A PEEK INTO THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF SUDAN SINCE THE INDEPENDENCE FROM BRITAIN IN 1956…
Sudan is unfortunately quite familiar with the process of overthrowing presidents through military coups. April 11th 2019 marks the 6th coup since the independence from the British – that’s 6 in just 63 years. To add some context to this current revolution, particularly for those who are unfamiliar with Sudan’s history, below a list of Sudan’s presidents dating back to 1956, with short explanations of how they took and left office. Omar AlBashir’s regime is more thoroughly laid out.
January 1st 1956: The Republic of the Sudan formally claim their independence from Britain and Egypt. Ismail AlAzhari, leader of the National Unionist Party (NUP), forms a government as Prime Minister.
July 7th 1956: Al-Azhari’s government was voted out as it was highly disapproved. Abdallah Khalil, the secretary of the Umma Party (UP), formed a government as prime minister.
November 17th 1958: Khalil planned a pre-emptive coup with two army generals. The coup was eventually led by Ibrahim Abbud, who became Prime Minister two days later. Abbud declared a state-of-emergency, suspended the constitution, dissolved the parliament, and banned political parties. He appointed a constitutional commission to draft a permanent constitution. The military government suppressed two military rebellions in late 1959. The government lifted the six-year state-of-emergency on November 7, 1964.
1964: Uprisings began against Abbud in and the military regime couldn’t contain them. Abbud resigned.
1965: Sudan had its first elections as an independent state, and elected in a representative government, with Ismail AlAzhari was in charge. He was only in office for three years
25th May 1969: A coup was led by the government of the Revolutionary Command Council, led by Colonel Ga’afar Mohamed AlNimeiri and backed by young military officers.
19th July 1971: Major Hashem Al Atta led a communist-backed coup against AlNimeri, and succeeded in toppling the government. However because of limited national and international support, loyal Nimeri supporters were able to launch a counter-coup several days later, which allowed Nimeri to resume power.
1985: Third coup a chief of staff and army general, by the name of Abdel Rahman Siwar alDahab. The coup followed over a week of protests due to raised prices of food and the dissatisfaction with Nimeri’s government. It was announced on the radio by the military. Nimeri was not even in the country at the time. They claimed that the power would be retuned to the people in a matter of 6 months, and in the meantime the military would hold the power. Things were very shaky for the next 4 years with lots of indecisive leadership. At some point there were the second ever democratic elections that voted in president Ahmed AlMirghani, who served for a 3 year term
1989: Fourth coup, lieutenant Omar Albashir seized power
1989: Bashir came to power in a military coup. in power for 29 years. charged w/ genocide in darfur in 2009. warrant out since then.
16th October 1993: Bashir had been officially declared President of Sudan.
1995: The Sudanese government under Bashir, are accused of being part of an attempt on the life of Egyptian prime minister Hosni Mubarak. UN decides on sanctions against Sudan.
1998: USA launches a missile attack on a chemical plant in Khartoum assumed to develop chemical weapons possibly in corporation with the Al’Qaeeda terror network. Civilians are killed in the attack. The Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory had been destroyed by the US missiles. The Sudanese government denied all links to terror and chemical weapons. A state of emergency had been declared by the President following a power struggle with Hassan Al-Turbai (Secretary General of the Popular Congress Party), and the national assembly has been dissolved. Oil exports from Sudan began this year.
September 2000: The governor of Sudan banned women from working in public places.
December 2000: Bashir had been re-elected for a five year term as President.
February 2001: An internal struggle within the government, leads to the arrest of an ideological leader, Al-Turbai, who had supposedly been making peace attempts with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
March 2001: The United Nations, World food programme (WFP), was struggling to feed the 3 million people affected by a famine.
April 2001: The SPLA threatened to attack foreign oil workers.
May 2001: A Danish pilot flying for the International “Red Cross” is attacked and killed when delivering aid in Southern Sudan. All flights in the area are temporarily stopped.
June 2001: Peace negotiations breaks down in Nairobi, Kenya.
July 2001: Egypt and Libya proposed a peace plan for Sudan.
August 2001: The catastrophic Nile river floods, leaving thousands homeless and suffering in Sudan.
September 2001: The UN lifts the sanctions against Sudan to support of the ongoing peace negotiations.
October 2001: Following the New York terror attacks also known as 9/11, USA decided to place new sanctions on Sudan due to accusations of Sudan’s involvement with international terrorism.
January 2002: A ceasefire between government forces in Sudan and the SPLA are finally agreed upon, informally. This means that a temporary halt of a war has been agreed, in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions.
20th July 2002: The Sudanese government and SPLA signs an official protocol or truce (known as the Machakos Protocol) to end the second Sudanese civil war after nineteen years.
July 31st 2002: The Government attacks SPLA again on a small scale.
October 2002: The ceasefire is confirmed again, but remains very uncertain. Peace negotiations continued during the next few years.
February 2003: Two rebel groups representing the African population in Darfur starts a rebellion against the government as they began to protest against the negligence and suppression of the people in Darfur. This sparked the War in Darfur that started later this month.
January 2004: The Government army heads into Darfur to quell the rebellion in Darfur region in the Western Sudan. More than 100,000 people seeks refuge in Chad, a neighbouring country.
March 2004: UN officers reports that the Janjaweed militia carried out systematic killings on villagers in Darfur. UN names Darfur as the worst humanitarian currently, but nothing happens. UN fails to take action as Western countries and media has close to no focus on the problems in Sudan. But even the African leaders refuse to take action on the problem. The killings has not been categorised at Genocide.
9th January 2005 : The government in Nairobi, Kenya and the rebels sign the last parts of the peace treaty for Southern Sudan. All fighting in Africa’s longest civil war is expected to end in January 2005, but the peace treaty still neglected the Darfur region. Over 1.5 million people lost their homes since the conflict in Darfur broke out. The ‘Comprehensive peace agreement’ as it was called, was signed between the SPLA and the Sudanese government under Bashir.
15th March 2005: The Security Council, a committee within the United Nations, agreed to send 10,000 peace keeping soldiers to Southern Sudan. Again the decision did not include Darfur.
June 2005: Hassan Al-Turbai (Secretary General of the Popular Congress Party), released from prison.
October 2005: The establishment of an autonomous government in Southern Sudan.
May 2006: The Sudanese government and the ‘Sudan Liberation Movement’, the rebel faction in Darfur sign a peace accord. The two rebel groups who were not as large rejected the deal. The fighting continues.
May 2007: The United States placed new sanctions on Sudan.
31st July 2007: The United Nations, Security Council approved a resolution authorising 26,000 peacekeepers to be sent to Darfur. Sudan says it will co-operate with the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid). The conflict is in reality a genocide and has been considered the ‘worst humanitarian disaster’ in the world. Due to China oil interest in Africa – specifically Sudan, China blocked any real decision in the Security council. The rest of the world is not applying the necessary political pressure on the governments in Sudan and China.
August 2007: This was when the Sudan Floods of 2007 started – ending in September.
November 2007: A British teacher had been imprisoned for naming a teddy bear for her primary school children’s class, Muhammed. Known as the Sudanese Teddy bear Blasphemy case.
May 2008: Hostilities between Sudan and Chad seem to be increasing as the rebel group in Darfur raid Omdurman (another city in Sudan). Sudan accused Chad of being involved with the rebels and breaks off diplomatic relations. Later this year, more fighting broke our over the oil-rich town of Abyei, between the north and south forces. President Bashir (north) and the southern leader Salva Kiir agree to seek international arbitration to resolve dispute over Abyei.
March 2009: An arrest warrant for President Omar Al-Bashir has been issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
December 2009: Leaders of North and South reach deal on terms of referendum on independence due in South by 2011.
February 2010: The Justice and Equality Movement (Jem), the main Darfur rebel movement signs a peace accord with the Sudanese government, pleading that President Bashir to declare the Darfur war over. Howevere, Bashir did not agree specifics and there were continuing clashes with some of the smaller rebel groups, which endangered the deal.
April 2010: President Bashir’s new term as the continued president.
July 2010: A second warrant for Bashir’s arrest has been issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
August 2010: President Bashir supposedly tested the ICC arrest warrant in his visitation of Kenya (an ICC signatory). The Kenyan government refused to enforce the warrant. He later ignores South African court order not to leave country in 2015.
July 2011: South Sudan gains its independence from the North.
May 2012: Bilateral peace talks are continuing, thus Sudan (North) pledges to pull its troops out of the town of Abyei, which is also claimed by South Sudan.
June 2012: Economic policies (austerity) taking by the government as they cut subsidies of fuel and other basic materials, as a result of the drop in oil revenue after the independence of South Sudan, leads to protests in Khartoum.
March 2013: Sudan and South Sudan agree to resume pumping oil which caused a temporary solution, ending a shutdown caused by an argument over fees more than a year earlier, and to withdraw troops from their borders to create a demilitarised zone.
September 2013: Again, demonstrations break out over government cut of subsidies.
December 2013: President Bashir drops the first vice president Ali Osman Taha from the cabinet.
December 2014: The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, halts investigations into war crimes in Darfur for lack of support from the UN Security Council.
April 2015: President Bashir is re-elected for another five year term. He wins nearly 95 percent of the vote in a poll marked by low turnout and boycotted by most opposition parties.
November 2016: More demonstrations at the IMF following the increase in price for basic goods. The Government manages to disperses protests and arrests opposition politicians. The tightening for censorship leads to bans of media coverage.
October 2017: The United States announced partial lifting of sanctions on Sudan.
January 2018: Protests against bread price rises after government removed subsidies.
13th December 2018: Teachers strike in the White Nile State and protests take place in Eldamazin. The start of the Sudanese revolution that ended the 30 year dictatorship of Bashir.
FOR MORE DETAIL FOLLOWING THE EVENTS OF THE START OF THE REVOLUTION PLEASE HAVE A LOOK AT THE “TIMELINE OF EVENTS: REVOLUTION PAGE”.