted, have been seized. The former president, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, Nafie Ali Nafie and many leaders, have been arrested; some are in Kober prison, and some in other places.
Any person or entity that has been harmed, must file a complaint in the Office of the Public Prosecutor; this will continue until all of corrupt people and the perpetrators have been held accountable. We have put our hands on some of the documents that incriminate the leadership of the former regime, documents that existed within the institutions and the ministries. We appeal to the citizens to provide us with any document or information condemning any person associated with the former regime.
[Many of those on the Military Council have been the beneficiaries of official corruption, and are not likely to investigate themselves (particularly the case with RSF head, and deputy leader of the Military Council, Hemeti)—ER]
We have asked all government institutions and the ministries to list their employees, and those that deserve their posts, shall remain in those jobs. Officials from the Ministry of Communication, who unfortunately had associations with the security services, have been removed. Officials from the Ministry of Justice and Finance have also been removed. Stolen hard currency was pumped back into the Central Bank’s treasury, which we obtained from other regime sources. In addition we have received funds from the old regime leaders’ homes, including 7 million Euros and 350,000 US Dollars, as well as large amount of Sudanese currency, from the house of the former President.
[This is a trivial amount when put in the balance with what has been stolen from the Sudanese people over the past 30 years—and it is highly doubtful that the Military Council has the means—or will—to begin a thorough forensic investigation of graft and financial corruption—ER]
We have a committee that assesses the price of the Sudanese pound in exchange with the US Dollar, and this will continue until it reaches an appropriate value without harming the economy. Some loans and grants given by the regime have been frozen. Preparations are under way to receive grants and assistance from friendly countries that have committed themselves to providing such assistance.
We have no shortage or lack of fuel [???], we have enough to keep us for a long time, and there are other promises from friendly countries which we have not received yet. The problem of smuggling and diversion of fuel into the black market continues among those who would exploit the current situation—even after the sacrifices and blood of our young people.
The crisis is a shameful thing for the state, so there are specialists working to solve this crisis and help restore confidence in the banks. What happened in Sudan is not a military coup, but a response to the demands of the people.
[This is the double-speak of which Orwell has warned in “1984”—ER]
We thank our brothers in Egypt for their efforts to prevent Sudan from being placed on the list of sanctions in the African Union. We also thank Russia for its support and support for what has happened in Sudan.
[Telling that authoritarian Egypt and Russia are the two countries the authoritarian Military Council chooses to thank—ER]